A Review of Existing Guidelines and Best Practice

We found a number of helpful sources of guidance on the evaluation of the VfM of behaviour change interventions.

  1. NSMC Benchmark Criteria and ShowCase studies - these provide criteria and illustration of factors seen as essential to effectiveness.
  2. Health Development Agency guidance - available from NICE, on the appraisal of public health interventions – this calls for the application of pragmatic layered frameworks showing societal impacts.
  3. NICE guidelines on behaviour change - Provide general guidelines on aspects of behaviour change.
  4. Health England Leading Prioritisation (HELP) - Provides a priority setting tool for public health interventions where the cost effectiveness is known.
  5. Local Government Improvement and Development: Valuing Health – A literature review summarizing available evidence on the business case for investment in health improvement.
  6. Cabinet Office: A Guide to Social Return on Investment – A very useful guide to undertaking reviews of the social return on investment.
  7. Kings Fund: commissioning and Behaviour Change: Kicking Bad Habits - A review of methods of behaviour change to help people adopt healthier lifestyles providing guidance to commissioners.
  8. Australian Assessing Cost Effectiveness – Prevention - ACE Prevention provides consistent measures of value for money for 150 public health interventions. This is the world’s leading evidence base in this field.

Guidelines all recommend involving stakeholders, thinking through the causes of behaviour and the impact of intervention, including unintended consequences. They all recommend the identification of behaviour change indicators and estimation of the extent and duration of change, its impact on health and other outcomes and the application of social discount rates to compare costs and benefits. This provides the basis for a consensus approach to evaluating the value for money of behaviour change interventions and tools to assist in estimating the impact of achieving the behaviour change indicators identified in each field.

These tools are based on the best available current evidence but can be updated as further evidence becomes available.


The NSMC was set up to be a Centre of Excellence, and therefore we have been transparent in the methods used to develop this tool, the calculations and the formulas.