Agile delivery

Spend controls: apply for approval to spend money on a service

Before you start building your service, you may need to apply to the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) for approval to spend money on it.

This process is known as ‘spend controls’.

Before you apply, check if you need approval to spend money on your service.

You’ll need to follow different guidance if your department has signed up to the new pipeline process. Check with your digital or technology lead to find out.

Why some services must get spend approval

CDDO requires services to get spending approval to make sure they’re built in line with the Technology Code of Practice.

You should read the code before starting work on your service and use it when making decisions about technology.

The spend controls process exists to make sure:

  • you’ve considered the needs of the people who’ll use the service
  • you get the best value
  • you only spend on programmes and projects that meet government digital and technology strategies
  • members of the public or private businesses can see how government makes decisions about spending money on digital projects or technology
  • you discover and solve any problems with your service before you spend money
  • you develop services using agile methods

Before you apply

Before you apply you must get your project signed off by either:

You must also contact CDDO on to discuss your idea

Major projects

If your project costs more than your organisation’s expenditure limit, you need to get assurance from the Major Projects Authority.

When to apply

If your service requires spend approval, you need to apply to CDDO both:

  • before your service goes into discovery phase
  • before your service goes into live phase

How to apply

Complete a spend control form

To apply for approval, you must:

  1. Download a spend control form template.

  2. Complete the spend control form.

  3. Send the completed form to

Share your business case

If you have not shared your business case with CDDO at the time you’re sending your spend control form, you must send either one of the following with the form:

  • a programme business case, if you have one for your service and you’re using agile methods
  • a traditional business case, if you’re using public sector OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) procurement processes

Your spend control form will explain the detail your business case needs to include.

Find out more about making programme business cases for agile projects.

Last update:

Guidance first published