Guidance

Transport business case: assessment and process procedures

How the Department for Transport assesses the business case for major investments.

Documents

Transport business case

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Strategic case supplementary guidance: transport investment strategy

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Strategic case supplementary guidance: rebalancing toolkit

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Enabling behaviour change

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Early Assessment and Sifting Tool (EAST)

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Early Assessment and Sifting Tool (EAST) guidance

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Details

The department is committed to being open and transparent. This document sets out how the department assesses the business case for major investments and supports ministers as they make decisions on them. This will enable those outside of the department to understand and engage with what we do. It will also provide scheme promoters and their specialists with comprehensive guidance to make it easier and simpler to understand and engage with our decision making process.

The business case

Ministers consider the evidence presented to them in a business case when making decisions on major investments. The business case is built up over time and contains all the relevant information regarding a proposed scheme investment set out in five cases, consistent with the ‘Treasury green book’, specifically to show whether a proposal:

  • is supported by a robust case for change that fits with wider public policy objectives - strategic case
  • demonstrates value for money - economic case
  • is commercially viable - commercial case
  • is financially affordable - financial case
  • is achievable - management case

Strategic case

The strategic case determines whether or not a project or proposal is needed, either now or in the future. It should demonstrate a robust case for change, ie a clear rationale for making the investment; and strategic fit, how an investment will further the aims and objectives of the organisation. The strategic case is particularly important when decisions are made on a project at an early stage, and should provide a shortlist of options at the strategic outline case stage. The following links provide further useful information:

Supplementary strategic case guidance: transport investment strategy

The Department for Transport’s supplementary guidance on the transport investment strategy is aimed at business case practitioners.

Government business case guidance sets out the need for strategic cases to demonstrate how spending proposals fit in relation to national, regional and local policies, strategies and plans. This guidance aims to help practitioners take account of the priorities for future transport investments set out in the transport investment strategy in the development of scheme proposals and design.

The guidance is structured around specific questions which draw out the impacts of interventions against these objectives.

Supplementary strategic case guidance: rebalancing toolkit

The Department for Transport’s rebalancing toolkit provides guidance to help authors of strategic cases describe the impact of a project or programme on rebalancing growth across the country. It is optional, and aimed at projects and programmes where rebalancing is an objective.

The toolkit aims to ensure rebalancing is considered more consistently within decision-making by improving the focus, quality and transparency of the evidence presented.

Economic case

The economic case assesses whether projects or proposals offer value for money to the public. The Department for Transport’s ‘Value for money’ framework provides guidance for undertaking these assessments and communicating to decision makers.

Financial case

The financial case provides evidence on the affordability of the proposal, its funding and technical accounting issues. It includes the financial profile of the different options and the impact of the proposed deal on the department’s budgets and accounts. The following link provides further useful information:

Commercial case

The commercial viability of a project or proposal and the procurement strategy that will be used to engage the market is set out and appraised within the commercial case. This ensures that there is a clear understanding of the financial implications of any proposed deal, both in terms of the department’s contractual obligations and associated spend in support of the required services. It also looks for evidence on risk allocation and transfer, contract timescales and implementation timescale.

Management case

The management case ensures that the project is deliverable. It tests the project planning, governance structure, risk management, communications and stakeholder management, benefits realisation and assurance. It ensures that there is clarity in the proposal and a clear and agreed understanding of what needs to be done, why, when and how, with measures in place to identify and manage any risks. The following link provides further useful information:

Tools that support business cases

Tools are available to produce evidence that supports all five cases.

Transport Analysis Guidance (WebTAG)

WebTAG is the department’s website for guidance on the conduct of transport studies. Evidence that supports all five cases is produced using WebTAG and other tools available on these web pages.

Early assessment and sifting tool (EAST)

EAST is a tool that has been developed to quickly summarise and present evidence on options in a clear and consistent format. It presents relevant, high level, information so that an early view can be taken on how options perform and compare. This tool is new and we welcome feedback on both the tool and the guidance. You can email us at strategy.unit@dft.gov.uk. Download the tool and guidance via the following links:

Equality Duty

The public sector Equality Duty came into force on 5 April 2011.

In complying with the Equality Duty, and with the aim of delivering better and more cost-effective policy outcomes, the department must have due regard to equalities issues, consciously thinking about equality as a matter of course before making decisions, when developing policies and services, and in all departmental planning. This includes looking at evidence, engaging with staff, service users and others to understand the effect of our policies and practices on the whole community.

Transport schemes delivered by others

The department works in partnership with other organisations to deliver transport schemes:

Published 27 April 2011
Last updated 18 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. Additional supplementary strategic case guidance on the transport investment strategy and a rebalancing toolkit published.
  2. Update information on how to complete an economic case to include the 'Value for money' framework.
  3. Value for money assessment added.
  4. First published.