Manning cost-benefit tool



At present, we have rather limited information on the costs and benefits of crime reduction interventions, which hampers evidence-based decisions on what to do about crime problems. A cost-benefit tool has thus been developed to provide a straightforward but comprehensive format for assembling the information relating to the costs and benefits of a programme or intervention.

About the tools

The cost-benefit tools developed for this project consists of two parts. Part 1 uses traditional costing techniques such as those employed in the HM Treasury The Green Book (2003). This allows all input-relevant cost and benefit data to be entered into the tool to calculate total expenditure on one or more interventions/programmes (across all years of the intervention), and/or to compare the average annual expenditure before and after the introduction of the intervention.

Part 2 uses a combination of traditional methods for calculating the costs of an intervention and other techniques that allow cost estimates to be made in the absence of reliable accounting data. In Part 2, the average annual costs of an earlier or similar intervention can be compared to those of a new intervention.


Cost-Benefit Tool Part 1 (Zip 548 Kb) - Version 5.4 (24 January 2017) 

Cost-Benefit Tool Part 2 (Zip 941 Kb) - Version 5.4 (24 January 2017) 

Note: These tools are free to use but citing the tool is required.

Recommended citation: Manning, M., Wong, T.W.G., and Vorsina, M. (2016). Manning Cost-Benefit Tool. Canberra: ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, The Australian National University. Retrieved from: /research/projects/manning-cost-benefit-tool



Assoc Prof Matthew Manning

Matthew Manning

Matthew Manning is an applied microeconomist who focuses predominantly on the economics of crime and enforcement. He was previously a Director of Griffith University’s Social and Economic Research Program and an economist in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University.

Matthew’s research involves using economic methods for measuring outcomes associated with situational and developmental crime prevention programs and policies. He also adapts economic methods for analysing complex problems for the development of better policy. Over the last ten years, Matthew has conducted a number of economic analyses (e.g. cost-benefit analysis) for government and non-government organisations.

Matthew has published in areas such as juvenile justice, crime prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, police legitimacy and wellbeing/life satisfaction.

Mr Gabriel T.W.

Gabriel Wong began his Doctoral Candidate with the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University in 2013. He works in the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.

Gabriel's dissertation focuses on the use of multi-criteria frameworks to analyse the determinant factors of adolescent drug involvement and evaluate the drug policy preference in Hong Kong and Australia. His research interests cover a wide range of topics, from adolescent drug use, policy decision making, and knowledge synthesis, to economic analysis of crime prevention, and efficiency in policing. 

Ms Margarita

Margarita is a doctoral student in the department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, Griffith University, and is a member of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.

Margarita’s thesis applies economic methods to estimate reasons for and consequences of terrorism. In particular, Margarita is examining the association between ethnic inequality and terrorism; the effect of terrorism on life satisfaction; and a population’s willingness-to-pay for a reduction in terrorism. Margarita’s interest lies in economic analysis of crime, public choice models and cost-benefit analysis for crime reduction programs.


Contact Details

Associate Professor Matthew Manning

Address: Beryl Rawson Building, 13 Ellery Cresent, Acton, ACT 2601 Australian National University

Phone: +61 2 6125 3880


Further details

For more details regarding conceptual foundations and method refer to:

‘Economic analysis and efficiency in policing, criminal justice and crime reduction: What works?’ Palgrave Macmillan London

Workshops (including feedback from participants)

How much does that intervention cost? – Testing the Cost Benefit Tool
6 October 2016: University College London


Nicky Harkin, CEO, Arch North East

I think the tool could be a really good way of demonstrating partnership inputs to multi-agency initiatives such as the MARAC, and would be useful for specialist support services and other voluntary sector partners to highlight their contributions to these processes.  The Tool provides a really useful template for identifying full cost recovery on project costs and we will use it when costing out future bids and initiatives.

Part 1 of the Cost Benefit Tool aims to help users to organise costs to include a variety of factors such as personnel time, equipment purchases, materials used (e.g., fuel) and additional expenses (e.g., insurance or maintenance costs).  It also helps by classifying costs as direct (e.g., salaries for project staff) or indirect (e.g., administration) and identifies intangible costs (e.g., reduction in productivity due to the extra demands of the new intervention). 

Users can also use the spreadsheet to insert upper and lower estimates where only approximate or national costs are available or intangible cost estimates are used.

Lee Fryatt, Inspector, Criminal Justice and Investigations, Hampshire Constabulary

….the workshop and the cost benefit tool have the potential to help police forces be more objective in providing a more robust evidence base for new and ongoing projects in terms of ensuring any investment provides value for money. This is a key requirement in times of diminishing public funds and the drive for continuing police efficiency.

The Tool also allows users to make a comparison of costs prior to the intervention being implemented (i.e. the status quo or costs in absence of the intervention) and after the intervention.  The Cost-Benefit Tool will calculate the amount of savings made by avoiding the crime.

Fiona Murray, Development Manager, Dorset Police and the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner

By using cost benefit analysis tools like this, commissioners can become more informed about which interventions may deliver greater benefits that result in financial savings for the police and partners.  This is particularly important for Police and Crime Commissioners who are interested in jointly commissioning services with health or local authority partners, because identifying potential savings for the police and partners can help commissioners work out who should contribute what.

Bob Bunney, Crime Reduction Lead Officer, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall Police Alliance

The Costing Tool offers the opportunity to determine costs of projects to support bids, replicate interventions (or upscale them) and forecast savings.


The developers would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by Professor Nick Tilley and Professor Shane Johnson from the UCL Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London.

Memorandum of Understanding

This work is part of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Australian National University and the UCL Department of Security and Crime Science, University College London.


The Cost-benefit tools were developed as part of an Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) grant U.K. titled: University Consortium for Evidence-Based Crime Reduction

  • The proposed research comprises a Commissioned Partnership Programme in support of the What Works Centre for Crime Reduction (WWCCR), based in the College of Policing.
  • The economics component of the project was led my Matthew Manning from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.

Updated:  22 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications