This report presents a new approach to assessing public value returns as part of an overall return on investment analysis for government information and communication technologies (ICT). The approach addresses one basic question about public value assessment: What constitutes good evidence of public value impacts? The answers provided here are intended to augment the return on investment analysis methods found in the E-Gov Economics Model: Real Impact for Better Government, developed by Microsoft. However, the approach here has potential uses beyond connection with that Model, and can be more generally useful in the assessment of public value returns to government programs and investments. The approach consists of a way to identify, collect, and interpret a variety of evidence, both quantitative and qualitative, that can be used to assess public value impacts. The approach is designed for use by government practitioners and analysts in connection with return on investment (ROI) analyses. It is particularly aimed at use in connection with the E-Gov Economics Model to examine ICT investments by national and sub-national governments. The report includes recommended methods to collect and analyze these forms of evidence.
The approach is based on prior work of the Center for Technology in Government and a thorough review of available research and professional writing on the subject of measuring public value. That review includes research in the related scientific literature and a survey of best practices reported in literature about government IT value assessment in the US and other countries. A draft version of this report was shared with a sample of knowledgeable government officials and analysts for review and comments.