In search of value

January 24, 2008

As custodians of a substantial amount of public funds, universities have a duty to demonstrate the achievement of value for money ("Whitehall seeks £1.5bn 'savings' from sector budgets", 17 January). This duty, however, too frequently manifests itself as the blinkered pursuit of savings.

Value for money is not just about delivering the same or more for the consumption of less resource, it's fundamentally about how much economic, social and cultural gain is achieved in the UK for the investment that the Government makes on our behalf.

The economic case alone is compelling, with £45 billion of output from UK higher education, more than 500,000 jobs directly and indirectly, and more than £3 billion of export earnings. It's time for a more mature consideration of what constitutes value for money.

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