What is a Business Case?
A ‘business case’ is a form of advice substantiating an argument for a proposal. It is an essential and useful tool for substantiating the viability of initiatives and the justification of resource investment. It sets out – • • • • • • • • The problem or situation addressed by the proposal; The features and scope of the proposed initiative; The options considered and the rationale for choosing the solution proposed; The proposal’s conformity with existing policies, etc; The implementation plan; The expected costs; The anticipated outcomes and benefits; and The expected risks associated with the proposal’s implementation.
Why do a Business Case?
The Department of Lands has a responsibility to ensure the optimal use of Crown land resulting in cost effective and beneficial solutions for the State. In addition is the requirement for demonstrable accountability. A business case assists in determining the strengths and weaknesses of a proposal in a systematic and objective manner. You need to be rigorous, objective and honest in applying it to your proposal, to do otherwise risks making a poor investment.
When is a Business Case required?
A business case is required where there is a significant allocation or reallocation of resources (i.e. Crown land).
What should be included in a Business Case?
Your case should contain a clear and concise outline of the whole proposal, including the rationale for proceeding with it.
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Be careful with the composition as – • • • Some of your audience will only read the executive summary. They will therefore need to understand the basic argument and major implications of the case from this. A summary will provide a ‘big picture’ even for those who review the whole document. Decision makers will primarily refer to the executive summary to refresh their memory when discussing the merits of the proposal.
The executive summary, must be interesting and persuasive in its own right, be short (no more than two pages if it can be helped) and include – • • • • • A short account of the current position, issues/problems, and the need for change; The broad scope of the proposal; A brief outline of the method of analysis used to identify and assess options addressing the issues/problems; A short description of the expected benefits and any known drawbacks; A cost summary.
The Case for Change
This section contains the basic argument for the proposal. It describes the current situation, outlines the strategic issues and gives the rationale for making a change, which may take the form of solving a problem or seizing an opportunity. Your argument should show how the proposal addresses the Department’s core interests and priorities (e.g. triple bottom line requirements). You should also show how the proposal is consistent with and/or delivers government policy, legislation and the Department’s corporate directions and plans. The impact on the environment should be addressed, where relevant. Any evidence of stakeholder consultation should be provided as an annexure and not be included in this section.
Information about the Proposal
Proposal Scope Scope defines and sets out the main elements of the proposal. This is where you provide clear information about – • • • • The proposed purpose (brief description of the overall aims of the proposal linked to issues, problems or opportunities outlined in The case for change); Planned outcomes (the end results you seek, the criteria to measure the success of the proposal. Your case will be improved by providing verifiable quantitative and qualitative indicators describing the existing situation and expected gains from the proposal); Proposal description (this is a concise statement of the boundaries of the proposal – what it...