Delivering value for money for the University and our stakeholders

In support of our University vision, we all have a responsibility to deliver value for money for the University and our stakeholders, including our students, staff, customers and partners.

To give you a better understanding of what this means and how you can help, please read this short guide to delivering value for money.

#1 What we mean by value for money

Achieving value for money means ensuring that we use all sources of funding received by the University in the best possible way to deliver our University vision.

We have a statutory responsibility to achieve value for money with our public funding and a responsibility to all of our stakeholders – students, staff, external customers and partners.

To give some examples, for our students value for money means that we seek to collectively ensure that they derive maximum benefit from their experience of higher education, regardless of their background, both during their studies and afterwards in exchange for the time, effort and money that they invest into their studies. This is absolutely the right thing to do and it also helps us meet our statutory obligations via the Office for Students.

In a similar way, we also deliver value for money to taxpayers by using public money and student fees efficiently and effectively to help our graduates to contribute to society and the economy.

Much of our research funding comes from the public purse and our funders expect us to design and deliver research programmes with value for money in mind. This encompasses a range of things from requesting resources appropriate to the research question, to publishing and disseminating findings appropriately – including research data underpinning publications so that other researchers do not necessarily need to replicate our studies.

So, value for money is more than just about the goods and services we buy; it’s about how we operate as a University.

And we all have a role to play.


#2 How we know we’re delivering value for money

From this year we’re taking a new approach to reporting on activities that support value for money.

We’ll no longer be asking for written contributions from departments towards an annual Value for Money Report for Audit Council, which has been the process for the past five years. Although this was held up as an example of good practice in the sector, in the current changing and challenging environment we want to better encourage collective awareness and responsibility for achieving value for money in all of our core and supporting activities.

Members of the University Executive Board will therefore work closely with Faculties and Professional Services to produce an annual report for the University Audit Committee highlighting activities that support value for money, aligning with the four pillars of the University vision.

This new process is supportive of the values set out in our vision, particularly those of being responsible and transparent.

It also supports the priority in the One University pillar to foster a collaborative culture where staff and students are all active participants in the success of the University.

Indeed, the financial sustainability of the University is dependent on the appropriate use of resources to meet the University’s objectives as set out in our vision.


#3 How to consider value for money in your day-to-day work

Achieving value for money relies on all of us taking responsibility for considering value for money in every decision we make about the acquisition and use of resources, and in how we prioritise our own time and activities.

Senior colleagues have specific responsibilities. For example, the University Executive Board is responsible for ensuring that the allocation of resources is aligned with the delivery of the University vision in a way which is compliant with the principles of value for money.

Faculty Vice Presidents and Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that resources are allocated to activities in a manner that achieves value for money through budget setting, and workload and performance management.

In addition to these specific groups of staff, it’s important that each and every one of us pursues economy, efficiency and effectiveness across all operational activities.

If you’re a manager or a member of a committee or group at any level, please make sure that the resources you are responsible for, staffing and non-staff, are deployed in such a way as to achieve value for money.

If you’re involved in any way in the acquisition and use of resources, for example in procurement, you also have a part to play. Please follow the guidance available on our finance web pages.

Similarly, any of us can reflect on how we individually add value in the things that we do. Examples might be thinking about how students experience our teaching; questioning whether the services we provide to others are efficient and easy to engage with; considering the impacts of decisions we make on others; considering whether we need individual research equipment to be purchased from a grant or whether there might be capacity elsewhere on campus; and being cognisant of wider department, faculty or University priorities when contributing to committees and groups.


#4 How to share your ideas

If you have any ideas about ways in which the University can ensure better value for money for students or other stakeholders, please speak to your manager in the first instance.


#5 Where to get help

We understand that pursuing value for money is not always straightforward. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

Speak to your line manager in the first instance, or, for queries relating to department expenditure and income budgets and actual financial performance, contact the relevant finance manager for academic departments or professional services departments.

For guidance on purchasing and tendering, contact the Procurement Team.

For questions about the value for money annual report, contact Michelle Nolan, Director of Academic Programmes & Student Engagement, at: m.nolan@sheffield.ac.uk

Thank you for reading this guide to delivering value for money.

To read the University’s Value for Money Strategy in full, including the new annual report template, please visit our finance web pages.