Back to top anchor

Better Business Cases™ (BBC)

See Better Business Cases 2019-2020 refresh: Update #5, September 2020 to find out what's recently changed.

The objective of Better Business Cases is to provide objective analysis and consistent information to decision-makers, to enable them to make smart investment decisions for public value.

BBC is designed around an internationally recognised best practice standard, the five-case model. This builds a business case proposal by answering five core questions:

  • What is the compelling case for change?
  • Does the preferred option optimise value for money?
  • Is the proposed deal commercially viable?
  • Is the investment proposal affordable?
  • How can the proposal be delivered successfully?

BBC and the Investment Management Lifecycle – Think, Plan, Do, Review

A business case turns an idea (“Think”) into a proposal (“Plan”). The business case is then a guide and reference point during the “Do” phase, and used in the “Review” phase to determine whether the benefits proposed in the business case were realised.

Before you start – planning documents

A business case depends on existing organisational strategy and planning documents to provide framing and direction; these are part of the “Think” phase, and developing these is not part of the business case process. For example:

  • white papers and overall business strategy
  • service models, eg models of care in the health sector, service plans
  • investment plans, eg Long-Term Investment Plan (LTIP), Information Systems Strategic Plan (ISSP)
  • corporate strategies, eg cybersecurity strategy
  • detailed planning information, eg asset condition assessments, user requirements, geotechnical assessments. (How to decide: If you were given money to proceed without a business case, would you still need to develop the document as part of the project? If yes, it's not part of the business case process.)

Before you start – agree the approach and effort

The resources put into developing a business case should be proportionate to the scale of the proposal. For a significant proposal (definition of 'significant'), we recommend that before starting work on a business case the Senior Responsible Owner/s (SRO, ie Sponsor) and the business case reviewer/s agree the approach and effort required, in particular:

  • the business case pathway
  • the assurance pathway
  • the decision pathway.

When a business case is for an investment within one (or more) department/s, the Treasury will be the primary reviewer; the SRO/s should engage with the Treasury Vote team.

When the investment is in a crown entity, the primary reviewer will be the statutory monitoring department, and the SRO should engage with them.

Vote teams and monitoring departments are able to draw on expertise from the Treasury's Investment Management & Asset Performance (IMAP) team when required.

We recommend the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO, ie Sponsor), use the Business Case Scoping document to document and agree these with the business case reviewer. Completion of a Risk Profile Assessment is required as input to this process and document.

If you are operating under an urgent timeframe and don’t expect to be able to meet the standard requirements of the business case guidance, see Expediting investment decisions.

Further guidance

We encourage organisations to further build their business case capability by accessing training and using endorsed BBC Experts.

To ensure we are achieving our objectives, we regularly evaluate the BBC approach to identify improvements (see below).

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 7 October 2020