'This has made my day.' 'I can’t believe it. This makes such a difference.'

Focus identified a solution to make Nuance PDF documents open more quickly. As a result, Information Compliance Team members estimate that they'll save 18.5 days per year of casework time. 

What is a benefit?

A ‘benefit’ is a positive impact achieved from embedding or using the deliverables of a project or intervention.
A benefit is not the same as:

  • An objective (an aim or goal of an intervention)
  • A solution (an idea put forward to solve a problem)
  • A deliverable (a product or output of an intervention).

For any project, where a deliverable is produced by way of a solution aligned to an objective, the question should always be asked: ‘So what'? What positive impact does this achieve?’

It's by articulating the benefits that we answer the 'so what' question.

What benefits does Focus expect to deliver?

The Focus Programme identifies 3 broad type of benefits:

Improved staff experience Reduced cost to deliver a service Better service
Improved student experience Incresed efficiency - do more with less Enhanced reputation
Improved customer experience Time saved: therefore cost of time saved Greater compliance
    Reduced risk
    Increased Continuous Improvement capacity
    Contributes to environmental sustainability
    Greater adaptability
    Improved data accuracy


Some projects/interventions may focus most strongly on one particular benefit; others may deliver benefits across a wider range of categories.

How are benefits used to evaluate potential Focus projects?

The importance of benefits is embedded into the mind-set of all Focus projects from before a project even gets the go-ahead. Ideas for potential projects are evaluated by Focus Programme Board and envisaged benefits is one of the key selection criteria. Potential projects must be able to set out their envisaged benefits – from a range of stakeholder viewpoints – and show how these benefits accord with University and departmental strategic goals. This rigorous selection process helps ensure value for money in the project work that is chosen to go forward.

How are benefits measured and evidenced?

Having embedded benefits as early as possible into a project, the reference to benefits continues throughout the project’s life. The guiding question is always: ‘How do we evidence the benefits of the work done?’.

Data is key to this. Baseline data is gathered at the start of the project, and Post-Implementation data is gathered at the end. This enables direct comparison of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ situation.

Focus encourages stakeholder ownership of benefits and their measurement. This helps ensure that departments feel invested – and have a stake – in delivering and demonstrating these benefits.

A Measurable Benefits Data Plan (MBDP) is drawn up for each project, setting out expected benefits for that project and how each will be measured. This thinking and documenting is done early in the project. It's important that measurement of benefits realised is not an afterthought – done in a rush at the end or overlooked. Having a MBDP from the start helps ensure that an agreed, structured and data-led framework for benefits measurement is at the front of people’s minds throughout.