Introduction: a broad overview of 'value for money'
If there is a catchphrase which has entered the vocabulary of public sector provision it is 'Does this service provide value for money?' Most readers would say that they understand both the emphasis on 'value for money' and what this term means. The emphasis arises out of political and public concerns in the late 1970s and early 1980s that public expenditure was out of control and that there was little publicly available evidence to show if public services were operating effectively and efficiently. One of the key conclusions which led to the development of this volume was that often there is a failure to agree on what is meant by the term value for money and a failure to appreciate how value for money might be measured and reported up.