Better Business Cases NI


Guidance and a framework for appraising, developing and planning projects and programmes using the Five Case Model to deliver best social value for money; all of which is captured for a well prepared business case to support objective, evidence based decisions.


Every year, billions of pounds are spent on public expenditure programmes in Northern Ireland. It is vital that this money is put to use in a way that delivers the maximum value. It is also important that all spending is accountable to the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly. 

This guidance is designed to help achieve these ends. It is the primary guidance for NI Departments on the development and review of business cases. 


The principles in this guidance must be applied to all proposals that involve spending or saving public money, including EU funds, and to all proposed changes in the use of public resources. There are no exceptions to this general requirement. 

It is always vital to apply proportionate effort. The effort required to assess a small expenditure is very much less than that needed to justify a major programme, a new policy or a large project. 

This guidance is intended to help assess what is best for the people of Northern Ireland and accordingly business cases should focus on examining the pros and cons of spending proposals from a Northern Ireland perspective. However, there is flexibility to consider significant impacts upon other territories such as Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, and the rest of the EU, where they are considered relevant or as outlined in HMT Green Book. 

The key source of guidance around the Five Case Model is the HMT ‘Business Case Guidance for Projects’. This guidance is supplemented by additional, NI-specific guidance to suit particular types of expenditure and spending proposals. This further guidance is set out in a series of Guidance Notes, which are provided below:


Further Business case guidance, pro formas and templates


Any queries / comments on this guidance are welcome, and should be addressed in the first instance to DoF's Strategic Policy Divison (SPD) at:

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