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5. Gate 2: final business case

Final business case (FBC)

The FBC provides a substantiated argument for any preferred option and its delivery through rigorous examination of the options, costs and risks. This provides key decision-makers with the required information to assess and demonstrate how the preferred option best meets the service need.
In most cases, only the executive summary will accompany an investment or funding submission to the BERC, with the full business case submitted only where necessary.

The FBC follows the strategic business case (SBC) and options analysis documents. Reuse as much of the previous two gate’s proposed revisions as possible and succinctly provide all relevant detail, so informed decisions regarding the project or programs funding can be made.

The FBC gate looks to:

  • Confirm that the business case is robust – that is, in principle it meets business need, is affordable, achievable, with appropriate options explored and likely to achieve value for money.
  • Establish that the feasibility study has been completed satisfactorily and that there is a preferred way forward.
  • Ensure that there is internal and external authority and support for the project, if required.
  • Ensure that the major risks have been identified and outline risk management plans have been developed.
  • Establish that the project is likely to deliver its business goals and that it supports wider business change, where applicable.
  • Confirm that the scope and requirements specifications are realistic, clear and unambiguous.
  • Ensure that the full scale, intended outcomes, timescales and impact of relevant external issues have been considered.
  • Ensure that there are plans for the next stage.
  • Confirm planning assumptions and that the project team can deliver the next stage.
  • Confirm that the overarching and internal business technical strategies have been taken into account.
  • Establish that quality plans for the project and its products are in place.

Benefits

Developing a business case is a key stage in the project lifecycle process. The business case is not a one-off document aimed solely to achieve funding approval by government. A sound business case results from the three-stage development process. It provides a tool to improve service delivery and to demonstrate accountability throughout the general government sector.

Benefits include:

  • Confirmation of the service need, including alignment with government policy objectives.
  • Evaluation of the costs and benefits of alternative proposals, including non-asset solutions, to best meet an identified service need.
  • Clarification of the key assumptions, risks and costs on which the initiative is based.
  • Identification of funding sources for the proposal.
  • Improved accountability for the proposal and increased management ability to monitor the achievement of proposal milestones and key outcomes.

Key principles

  • Substantiate the preferred option and demonstrate how it meets government’s / the department’s service delivery needs better than other alternatives, taking into account future scenarios and assumptions.
  • Apply a disciplined approach to:
    • collecting relevant information
    • analysing the proposal (including identifying the source and basis of the assumptions used)
    • developing acquisition and risk management plans.
  • Clearly communicate the key issues and recommendations arising from the business case to aid executive decision-making. Ensure stakeholders are aware of financial impacts such as from compressed timelines and/or changes to scope.

Business case template

The business case template will help ensure that all relevant aspects are considered during business case development. The level of detail in the template will vary depending on the size, risk and complexity of the proposal. Some of the issues included in the template will not be relevant to all proposals. However, the completed template should reflect that each of the issues identified has been considered.

Key elements

A rigorous assessment of the options, costs and risks is an integral part of any proposal. The business case builds on the strategic assessment and options analysis stages by developing a comprehensive document analysing each of the short-listed options. The business case requires more detailed work than the earlier two stages to tighten and refine assumptions and information provided.

It is generally appropriate for two or three options to be considered in the business case. In low-value, low-risk cases, however, it should be common practice to review the strategic assessment and options analysis work undertaken earlier and focus on the preferred option in the business case. The analysis will be more in-depth for larger or more complex or risky proposals, particularly if private financing is involved.

Deliverables

  • Schematic design – refer to schematic design guideline.
  • Capital cost  - refer to cost plans guideline.
  • Value management study - refer to value management guideline.
  • Recurrent cost / revenue - refer to cost plans guideline.
  • Detailed risk management plan - refer to risk management essential engineering services guideline.
  • Detailed communication strategy.
  • Preliminary Partnerships Victoria (PV) analysis - refer to the PV manual on the Department of Treasury and Finance website.
  • Preliminary procurement strategy – refer to engagement of consultants guideline.
  • Implementation plan.

Key actions

  • Infrastructure Planning and Delivery (IPD) engages / extends capital consultants.
  • IPD QA of capital design and costs.
  • Division prepares FBC – refer to proformas for the business case template.
  • Division / IPD evaluate procurement options including PV potential.
  • Recommendation to proceed to PV business case or not.

Key sign offs

  • IPD / service division sign off schematic design and cost plan C as part of FBC.
  • Finance / service division sign off FBC.
  • IPD / division agree indicative timing of next steps subject to funding approval. 
  • Project submitted for BERC budget consideration.

BERC endorsement

Partnerships Victoria (PV) business case (if required)

Partnerships Victoria is about creating partnerships between the government and private businesses, in which improved value for money is achieved utilising the innovation capabilities and skills of both to deliver performance improvements and efficiency savings.

Projects exceeding the value of $100M are required to be evaluated by the Department of Treasury and Finance for their potential for private partnerships. The documentation and requirements can be downloaded from the Department of Treasury and Finance website here.

Deliverables

  • PSC.
  • PV tests.
  • Options assessment.

Key actions

  • Division reviews project governance / management structure.
  • Division engages / extends financial / commercial analysts and other consultants as required.
  • Division prepares PV business case.

Key sign offs

  • Finance / service division sign off PV business case.

Documentation

Deliverables

  • Design development reports – refer to design development guideline
  • Capital cost confirmation - refer to cost plans guideline
  • Tender documents – refer to tendering, evaluation and acceptance guideline.

Key actions

  • Project governance structure reviewed.
  • IPD engage / extend capital consultants.

Key sign offs

  • IPD sign off documentation. 
  • Any changes to endorsed scope/cost/timeframes to be endorsed by service division.