Project Case Study
Improving value for money in DFID’s infrastructure projects
Tackling poverty through effective infrastructure provision
Developing modern and functioning infrastructure is one of the most important elements in tackling poverty in developing countries. It is becoming more and more difficult for businesses and individuals to operate in a modern economy without it.
Children need transport to get to school, which necessitates a functional road network; people need improved water and power systems, and increasingly, telecommunications. Infrastructure projects also have a disproportionally high impact on the most marginalised social groups, such as women and girls, the elderly, and the disabled.
Because of this, and because of the inevitably large size of infrastructural projects, infrastructure spending constitutes up to half of the total resources of many international donors; the Department for International Development spent £1 billion on infrastructure between 2009 and 2010. As such, ensuring these projects best achieve value for money is vitally important.
In 2012, we were asked by DFID to complete a research project on how best to measure and maximise value for money across their infrastructure projects. We made extensive recommendations, including the use of the 3E framework, analysing value for money in three stages against economy, which largely covered cost control within a project, and efficiency, which covered the conversion of input variables to outputs through quality and approach control. The third part of this framework is effectiveness, which judges the success of the project outcomes against its initial aims.
The research project was largely intended for DFID country and programme officers, but has also been circulated by development professionals working on designing and delivering infrastructure programmes in governments and for other donors. This will improve the implementation of infrastructure projects, allowing more of them to help the people most in need.