This paper uses both role theory and audit expectations gap theory to critically evaluate the ability of Value for Money (VfM) audit procedures to improve performance in UK public sector organisations. Our paper reports on an empirical study of 17 auditors and 22 representatives of VfM client organisations. The results show that although the VfM audit plays a part in enhancing the institutional performance of the public sector, much of the audit's practices have not been institutionalised in the audited bodies as had previously been assumed. Questions were raised about the relevance of the auditors' experience and knowledge of the audited body's activities. Our results also indicate significant role conflicts in the VfM process. Three types of conflict could be identified: (a) conflict between the VfM auditors' roles and their own professional values and standards (person-role conflict); (b) conflict between the VfM auditors' capabilities and their role requirements (role overload), and (c) conflict between the auditors and the auditees (inter-sender conflict).