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The Better Business Cases (BBC) approach is an internationally recognised best practice for developing a business case. This podcast outlines the key steps in the process and guides using the Five Case Model, the basis of the BBC approach. It covers topics such as identifying options, drafting the long list and shortlist, determining the value for money, preparing the commercial, financial and management cases, and planning successful delivery arrangements. It explains how programmes are used to pursue an organisation’s mission and vision and how the Programme Business Case provides decision-makers and stakeholders with a structured framework for making decisions. Finally, the advantages of the Programme Business Case are outlined, such as enabling the organisation to understand and influence the direction of the programme early on, improving decision-making, facilitating benefits realisation and risk management, and demonstrating the continuing viability of the programme.”

Developing a project business case for a programme is a best practice that should be done following senior management’s approval of the organisational strategy, mandate and brief. Governance and reporting must be agreed upon with the authorising body, including arrangements for reporting key milestones, monitoring progress and regular review meetings with the authority responsible for authorising the expenditure. The Five Case Model Methodology applies to policies, strategies, programmes and projects. It comprises five key dimensions: The Strategic Case, The Economic Case, The Commercial Case, The Financial Case and The Management Case. The purpose of the strategic dimension of the business case is to make a case for change and demonstrate how it provides a strategic fit. The business case’s economic dimension is identifying the proposal that delivers the best social value to society. The commercial dimension of the business case is to demonstrate that the preferred option will result in a viable procurement and a well-structured Deal between the public sector and its service providers. The financial dimension of the business case is to demonstrate the affordability and funding of the preferred option, including the support of stakeholders and customers. The Management Case should include programme and project management governance arrangements, use of specialist advisers, change and contract management arrangements, benefits realisation arrangements, risk management arrangements, post-implementation and evaluation arrangements, and contingency arrangements and plans. The first step includes a review of organisational policies and strategies, completing a mandate and brief, holding a workshop for undertaking the strategic assessment, and completing a scoping document for the potential coverage and technical content of the programme business case. Action 2 is to agree with the strategic context for the programme by providing an overview of the sponsoring organisation and explaining how the programme is strategically placed to contribute to the delivery of organisational goals.”

The strategic case of the Guide to Developing the Project Business Case focuses on setting SMART objectives and the five generic drivers for spending. It outlines the need to determine existing arrangements for the service and the organisation’s current service delivery model to identify business needs and measure future improvements. The chapter guides how to identify the benefits, risks, constraints, and dependencies associated with the programme and how to identify and measure the main benefits. It also outlines the different classes of benefits that can be considered to appraise social value. It provides a table for the use of workshops and captures this information. Finally, it outlines the risks associated with the scope of a programme and how to identify, mitigate and manage them.”

Exploring the preferred way forward outlines preparing an economic case for a service improvement programme. The process begins with a workshop with senior managers, customers, stakeholders and experts to identify and appraise potential options. A SWOT analysis is used to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each option, and unrealistic options are discounted. The preferred way forward is identified as the method of service delivery which would provide the optimal outcome. The options framework filters the list of options, including business as usual, do minimum and do maximum, to generate a shortlist. Next, the cost and benefits associated with each option are assessed and discounted to provide indicative net present social values. Finally, the preferred option is selected based on efficacy, benefits, feasibility, affordability, and risk.”

Planning the scheme and preparing guides on preparing an economic case for a project. It outlines the need to consider non-monetary benefits, such as qualitative benefits, and how to assess the associated costs. It also explains the importance of considering optimism bias when estimating costs and benefits and guides how to adjust for this. It recommends using the upper bound value for optimism bias as the starting point, then changing according to the extent to which the contributory factors have been managed. Finally, it provides adjustment percentages for various project types and an example of how to apply the steps to derive the appropriate adjustment factor.”

This podcast section guides developing a commercial case for a project or programme. It outlines the importance of considering the procurement strategy and the likely procurement routes. It suggests collaborating with other public bodies to secure economies of scale and improved social value. It also recommends holding a facilitated workshop to develop the commercial case and determine the preferred option. The checklist for this step includes understanding the preferred option through economic appraisals, qualitative benefits and risks, and sensitivity analysis.”

Contracting for the deal of the Guide to Developing the Project Business Case guides preparing the financial case for a project. It outlines the economic and financial appraisals that should be done, including using real and nominal prices, including all quantifiable welfare costs and benefits to society, and excluding transfer payments, general inflation, sunk costs, depreciation, impairment and capital charges. It also outlines the financial statements required for the programme’s spend, such as a budget statement, a cash flow statement and a funding statement. Additionally, it explains the need for a statement showing the capital and revenue requirements for the recommended programme, which should set out the capital and revenue consequences of the preferred option for the programme over the life span of the service and contract period, how this compares with the original capital ceiling for the scheme (if any), and any shortfall in capital and revenue requirements (the ‘funding gap’). A financial model of the proposed expenditure may also need to be constructed for large, complex programmes. This will require specialist advice from accountants and financial advisors. Ultimately, the financial case should provide the necessary information to ensure that the programme is commercially viable and that the required resources are available to complete it.”

Ensuring successful delivery outlines the financial case for a proposed deal. It explains the need to assess the agreement’s impact on contract prices, capital charges, and the organisation’s income and expenditure account. It also emphasises the importance of consultation between the organisation and its stakeholders/commissioners/purchasers. It outlines the need for a commissioner’s letter to demonstrate that the programme’s strategic aims and spending objectives are accepted and that the financial costs can be contained within the agreed budget. Additionally, it discusses the need to consider solvency, over-trading, cash flow, risks and the pay-back period when preparing the financial case. Solutions to affordability problems are also discussed, such as phasing implementation of outputs, altering the scope, finding additional funding sources, negotiating more competitive prices, and reducing costs. The chapter also covers the need for a change management framework, plans for benefits realisation, and risk management strategies. These are essential for successfully delivering a programme and its constituent projects. The output from the financial case should be a complete section of the Programme Business Case, which should include the strategy, framework, and plans for managing change. The Senior Responsible Owner is responsible for the programme and the delivery of expected benefits. The Programme Plan controls and tracks the progress and delivery of the programme and resulting outcomes. Risk management strategies should be implemented to reduce the expected costs of a proposal and increase the expected benefits.”

This section of the podcast guides developing a Programme Business Case, which is necessary to deliver a project successfully. It outlines the need for a risk management framework, senior management support and clear communication of risk management policies, and Programme Assurance and Post Programme Evaluation. It explains the relationship between an organisational strategy, programme, and projects and outlines the scope and content of the strategic and programme portfolios. It also explains the need for monitoring, evaluation, and feedback for the 5-year strategy, 3-year programme, and 1-year project. Additionally, the document provided criteria to review the Programme Business Case, including a description of the potential deal, indicative capital and revenue costs, meaningful time scales, use of special advisers, peer review, a programme board and team, governance and reporting arrangements, a programme plan and agreed deliverables, and programme assurance and evaluation. These criteria will help assess the potential deal’s acceptability, affordability, achievability, and deliverability to ensure all necessary arrangements are in place to complete the next phase successfully.”

This podcast provides a comprehensive guide to the fundamentals of Better Business Cases. It outlines the key concepts and principles of the five cases model, including approach, value for money, total expenditure, economic, and cost management. It is designed to help readers understand the basic concepts and principles of cost management and to provide an introduction to the various topics. This guide is suitable for beginners and experienced professionals and provides an overview of government-funded projects’ fundamentals.”

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