Once you have decided the focus of the business case you need to identify what to measure and how you are going to do this.

People often find this stage most difficult. While they are convinced of the benefits of engagement and have anecdotal evidence they find it difficult to quantify the benefits in financial terms. Often the solution is finding a proxy, a measure which can approximate the benefits in monetary terms. A proxy may not be a perfect measure but is acceptable as long as the assumptions underlying it are valid and fully explained.

Involve has developed a useful mechanism to work out what measures to use, based on their evaluation guidance1, and is specifically aimed at finding monetary measures.

Table 1 Assessing the benefits and impacts of engagement – finding monetary values


1 Goals / purpose

2 Possible indicators

3 Monetary measures

4 How to get data

5 Important assumptions

What are you trying to do?

How will you know if you are successful?

Can you estimate a money value on any of the indicators?

How can you gather this information?

What are the assumptions in choosing this measure of success?

Example A: We want to increase the responsiveness of services to users following public consultation events.

If we are successful we should see a change in the number or type of complains about the service

The time-spend of complaints staff has a monetary value and can be quantified. The saved costs of getting things right in the first place can also be calculated.

We can record the number of complaints per month around this service and assess the average length of a complaint

We are assuming that time sheets are accurately filled in. This may need to be checked.

Example B: We want to improve public safety in a neighbourhood by listening to members of the public to find out what the problems and solutions are.

If we are successful we will see lower levels of reported crime and fear amongst local community members

Different types of crim carry with them costs to society, which can be calculated.

Crime numbers can be gathered via surveys or from the police. Costs of different types of crime have been estimated by the Home Office.

Stated costs will underestimate the true costs of crim in terms of emotional stress and not all crimes are reported. Engagement may be only one of many factors impacting on crime.


  • 1. Involve (2007) Making a difference: A guide to evaluating public participation in central government (see attachment).