Consider the risks and uncertainties associated with the different combinations of project, procurement and funding options. Undertake sensitivity analysis of the key assumptions, identify those that are critical to success and confirm the preferred solution.
Identify the impact of the preferred solution on the University’s financial forecasts. In particular on the School/Service area reserves and the University Income & Expenditure Account, reserves and cashflow. If the preferred solution appears unaffordable then the assumptions will need revisiting.
Plan for monitoring during implementation and post-project review upon completion (where relevant), including putting in place mechanisms to enable monitoring and measurement of progress, and specification of the monitoring data which will be collected in the course of implementation. Capital Group should be involved in the preparation of this section and, both project sponsor and Capital Group should understand and agree the timing of such reviews and the criteria and indicators being used to assess project outcomes.
The project sponsor forwards the full business case plus all appendices, to the Treasury Manager for review at least two weeks prior to the Capital Group meeting.
The Treasury Manager passes any comments back to the project sponsor who then forwards the amended case plus all appendices, to Capital Group for their review.
Once Capital Group is satisfied, the project sponsor will be asked to submit a paper, plus key appendices, to VCEG (if the project costs more than £3 million this will be a draft Council paper and an illustrative example is used in the case study on the Finance web site). If approved by VCEG, and the project costs more than £3 million, the project sponsor will need to submit a first version of the Council paper, plus key appendices, to the University Secretary at least 7 days ahead of the Council meeting. The approving committee, VCEG or Council, need to understand the logic behind the choice of preferred solution, and the risks and sensitivities associated with it, therefore the business case should be sufficiently detailed to enable this. It should show clearly the need or problem to be solved, which project option represents the best value and whether that option is affordable. If after approval any of the assumptions are invalidated, then the approving committee should be informed, as this may alter the decision reached.
As a general rule the project sponsor should not bid for external funding until approval of the full business case. It is however recognised that in certain circumstances the timescales involved do not allow production of the business case in advance of the bid, and therefore, subject to reporting to Council, the Vice-Chancellor can approve such a bid. The business case must follow and be approved prior to announcement of funding, and in the event of a failed bid, there is no supposition that the University will fund the gap.
Stage 4: Formal Approval
VCEG are authorised to approve projects costing up to £3 million based on the paper plus key appendices. For projects costing more than £3 million, which are supported by VCEG, the project sponsor should submit the final paper plus key appendices to Council for their approval. An illustrative example is used in the case study on the Finance web site.