Why Project Managers don't like Benefits Management

I spoke with an experienced Project and Programme Manager today, and it reminded me just how far apart P3M (Portfolio, Programme and Project Management) and Benefits Management are.

The National Specialist Family Service Report

We're delighted to make the Social Return on Investment (SROI) report on Phoenix Futures' National Specialist Family Service available.

The National Specialist Family Service supports parents to overcome their substance misuse addictions, and keep their children.  Drug abusers learn to recognise the triggers for their urges and control them.  They learn to be good parents and to manage the routines of family life.  

How I changed the Law in favour of my client

UK Law - not an easy thing to changeI was called in to do a SROI (Social Return on Investment) report on the National Specialist Family Service at a very difficult time – they had almost no referrals.

Interviewing Social Workers for SROI

For a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis, the auditor has to do primary research.  This means that it’s the beneficiary (or victim), the Social Workers themselves, who confirm how much benefit or return on investment that they get. It isn’t someone else “answering” on their behalf.

The National Specialist Family Service – Interviewing ex addicts and children

Social Return on Investment, or SROI, asks beneficiaries to put a value on the benefits to themselves.  In traditional Cost Benefit Analysis, the project manager decides on the value and who it accrues to, and this has led to a certain amount of optimism bias in business cases and a general avoidance of independent evaluation.  So SROI figures are not only more conservative/ cautious, but also endorsed by the beneficiary who will ultimately have to demonstrate that they have gained that value.  It all starts with identifying the main beneficiaries.

The National Specialist Family Service – Value for Money

What is the point of getting drug addicts off drugs?  What about if women get pregnant – is it better to simply take the child and put it up for adoption or foster care?  Are drug addicts irredeemable?

 Infographic - NSFS gets families together and they stay together

This is the challenge that Phoenix Futures tackles with its National Specialist Family Service (NSFS) based in Sheffield, accepting referrals from all around the country. 

Consumer Price Index (CPI) Calculator for SROI

CPI components

When calculating a Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluation or SROI forecast , sometimes you have to rely on published figures from reports.  But if these are from a few years ago, then they probably need adjusting for inflation.

There are calculators on the web to do this for you, but I found them cumbersome and it was difficult to keep a record of what calculator I'd used, and how, for which value - auditability and transparency is vital for SROI.  So here's a spreadsheet to do this properly!

Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 - what it means for you?

Social Value Act

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 became law in March 2012, and is now mandatory as from 31st January 2013.

This means that all qualifying public procurements for services (basically anything that isn't excluded) has to take account of a broader definition of Value for Money than a simple cost-per-unit consideration.  This is excellent news for CommunitiesCommunity Groups, Community and Voluntary Services and Social Enterprises, and Charities.  it also means a bit more thinking and consultation for Procurement bodies (typically local authorities and NHS) but should not create any more actual work.

SROI and Benefits Management

You've decided to commit resources, but you want to know that you are getting value for money.  How do you do it?  It's usually estiamted that 70% of projects fail to deliver a return on investment (ie fail to deliver enough benefits to make the investment worth while)?

Benefits Management addresses this.  It's one of my specialist areas.  Here's how it works

Social Return on Investment and Benefits Management


The Social Return Network

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is used to prepare a business case, and to evaluate the success of a service or project.

SROI goes further than traditional Cost Benefit Analysis, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Treasury Green Book, to calculate (based  on robust evidence) the financial value of some of the more difficult outcomes of a service or project.  For example: (read more)


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