Value for Money Toolkit

Faced with budget cuts and compromised revenue, local councils need access to credible, accurate data highlighting potential efficiencies — which is where CIPFA's Value for Money (VfM) Toolkit comes in.

Download the VfM toolkit (requires login)

Prior to making any decision, it is important to gather and analyse the relevant data. This is particularly true for public finance leaders who are concerned not only with their organisation's financial resilience, but also continued delivery of essential services.

For over 100 years CIPFA has worked with local authorities across the UK to build the most comprehensive, independent source of data about local government and other public sector services. Launched in 2010, our VfM toolkit compares your council's key performance indicators with those of similar authorities, helping you to identify areas where efficiency might be improved.

By comparing your council to your closest socio-demographic and economic neighbours (identified using our Nearest Neighbour Model) the toolkit helps you to better assess your own performance and relative spend, as well as pinpoint organisations you may wish to approach for tactics and ideas for improving efficiency.

At-a-glance insights

The VfM toolkit presents its complex statistical information in an interactive, easy to understand graphical format.

It features data on 142 metrics from 49 different sources, including government departments. We work with our customers to review and update the performance measures, while the data itself is updated and refreshed three times a year. This ensures its continual accuracy and relevance and that information is in line with the latest Revenue Outturn (RO), Revenue Account (RA) and Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report (ASCFR) data releases.

Using the toolkit, you can:

  • choose actual or estimated financial data
  • set your own comparator group or use the predetermined groups
  • apply deprivation factors

See the VfM Toolkit in action

Access a demonstration version of the toolkit

The key performance indicators for your council, compared with other similar authorities, are displayed on a simple graph. The services offering good value for money are grouped in the top left, while those towards the bottom right are performing less well. You can then drill down into the detailed statistics to help you understand the performance of your services and identify your best performing neighbours.

Part of our CIPFAstats+ product suite

A CIPFAstats+ subscription gives you access to comprehensive financial and non-financial data on how local authority frontline services are performing. It covers key areas such as education, social care, housing services, culture, leisure and recreation, waste management and more. It also encompasses our Nearest Neighbour Model.

What our customers say

"The CIPFA VfM toolkit is a useful tool designed with the involvement of local authorities. It enables meaningful comparisons to be made to both aid and evidence the decision making process for the delivery of Value for Money." George Spiteri, Value for Money and Performance, Lincolnshire County Council

"The VfM toolkit has helped us to ask some difficult questions, consider unit costs, undertake useful comparisons, gain an understanding of best practice used elsewhere, consider local circumstances when making decisions and suggest ways of improving the toolkit." Philip Simpkins, Chief Executive, Bedford Borough Council

"We have used the VfM toolkit for a number of years, and it provides an excellent way in which to benchmark performance. The toolkit's flexibility means you are able to make the information truly relevant to local circumstances and the information is presented in a way that makes it easy to understand and use. In these tough financial times, the VfM toolkit helps us identify areas where we may be able to work more efficiently." Tony Johnson, Corporate Performance Manager, Somerset County Council


The toolkit is available as part of CIPFAstats+, but can also be purchased separately. For further details or to enquire about the subscription, please contact

Contact us

The VfM toolkit has been designed in consultation and collaboration with local authorities and we encourage you to share your feedback. To help us shape future iterations, please email us:

To learn more about the VfM toolkit or to discuss which of CIPFA's data analytics products would best suit your needs, please contact our customer services team: