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How to request funds for mobile working in community services - business case template

This page contains advice for each section of your requesting funds for mobile working in community services. At the bottom of the page you can download the full business case template. It’s provided as an example only, to help organisations understand the important considerations at the beginning of a typical project.

It contains suggested text that is likely to be applicable in each section plus guidance text to aid with completion.

Organisations are welcome to use and adapt and maintain this document in accordance with their own governance arrangements.

Once the template has been completed, any sections such as this (highlighted in yellow) should be deleted.

Executive summary

Explain what this business case intends to achieve and why it is needed.

The executive summary should give a brief resume of the main elements of the business case. It is typically best and easiest to complete these sections once the remainder of the business case is complete.

This section should include a summary of:

  • organisational scope (that is - which organisations and services the proposed mobile working project covers)
  • the proposition (provide a brief overview of the required investment)
  • why it is needed
  • costs
  • benefits
  • how it will be made affordable
  • major risks
  • commercial considerations
  • proposed next steps

Strategic background

The main outcome of this part of the case should be a set of objectives which in essence define what the proposed project is about. These will be derived from information about the organisation and its needs, and the strategic context it operates in.

Local strategic content

The "Local strategic content" section allows you to present an overview which includes:

  • the organisations and healthcare services covered by the proposed investment
  • the local strategic drivers for the investment (which may be tied to policy outlined above)
  • your existing arrangements – describe the status quo for community services data collection and data use in your organisation, including (if relevant) any existing mobile arrangements. Who are the key stakeholders for this project?

For local strategic drivers consider - What’s driving the change?

Is it increased demand? Or the need to:

  • reduce costs?
  • generate revenue
  • improve staff satisfaction?
  • improve services?
  • improve quality?
  • rationalise estates?

The case for change

You should summarise specific gaps and weaknesses in your existing arrangements. For example:

  • multiple data entry
  • lack of timely clinical data available during patient contacts leading to unnecessary referrals or admissions
  • time consuming administrative processes
  • unnecessary trips back and forth from base to patient contacts

How do your current information systems underpin the areas covered by the proposed investment? How will the mobile investment fit with current arrangements?

Investment objectives

The table in the downloadable template contains example objectives and benefits. You should customise the table to suit your own organisational objectives and the benefits you are targeting.

The investment objectives have been populated with themes rather SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed) objectives. You need to create your own SMART objectives relevant to your investment opportunity.

Scope of the investment

What the mobile working investment will actually include and also what it will specifically exclude. For example, state explicitly the costs for developments that are covered via separate business cases.

You should state clearly whether this business case is seeking approval for delivering the entire mobile working vision (and so includes costs, benefits, risks for the entire mobile solution), or whether instead it seeks sign-up to the entire mobile working vision but only requests approval for deploying a first phase (for example, an initial implementation to a single service) that can be reliably understood, costed and controlled. Supplementary business case(s) would then make the case for later phases of the overall mobile working vision.

This section can also be used to make clear that the scope of the proposed investment covers not just the supply of new IT but also the adoption of associated elements critical to the success of the investment such as revised working practices, training and extra staffing resources. This can then be expanded upon within the Organisational Change And Change Management section of the Management section.

Strategic risks

Include a table of the main risks here. Strategic risks for a mobile working investment might include "Low operational uptake" due to lack of training in the use of the technology or "Lack of financial support for implementation" due to a shortage of investment capital.

Typically this section will be completed once the risk assessment in the Options Assessment section has been completed; strategic risks can be identified and copied straight over.

Constraints and dependencies

A constraint is something that limits the proposed investment in some way, such as

  • funding
  • staffing resources
  • competing initiatives
  • a national target
  • the organisation’s ability to accept change

A dependency is something which the investment depends on in order to be delivered, such as:

  • commissioner and stakeholder support
  • other related project outcomes
  • continuation of existing services
  • availability of external resources - NHS trust resources or actions, suppliers ability to deliver

Option assessment

The outcome of this part of the business case should be a clear and defined preferred option, supported by risk and benefits analysis and meeting the project’s objectives. This is the technical core of the business case, and is where the options analysis is carried out and the preferred option identified.

The work on benefits and risks is carried out here – identification, analysis and, later, management plans. Although technical, this part of the case can also require the widest input from the organisation as options are considered, worked up and evaluated and recommendations made regarding the optimum value for money way forward.

In developing the options, a do-nothing or do-minimum option must be retained. Do-nothing may not, for various reasons, be feasible; in that event, a do-minimum option will act as a baseline. In addition, options may focus also on when to implement and what to do in the meantime (for example, regarding interim solutions).

Larger and more complex investments that pass through the Business Case lifecycle typically require a comprehensive options appraisal involving long listing, short listing and a full analysis of shortlisted options. However, for a medium sized Business Case with an investment of between £100K and £500K the long listing may not be required.

In some cases it could be that there is clearly only one realistic way of meeting the investment objectives, in which case this can be explained, giving the reasons and demonstrating the extent to which the investment objectives and critical success factors are met.

