Stage 3: Business Case
This stage is where the detailed project planning will be undertaken, including appraisal of project delivery options and assessment of value for money; development of the project plan or timetable; resource planning; risk and stakeholder analysis; and development of the project structure and governance. The Business Case for the project will be compiled from these elements.
The size and complexity of the Business Case will depend very much on the project type and category. For major capital projects, it will be quite extensive, and will need to include detailed financial and technical analysis. In other cases, a much simpler analysis will be enough to answer the two key questions which the Business Case needs to address:
- Do we have a viable and worthwhile project?
- Is it measurable and will it achieve council objectives?
The key elements of the Business Case are as follows:
- Clear, measurable objectives
- Weighted evaluation criteria
- Options for intervention
- Robust cost estimates (including whole life costs)
- Value for Money analysis
- Confirm scope and exclusions
- Product / output definition
- Timescales and stages
- Resource requirements (capital and revenue)
- Funding plan
- Project team / structure
- Risk log
- Application of lessons learned from previous projects
Consultation and engagement
- Stakeholder analysis
- Member involvement
- Partnership arrangements
- Governance, reporting and approvals
For externally funded projects, the funding body (e.g. ERDF) may have a very detailed project proposal or evaluation template which includes all of the elements which need to be considered at this stage. Similarly, for Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership schemes there are often prescribed formats for the Outline and Full Business Case which need to be prepared at specific points in the project approval process. There is obviously no benefit in duplicating this in a separate document for the Stage 3 Gateway. In this case, just use the sections in the Gateway 3 template to signpost to the relevant sections in that document.