By Alistair Steenson - CIPFA Training Development and Delivery Manager
CIPFA has become an accredited trainer in ‘Better Business Cases’, an HM Treasury and Welsh Government initiative set to increase the skills for those involved in preparing or reviewing business cases. The scheme and exam are based on the HM Treasury’s Green Book Guidance on Public Sector Business Cases Using the Five Case Model.
As the public sector faces the continuation of austerity and the on-going reduction or freezing of budgets, we need to be able to spend what funds we have wisely. This means that the money we invest must always be invested well, and the decisions we make over that investment must stand up to public scrutiny. Key to this is having robust and measurable business cases, business cases that must stand up to thorough scrutiny, ensuring that our investments are affordable and good value. Westminster has often criticised the quality of the business cases used in the public sector with the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee both seeing this as a major contributor to financial, governance, service delivery or project management failures. These and other bodies have highlighted the problems in how business cases are prepared, reviewed and challenged by public officials.
The public sector knows from experience that when an organisation undertakes substantial expenditure without a business case that is fit for purpose, it is likely that they will have to explain themselves in the public arena. To counter this and ensure that we spend what we have in the best way possible we need to produce better, more robust and more effective business cases.
This is where Better Business Cases delivers. The programme trains Government Professions to work more collaboratively on business cases; promotes an effective approval processes, and provides better understanding and guidance to the public sector. At the heart of Better Business Cases is the ‘Five Case Model’, designed to provide a framework to create better informed decisions, improve value for money and enhance outcomes. The framework provides a systematic and objective approach to all stages of the business case process that sits alongside, and complements,HM Treasury’s ‘Green Book’ guidance.
CIPFA’s training will provide recognised accreditation in ‘Better Business Cases’ to Foundation, Practitioner and Reviewer levels, as well as providing work-based skills that can be translated directly to the workplace.