Step 3: Business case assessment

The page provides an overview of the assessment of tertiary education institutions' business cases.

The Tertiary Education Commission will assess each scoping document and set up a meeting to discuss the matters raised with the tertiary education institution and its advisors soon after we receive the scoping document.

We aim to assess and provide feedback on completed business cases as soon as possible. The timeframe for feedback will vary depending on a number of factors such as whether the business case is missing key information required by the following assessment criteria.

We encourage business case writers to supply as much information as possible to help with the assessment of the business case (eg, spreadsheets used during analysis, feedback from stakeholders and so on).

When considering a preferred solution or investment proposal, we need to be satisfied that the evidence provided demonstrates that the investment proposal shows or addresses these factors:

  • Strategic alignment - identifies and contributes to the Government’s stated outcomes for tertiary education as set out in the Tertiary Education Strategy, and other strategies relevant to the TEI(s) and/or the business case.
  • Value for money - demonstrates value for money for the Crown, measured against a range of possible options, and aligns to the investment objectives agreed between TEC and the TEI(s).
  • Tertiary network - contributes to a balanced network of provision (that is geographically and/or academically), with more focus on national and regional solutions and less on individual local institution specific approaches.
  • Stakeholders - supported by key stakeholders (including, for example/as appropriate, staff, students, other providers,industry and advisory organisations, business groups and central and local government).
  • Affordability - contributes to the current and future financial viability and sustainability of the TEI(s) (and other TEIs, if applicable) and is it affordable and justified as part of a long-term capital asset management plan(s).
  • Risk - identifies and appropriately manages or mitigates key areas of risk and uncertainty that could threaten the success of the proposal or its implementation including any regional/national risks and/or risks to the Crown.

Contents on this page

Each individual case within the business case will be further assessed as follows:

Strategic assessment

  • How does the proposal further the objectives of the organisation and fit with the wider strategic context in which the organisation operates?
  • What is the nature and scope of the organisations activities and services (outputs), key stakeholders and customers (including the public)?
  • What resources are available to the organisation, including existing financial and funding arrangements, organisational structure and staffing, and how does it intend to manage this capability over time?
  • What is the current environment in which the organisation operates, including how it intends to respond to changes and possible risks?
  • What are the main outcomes, impacts and objectives that the organisation is trying to achieve and why?
  • Is the investment proposal a good idea?
  • What is the problem (or opportunity) that is driving the organisation to consider this investment?
  • Is there evidence to confirm both the causes and impacts of the problem?
  • What are the expected benefits of successfully responding to the problem (or opportunity)?
  • Is there strong evidence of support from management and other key stakeholders?

Programme business case

Key review criteria by case

Strategic case
  • Is the proposed programme an integral part of the organisation’s business strategy?
  • Is the proposed investment sufficiently large and stand alone to form a programme or could it be more sensibly undertaken as a project?
  • Are the investment objectives and underpinning business needs defined clearly and supported by the key stakeholders and customers?
  • Is the scope for potential change to current services and business processes clearly defined?
  • Have the main benefits been clearly defined by key stakeholders and customers, alongside arrangements for their realisation?
  • Have the main risks been identified, alongside arrangements for their management and control?
  • Have the key organisational constraints and business dependencies been identified?
Economic case
  • Have the critical success factors (CSFs) for options assessment been identified?
  • Has a sufficiently wide range of programme options been identified and assessed?
  • Has a preferred programme been identified following robust analysis of the available options?
Commercial case
  • Has a high-level assessment of the potential deal and its likely acceptability to potential suppliers been undertaken?
Financial case
  • Has a high-level assessment of affordability and source(s) of required funding been undertaken?
  • Management Case
  • Has the mix of projects by programme tranche been systematically identified and agreed?
  • Has a high-level assessment of the achievability and deliverability of the programme been undertaken?
  • Are all the necessary arrangements in place for the successful completion of the next phase?

