This case study relates to the development of a framework to assess Value for Money (VfM). The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) began working with Humentum in February 2020 after issuing a Request for Proposals under a UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded program (now known as the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office – FCDO). GFEMS selected Humentum to provide VfM expertise and support the Fund’s creation of their VfM.
Humentum has previously developed VfM and evaluation products via various donors—all have demonstrated a high level of quality and illustrate informed thinking around VfM and intervention effectiveness measurement.
The Humentum consultants assigned to this project had decades of combined experience in accountability and auditing frameworks, with deep expertise in VfM approaches in the UK development sector. The ability to adapt established VfM principles to a complex field such as Modern Slavery, where there are limited examples available of VfM frameworks, further highlights Humentum’s capacity to utilize its extensive knowledge on the subject effectively. – Sheila Chanani, GFEMS
GFEMS is an international fund catalyzing a coherent global strategy to end human trafficking and forced labor by making it economically unprofitable. The Fund is data-driven and committed to building the evidence base on modern slavery making investment decisions that are evidence informed.
GFEMS currently operates programs in India, Bangladesh, Kenya, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Uganda, with plans for expansion underway.
DFID funding is dependent on GFEMS demonstrating VfM. Humentum collaborated with the Fund to support the design, operationalization, and analysis of VfM to assess the economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of the organization’s DFID program. GFEMS requested practical advice and support to build an adaptable framework for their varied program activities. The Fund also sought a framework that would assure the donor (FCDO) that it was delivering VfM and that its sub-recipients could easily follow.
The Humentum Solution
Humentum consultants undertook preliminary work to better understand the organization, the VfM framework requirements, and to brief them on the core concepts. This involved reviewing existing documents and manuals, interviews with key staff, and preparing an inception report. The consultants then drafted the program framework, ran workshops with GFEMS, and held meetings with sub-recipients and FCDO to seek and accommodate their feedback. Once in agreement, the consultants prepared detailed code of practice handbooks to support the piloting and implementation of frameworks. This included additional workshops and training with GFEMS and their sub-recipients to ensure they were familiar with these needs.
The detailed framework sets out the indicators required to demonstrate VfM. This included the location of the information to complete the indicators, how it should be analyzed and what needs to be reported, and when. The framework is supported by a spreadsheet that enables the collation of data and outlines guidance requirements. The Fund remained closely involved throughout the process to ensure that the VfM framework became fully embedded into their existing working practices, as highlighted below:
The Humentum consultants instilled a strong sense of confidence in all stakeholders that they could implement the frameworks, and worked effectively across cultures. While they were the subject-matter experts in economic evaluation and VfM, they demonstrated a high level of empathy and humility in their interactions with the implementing partners. They consistently acknowledged the limitations of applying theoretical principles in practice and collaborated effectively with partners to find mutually acceptable solutions. – Sheila Chanani, GFEMS
GFEMS was appreciative of the work completed over 15 months and Humentum’s collaboration with stakeholders (FCDO and sub-recipients). The following feedback demonstrates this:
GFEMS and implementing partners initiated the process of developing Value for Money frameworks with very little knowledge on the subject. The Humentum consultants were highly effective in communicating how to address the diverse set of VfM indicators to the GFEMS teams, and our implementing project partners…Humentum proved themselves as strong and compliant partners. They are clear communicators and submitted all deliverables within agreed-upon timelines. Humentum remained on track and performed within their agreed upon scope of work. GFEMS especially appreciated their flexible and transparent nature when delays did arise in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Humentum team were highly adaptable in extending their contract to align with portfolio adjustments the Fund made due to no-cost extensions and FCDO-imposed budget reductions. Due to travel restrictions, the Humentum team adapted their training plans and processes to remote activities, and were able to remain effective despite the challenges of conducting online remote training on a complex subject matter. – Nic Ballou, GFEMS
In time, GFEMS should see a greater success rate when seeking funding from FCDO. The UK government expects grantees to demonstrate VfM; as such, a familiarity with the concept and proven track record will help. Additionally, the concept of VfM supports the principle of adaptive program management, which should lead to better utilization of resources, and therefore, greater outcomes for the resources used.