In other situations a small range of potential options exist, in which case these should first be set out and then explored via a value for money appraisal as per a normal Business Case whereby costs, benefits and risks of each option are compared. However, the appraisal should be less complex than with a larger and more contentious investment, and so should take less effort to complete – potentially involving a strategic level appraisal around Investment Objectives and Critical Success factors plus in some cases a qualitative evaluation.

The remainder of this section presents headings and guidance based on the assumption that a relatively simple VFM analysis of a small number of options is required. If instead just a single option is the only viable way forward, then these headings can be ignored and replaced with a simple textual explanation of why the option is the only viable way forward and what the costs, benefits and risks associated with it are.

Options appraisal

An overall point to note is that this stage inevitably requires the use of suitable spreadsheet models, and can be a very complex and time-consuming process. It can be particularly wasteful if the wrong options have been identified and if this only comes to light once a great deal of analysis of the options has been undertaken. For this reason it is vital that all key stakeholders are comfortable with the shortlist identified before this appraisal is commenced.

Assumptions

Set out key assumptions made – such as timescales over which the costs, benefits and risks have been modelled and why these timescales have been used.

Costs

Explain how costs were derived – such as market surveys, discussion with project managers.

Either describe overall costs per option over the duration of the investment or paste in the relevant table from the Excel model.

Benefits

This section should be completed with the aid of the Benefits Calculator Tool for helping to quantify cashable and non cashable benefits. See the mobile investment toolkit for more information and the link to the tool.

An example list of target benefits can be found in the table in section 2.3. The benefits prepopulated in this table are intended as examples, which can either be taken as they are or modified/added to as required. The examples provided have been taken from actual NHS mobile implementation projects that have realised these benefits.

Risks

A relatively simple impact/probability scoring system for risks is acceptable for a medium sized business case (<£500k)

Outcome of options appraisal

In this section, the outcome of the above options appraisal should be presented, with conclusions and the preferred option clearly stated.

Include conclusions around the:

  • case for change (for example, why ‘do nothing’ is not a viable option)
  • strategic fit of preferred option
  • value for money of preferred option
  • benefits of preferred option

The preferred option is then carried forward into Section 4 – Funding and affordability – for more detailed financial analysis.

Funding and affordability

The outcome of this part of the case should be a clear view of whether the project is affordable or not in respect of the preferred option.

If there is a gap, there should be a plan for its coverage supported as needed by a note from relevant commissioners. Commissioner support is also needed where there is heavy reliance on assumed cash-releasing benefits or substantial Cost Improvement Programme targets since commissioners have the right to a say in how any cash released is redistributed.

This section clearly cannot be completed until the preferred option is identified via the Options Assessment, along with its cost/benefit/risk profile. All costs and budget funding must be confirmed with the relevant management accountant(s).

Affordability analysis assumptions

These assumptions need tailoring to each individual business case.

Overall affordability position

Insert a table that summarises the overall costs.

Explicit confirmation that it is affordable should be provided via a statement obtained from the relevant SRO or Director(s) of Finance of organisations that incur costs.

State the sources of funding for the costs, including cash-releasing benefits, any national funding and local funding.

Management arrangements

This section, although a vital part of any successful project, quite deliberately comes at the end of the case structure as it is expected to pick up the management issues in all the previous areas. The outcome should be evidence of a successful and well-managed project. Indicators of this will be:

  • a clear project structure that includes wide-ranging and appropriate clinical and cross organisation input and that identifies named individuals and/or roles where possible
  • identification and provision of the resources necessary to support the project
  • an outline benefits plan, with the necessary headings (such as ownership)
  • an outline risk management plan and register
  • a timetable for the whole project, up to and including post project evaluation

Project organisation

Set out the project organisational structures and details of governance arrangements.

Implementation plan

Insert details, including overall approach and key milestones for the procurement, approvals, management, implementation, post-project evaluation, for example.

Training

Present an outline training programme that explains how and where all relevant staff will be trained, including details of who will develop and deliver the training. Ensure training costs (including any required backfill) have been built into the costs within the Options Assessment and Affordability sections.

Benefits management

Explain the approach to benefits management, in so doing:

  • refer to the specific benefits for the preferred option that emerged from the options assessment
  • set out the broad strategy for realising benefits (including the extraction of cash releasing benefits) and explaining the relationship of this to the organisational change agenda

Organisational change and change management

Insert details of the approach being taken regarding change management, stressing how this will be tackled so as to ensure that benefits are fully realised and disbenefits are minimised.

In so doing it may be useful to stress the importance of changing existing working practices in order to realise the full potential of mobile working, so that in signing up to the business case all stakeholders, including clinicians, are clear about the need to change existing processes and procedures.

Supporting the operational service

Explain arrangements for maintaining an operational service, including details of any new support roles that are required and that have been costed into the options assessment.

Risk management

Detail an outline risk management strategy which should make reference to the risk assessment of the preferred option in the options assessment.

Commercial arrangements

Provide a clear and justified decision on how the proposed investment will be procured/acquired. This should include details of the exact requirements and what procurement route to take. The Commercial Arrangements can also describe the nature of service level agreements and partnerships that are required to make the proposals work, even where a procurement is not envisaged.

Further information

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Last edited: 21 January 2020 1:49 pm