The need to get the best possible value from spending public money will always remain a constant for those entrusted with spending decisions. The need to reduce overall spending resulting from the financial crisis of 2008 has sharpened this requirement. The continuing downward pressure on the availability of public sector finance together with the ever growing upward pressures of demand for public services will continue to further increase the need to make better use of the resources available, the challenge has never been greater.

In this context it is vital that capital spending decisions are taken on the basis of highly competent professionally developed spending proposals. This Treasury guidance which has been refined and tested over many years provides a clear framework for thinking about spending proposals and a structured process for appraising, developing and planning to deliver best public value. All of which is captured through a well prepared business case which supports evidence based decisions.

This latest version of the Treasury guidance provides a practical “step by step” guide to the development of business cases, using the Five Case Model – using an approach which is both scalable and proportionate. It is recognized as best practice and is the Treasury’s standard methodology. Experience has demonstrated that when this guidance is embedded in public sector organisations, better more effective and efficient spending decisions and implementation plans are produced. At the same time the approach when correctly understood and applied provides a more efficient planning and approval process saving between 30% and 40% in time taken and cost of production of business cases compared with unstructured approaches.

It provides a framework for thinking and a process for approval which is flexible and scalable along with a range of tools that can be applied proportionately to provide clarity in the decision support process. The approach also provides a clear audit trail for purposes of public accountability.

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