Stage 1: Identification of Need
The University determines that there is a need to be satisfied (or a problem to be solved) through strategic/ annual planning of Estates, Faculty or Service plans. This need must be clearly defined, since it will form the basis of the whole evaluation. As the evaluation develops it may call into question whether the need actually exists, and if it does, the University should ensure it cannot be met from re-allocating existing resources.
Confirmation of need is decided by VCEG, Strategy Group or annual Faculty/ Service area reviews and it will be reflected in the annual 5-year capital expenditure forecast and Estate Strategy, prepared by Estates.
Stage 2: Development of the Prima Facie Case
The prima facie case comprises two essential elements: the academic case and the initial option appraisals. It is developed within the Faculty or Service area in conjunction with Estates and the Treasury Manager. The Faculty Dean or Service Director (or their nominee) is the person who “champions” the project, referred to as the “Project Sponsor”. Estates maintain a Target Dates schedule which flags the key dates in the approval process and highlights the required lead time.
The project sponsor is responsible for the preparation of the academic case and issues to consider are attached at Appendix 2. Identification of the various build options should be led by Estates in conjunction with the project sponsor. It is important to consider as wide a range of options as possible, including a “do nothing” option as the “base case”. Where doing nothing is not an option, for instance due to statutory or regulatory changes, then a “do minimum” option should be included as the base case. Some options can be discarded at an early stage, if there are good grounds for doing so, but the reasons for rejection should be stated. The project sponsor, in conjunction with Estates, should then consider each option against the ten key criteria, derived from the University Strategy Map, which identify the strategic context and objectives. These objectives set out what is to be achieved and provide the criteria against which the various options will be judged, and against which the success of the project will be evaluated.
The prima facie case is further developed by the project sponsor, with assistance from Estates, to include identification of the outline cost and funding, sustainability and recurrent business plan. Initial appraisal of the various build options is undertaken by Estates in conjunction with the Faculty/ Service Area Finance Manager.