Guidance

The Green Book: appraisal and evaluation in central government

HM Treasury guidance for public sector bodies on how to appraise proposals before committing funds to a policy, programme or project.

Documents

The Green Book

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Public sector business cases using the five case model: templates

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Checklist for assessing business cases

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A short 'plain English' guide to assessing business cases

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Detail

The Green Book is guidance for central government produced by the Treasury on how publicly funded bodies should prepare and analyse proposed policies, programmes and projects to obtain the best public value and manage risks.

It also covers the evaluation of policies programmes and projects after they have been implemented to find out how well they have achieved their original objectives and how well they have delivered within their original budgets and planned timescales.

The Green Book guidance on assessing public value and risks applies to proposals and decisions about both spending public money and to changes in regulation.

Read the cost benefit analysis guidance for local partnerships published on 2 April 2014.

There is a wide range of supplementary Green Book guidance giving more information on particular issues and on applying the Green Book in specific contexts - for example, valuing environmental effects and assessing competition effects. These are:

Spending proposals and business cases

All public spending proposals should be accompanied by a properly developed and structured business case using the Treasury ‘five case model’ and the supplementary Green Book guidance on development and assessment of business cases.

Regulatory proposals and impact assessments

Regulatory impact assessment is usually required for all proposed UK government regulatory changes.

The appraisal of value needed to ascertain the effects of the proposal is sometimes referred to as the impact of the proposal and is conducted according to Green Book guidance.

The decision process for progressing regulatory proposals is subject to guidance from the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills who are responsible for the Impact Assessment process (templates, guidance etc).

The current Green Book

The current edition of the Green Book is the edition published in 2003 with the addition on pages 58-59 of material on the valuation of non market goods.

The Green Book is currently being reviewed to bring it into line with developments since its last edition in the theory and practice of appraisal and with changes in the public sector since 2003. It is not intended to make any change to the fundamental approach contained in the current edition which continues in force as HM Treasury guidance.

If you have any comments or feedback please email the Green Book team.

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