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Better Business Cases™ for small scale non-high risk projects

The Single-Stage business case acknowledges the smaller and lower-risk investment by a lighter touch on some of the business case analysis.

The project Single-Stage Business Case (SSBC)

A Single-Stage Business Case may be used for project proposals, whether standalone or part of a programme, that have a relatively low level of investment and risk profile:

  • within a Chief Executive’s delegated authority  – and –
  • where a Risk Profile Assessment is assessed as LOW or MEDIUM risk

If in doubt, talk to your Treasury Vote Analyst or your monitoring agency.

Regardless of the risk rating and whole-of-life cost; novel, contentious proposals that could pose significant risks to the public or the Government should follow the two-stage Cabinet approval process for the development of the business case.  This will enable you to identify, quantify, manage and mitigate the risks to the required standard during the design, build and operational phases.

Related requirements

As an SSBC is not for High Risk projects:

  • A Business Case Scoping Document is recommended but not required. Agencies may find one useful to scope and plan the business case and assurance requirements.

  • A Strategic Assessment is recommended but not required.  Agencies may find one useful to analyse strategic drivers and fit, which explore the need to invest in change.

  • A Programme Business Case is a prerequisite for a project within a programme.

Purpose of the Single-Stage Case

The Single-Stage Business Case combines the Indicative and Detailed Business Cases into one process document supporting a single decision-making point; it recommends a preferred option that optimises value and seeks approval from decision-makers to formally go to market and to finalise the arrangements for successful implementation.  The SSBC:

  • confirms the strategic context of the organisation and how the proposed investment fits within it
  • confirms the need to invest and the case for change
  • identifies a wide range of potential options and through analysis reduces this to a short-list
  • determines the preferred option which optimises value, by undertaking a detailed analysis of the costs, benefits and risks of the short-listed options
  • prepares the proposal for procurement
  • plans the necessary funding and management arrangements for the successful delivery of the project
  • informs a proposal to decision-makers to seek agreement to approach the market and finalise the arrangements for implementation of the project.

Scope of the business case requirements

The Single-Stage business case acknowledges the smaller and lower-risk investment by a lighter touch on some of the business case analysis, as shown in the table below.

Use this when considering how to tailor the business case templates for your project.

Left is a more full analysis and right is a more light analysis

  High Risk any scale Non-high risk large scale Non-high-risk Small scale
Standard BBC pathway Strategic Assessment
Indicative Business Case
Detailed Business Case
Implementation Business Case
Indicative Business Case
Detailed Business Case
Implementation Business Case
Single-stage Business Case
Implementation Business Case (if procurement)
Strategic fit Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) with certified practitioner facilitator ILM with trained facilitator ILM not mandated
Monetary benefits and costs National economy
All significant resource flows, including non-monetary costs and benefits
Organisation and selected sectors
All significant resource flows that can be expressed in monetary terms
Non-monetary benefits and costs Multi-criteria decision analysis using expert facilitation and proprietary tools Multi-criteria decision analysis Ranking of non-monetary benefits and costs
Uncertainty Quantitative risk analysis (QRA) Quantify risks and probabilities[1] Single point adjustments of costs and benefits
Assurance Fully costed assurance plan
Gateway reviews
Fully costed assurance plan
Gateway reviews available on request
Assurance plan
Gateway reviews available on request


Supporting collateral Single Stage Business Case
Guidance and template: to understand the development process and document the results Single-Stage Business Case - Template and Guidance (Dec 2020) (DOC 1940KB)
A3 presentation bbc-sinstg-pr-v2 (PPT 421KB)
Reviewer Assessment tool Single-Stage Business Case - Reviewer Assessment Tool (Dec 2020) (DOCX 181KB)


ICT-enabled state sector projects and programmes must have and follow an assurance plan.

Gateway reviews are not required for projects that are not high risk, but are available on request.  For an SSBC this would generally be a Gateway Review (Gate 2: Delivery Strategy) as the SSBC nears completion. There is a 6-8 week lead time for contracts and logistics, so get in touch early: [email protected] 

Next steps

Once the Single-Stage Business Case has been approved, the agency may approach the market to select a supplier, through a Request for Proposal (RfP) or other procurement process as appropriate, and confirm commercial arrangements.

The investment proposal is then updated in the Implementation Business Case (ImpBC). This revisits and updates the 5 cases with the results of the procurement exercise – arrangements and costs – and forms the basis of the Project Management Plan used to manage the project.

  1. [1] Consider risk modelling techniques that are less resource intensive than full quantitative risk analysis. For example, by using multi-point probability or decision-tree analysis to estimate the impacts of different outcomes on mid-point risk estimates.
Last updated: 
Tuesday, 30 March 2021