Building a robust business case


In April 2021 NHS England (NHSE) introduced mandatory requirements for business case training, which applied to NHS organisations submitting business cases to the national NHSE team for funding and/or approval.

A business case is a vital tool for evidence-based decision making and optimising value for money. An increased requirement for business case training within public sector organisations was signalled in the revised HM Treasury Green Book in 2020. That, together with the recommendations in the Naylor Review, led to NHS England becoming an Accredited Training Organisation for Better Business Cases on the national framework for Better Business Cases (TM) training managed by APMG International for HM Treasury. Since January 1, 2024, the NHS England Business Case Training Team has been hosted by Midlands and Lancashire CSU, delivering this training under NHSE Accredited Status. 




The mandating requires that the relevant staff involved in preparing in-scope business cases complete Better Business Cases (TM) training. It applies to a minimum of three key individuals, for example the Business Case Development Lead such as the Programme or Project Manager, Business Case Finance Lead and Business Case Estates Lead.

To-date, the NHS England Business Case Training Team, comprising Sue Stockley, Michael Gemson and Glen Mackie have trained 1,800+ NHS colleagues since December 2020 - from ICBs, Trusts, NHS England, CSUs, DHSC and NHS Property Services, and including estates professionals, clinicians, finance and digital staff, as well as project managers and directors.

The team provides Better Business Cases (TM) training, Bite Size Training to support this on key topics such as Benefits Management and Realisation and Comprehensive Investment Appraisal, as well as bespoke tailored business case training. 

“A business case is used for seeking approval for an initiative, the audit trail and bidding for funds, but it’s all too easy to see it as a hurdle to jump through or as a tick list or to retrofit to a pre-determined solution,” says Sue.

“There are many reasons why projects fail - not least lack of a clear link to the organisation’s strategic priorities, senior management ownership or effective engagement with stakeholders. How do we go about putting the right foot forward to build a robust business case? The Five Case Model approach and Better Business Cases (TM) methodology are fundamental to a strong business case but these should be used proportionately.” 

Better Business Cases (TM) is supplementary guidance to the Green Book, designed to ensure staff are enabled to develop robust business cases. 

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