Indicative business case

Key review criteria by case

Strategic case
  • Is the proposed project an integral part of the institution’s business strategy?
  • Is the proposed investment sufficiently large and stand alone to form a project or could it be more sensibly undertaken as part of another programme or project?
  • Are the investment objectives and underpinning business needs defined clearly and supported by the key stakeholders and customers?
  • Is the scope for potential change to current services and business processes clearly defined?
  • Have the main benefits been clearly defined by key stakeholders and customers, alongside arrangements for their realisation?
  • Have the main risks been identified, alongside arrangements for their management and control?
  • Have the key organisational constraints and business dependencies been identified?
Economic case

Have the critical success factors for options appraisal been identified?

  • Has a sufficiently wide range of options been identified and assessed within the long-list?
  • Has a preferred way forward been identified following robust analysis of the available options?
  • Has the preferred way forward been unpacked within a short list for further examination and appraisal?
Commercial case
  • Has a high-level assessment of the potential and its likely acceptability to the supply side been undertaken?
Financial case
  • Has a high-level assessment of affordability and source(s) of required funding been undertaken?
Management case
  • Has a high-level assessment of the achievability and deliverability of the project been undertaken?
  • Are all the necessary arrangements in place for the successful completion of the next phase?

Detailed business case

Key review criteria by case

Strategic case
  • Are the Indicative Business Case investment objectives and planning assumptions still valid?
  • Do the services to be procured in the Indicative Business Case still provide best fit in relation to organisational needs?
  • Have any outstanding differences at Indicative Business Case stage between stakeholders and customers been satisfactorily resolved?
  • Has the assessment of likely benefits, risks, constraints and dependencies in the Indicative Business Case been revisited and examined in further detail?
Economic case
  • Were the long-listed options in the Indicative Business Case revisited and subjected to further scrutiny?
  • Were the short-listed options in the Indicative Business Case revisited and subjected to robust analysis?
  • Has the Public Sector Comparator been constructed and assessed in accordance with Treasury’s Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) guidance, if PPP?
  • Does the preferred option represent best value for money or the most economically advantageous offer?
Commercial case
  • Has the procurement strategy for the successful delivery of the required services been considered and prepared in sufficient detail?
  • Is there sufficient scope for a potential deal, which will meet organisational needs whilst offering best value-for-money?
  • Has the potential deal been considered in sufficient detail (i.e. the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what')?
  • Is there a clear understanding of the business change agenda?
  • Is the potential deal still likely to be acceptable and bankable within the private sector?
Financial case
  • Is the solution still likely to be affordable?
Management case
  • Are all the necessary arrangements in place for the successful completion of the next phase?

Single-stage business case

Key review criteria by case

Strategic case
  • Is the proposed project an integral part of the institution’s business strategy?
  • Is the proposal sufficiently large and stand alone to form a project or could it be more sensibly undertaken as part of another programme or project?
  • Are the investment objectives and underpinning business needs defined clearly and supported by the key stakeholders and customers?
  • Is the scope for potential change to current services and business processes clearly defined?
  • Have the main benefits been clearly defined by key stakeholders and customers, alongside arrangements for their realisation?
  • Have the main risks been identified, alongside arrangements for their management and control?
  • Have the key organisational constraints and business dependencies been identified?
Economic case
  • Have the critical success factors for options appraisal been identified?
  • Has a sufficiently wide range of options been identified and assessed within the long-list?
  • Has a preferred way forward been identified following robust analysis of the available options?
  • Does the preferred option represent best value-for-money or the most economically advantageous offer?
Commercial case
  • Has the procurement strategy for the successful delivery of the required services been considered and prepared in sufficient detail?
  • Is there sufficient scope for a potential deal, which will meet organisational needs whilst offering best value for money?
  • Has the potential deal been considered in sufficient detail (i.e. the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’)?
  • Is there a clear understanding of the business change agenda?
  • Is the potential deal still likely to be acceptable and bankable within the private sector?
Financial case
  • Is the solution still likely to be affordable?
Management case
  • Are all the necessary arrangements in place for the successful completion of the next phase?
  • Last changed: 6 July 2015
  • Last verified: 6 July 2015