Step 1: Business case scoping document

A tertiary education institute wishing to develop and submit a business case must first send us a scoping document and a completed copy of the Risk Profile Assessment tool for the proposed investment. This is needed so that writers and assessors can agree on the next steps in the development of the business case before any detailed writing or analysis is undertaken. Completed scoping and RPA documents should be emailed to us.

We and the tertiary education institute will agree on the:

  • scale and risk of the proposal, using the Risk Profile Assessment tool and the scalability matrix
  • whether the solution to the problem being addressed by the business case is likely to be a discrete project, or would be better addressed through a larger programme of work
  • whether further work is required to clarify the problem/opportunity and the possible options, benefits, strategic responses and solutions. Most programme business cases require a Strategic Assessment and some project business cases, particularly projects that require a two-stage business case, require an Investment Logic Mapping (PDF, 37 Kb) exercise.
  • the level and depth of analysis required in various stages of the development of the business case
  • the level and depth of independent quality assurance required in various stages of the development of the business case
  • level of effort and cost for development and assurance
  • the timing and nature of engagement and decisions required including how these fit with other processes required by the TEI (ie, council approval) or by us (ie, budget processes).

How to complete a scoping document

The content required in scoping documents is determined by the scale and risk of the proposal under consideration. Large-scale or risky business cases, or large programmes containing many individual projects, require more content and depth of analysis than smaller or less risky proposals.

A copy of the scoping document can be downloaded from the The Treasury's website - Better Business Cases - Guidance.  For questions on which scoping document to use, read the information below and/or email us.

How to determine whether a proposal is large scale

Investment proposals are considered large scale if their whole-of-life costs (WOLC) are greater than $25 million. WOLC are based on The Net Present Value (NPV) of cash costs of the proposal under consideration. Cash costs include the initial capital or operating costs, plus cash operating costs for the expected life of the asset, discounted using the Public Sector Discount Rate. Operating costs may include costs of operational personnel if this is an essential part of the proposal.

Refer to Cabinet Office circular CO (15) 5 Investment Management and Asset Performance in the State Services for more information.

How to determine whether a proposal is high risk

The risk of a proposal is determined using the Risk Profile Assessment (RPA) tool available on the State Services Commission’s website.

The Risk Profile  Assessment comprises 26 multiple-choice questions. These identify, at a high level, the presence of risk in a project. The RPA is not an exhaustive risk analysis model and it does not replace the need for institutions to perform their own detailed risk analysis and management throughout a project's lifecycle.

If a proposal, not including programmes, is deemed to be high risk it must go through the Gateway Review Process. Institutions may choose to obtain assurance for moderate risk or large scale programmes or projects via the Gateway Review Process The timing of when a Gateway Review is started depends on the nature of the business case. For programme business cases the Gateway Review Process may not be required until individual projects have begun. Assurance for programmes may be better met through a third party (independent) quality assurance process which will provide assurance to reviewers and owners/writers.

  • Last changed: 22 July 2015
  • Last verified: 22 July 2015