Public Sector Business Cases

are difficult to get right.


Getting it "right first time" can be a lot easier if you follow some simple steps...



When it comes to managing change and improvements, a professional business case can be the most powerful tool for commissioners and health care managers.

People from 30+ NHS organisations have told us that more help is needed to make a strong case, identify value for money and ‘sell’ ideas to varying stakeholders.

ABC8 is here to help you deliver quickly and easily with a combination of free and cost-effective support options.

A "no brainer" to engage with ABC8:

The “Points4Life” programme  was the best Public Health business case there has ever been!” Professor Matthew Cripps NHS RightCare National Programme Director.

  • No obligation reviews: Whenever you get a business case to develop it can be invaluable to "talk it through" to help establish the level of analysis you will need to undertake and to determine "what good looks like" for your particular case. Give Anthony a call on 0792178677 to help you get started.
  • Free Resources: Check out the resources page where you will find really valuable tools and links to support your business case endeavours. 
  • Simple methodology:  Our starting point is always a simple 8 gateway methodology (you don't always need all 8!) based on the core guidance from the Treasury and NHSE documentation. Our key message is to keep as simple as possible and use experience, testing and common sense to determine the most appropriate level of detail required on a case by case basis. Some cases are so simple that they can be made within a few pages of A4 and so it does not make sense to try to apply a rigid system where the guidance is 150+ pages long. However, some cases are fundamentally complex, cross many organisations within the health economy and simple ROI calculations etc. are not sophisticated enough; judgement is always required.
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    Simple techniques and scoring criteria to get to the right decisions: In everything that we do we use simple techniques to determine if we (and all relevant stakeholders) are on the right track. Do we have enough information to move forward? e.g. think about every decision as if the outcome impacts directly upon your personal bank account.
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    Easy to engage and no procurement headaches: Whether you need a short "critical friend" review and  recommendation or several weeks of consultancy support, costs will typically fall below any of your complex procurement thresholds (our prices usually range from £500 to £5,000 depending on the level of help you need) which means in most cases we can get started almost immediately.

Extra capacity and expertise:

Take the Dragon's Den Review (a friendly version) to see if you do have a case worthy of development. A £250 review could save you months and save you tens of £000s.

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    Extra capacity at your fingertips: It can be very helpful to recruit the appropriate expertise you require for a particular element of your case quickly, easily and inexpensively - please see our Team Page to see some of the FFMI Associates that might be able to support you with:
  • Peer review and amendment of your draft business cases from clinicians, finance experts, commissioners and researchers.
  • Writing drafts of your business case sections based on good practice, national guidelines and research evidence
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    Extra capacity for your team to help calculate value for money / benefits realisation
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    Providing workshops to upskill your teams in identifying value for money and writing and implementing business cases.

ABC8 Signature System:

Gateway Steps:

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    1 Strategic fit - why? (Dragon's Den Review)
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    2 Case for change
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    3 Explore the preferred way
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    4 Determining VFM & the best deal
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    5 Funding & affordibility
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    6 Planning a successful delivery
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    7 Procuring & contracting the solution
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    8 Ensuring successful delivery

Principles at every step:

a) Start with your Mission and your Why
b) Manage the "Human Factors"
c) Small wins (lead to unstoppable momentum)
d) Communicate with stories
e) Always keep key stakeholders in mind (especially patients)
f) Don't undertake any work that does not add value
g) Think through and test hypotheses quickly and cheaply
h) Evaluate every decision as if the impact will effect your own personal finances


Please email Anthony.Lawton@ffmi.co.uk or call 07921786777 to arrange an informal conversation for some free advice or to see if we can assist you with additional support.

What does good look like?

Considering the importance and volume of business cases in the healthcare sector, there has been very little training or education on the topic. Ask your colleagues what a good business case looks like and in most situations you will struggle to get an answer. 

You are more likely to hear confusion, concerns about governance and a lack of capacity etc. We receive lots of feedback echoing the following: “Too much focus on money and not enough consideration for social ramifications”, “Becomes a bureaucratic tick-box exercise”, “They are more political than factual”, “They are a huge amount of work but no one values them”...

Another problem is that "best practice" guides from the HM Treasury and NHS England are typically long and complicated documents that are almost impossible to implement if you are a busy operational manager or commissioner with a day job.

Bad business cases waste £Ms:

In the world of IT investments, there is a rule of thumb that only around 30% of investments are successful (due to a lack of robust methodology of evaluation, exaggerated benefits and poor stakeholder engagement...). What would your estimation be for failed cases within your organisation?

A core failure point in our experience is the development of cases (that often take months of time and cost tens of thousands of pounds) that should've been stopped within the first week - at the first strategic step / gateway.

A huge amount of our problems associated with workloads, stress, productivity and failure rates improve when we undertake a robust and strategic review of our projects, our capacity and what should or should not be tackled. If everything is important - nothing is. It is really important to get this process right first time.

Please email Anthony.Lawton@ffmi.co.uk or call 07921786777 to arrange an informal conversation for some free advice or to see if we can assist you with additional support.