Case Study: Cornwall Business Cases
Challenges faced by the client:
In November 2019 the Government announced that Penzance, St Ives, Camborne and Truro had been selected to bid for Town Deal Funding, a programme aimed at transforming towns and supporting the recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic. Cornwall Council was successful in its bid for the Towns Fund. Four towns in Cornwall were successful:
· St Ives
The Council required a partner to support 24 projects across the four towns to develop business cases as part of the Town Deal funding programme. The Council had a stretching deadline to complete the 24 business cases.
The Council required that the Business Cases align with the HM Treasury Green Book 5 case model, so MV offered support across all case areas, as well as cross-cutting subjects like risk and sustainability.
MV’s expert team quickly mobilised to support the 24 projects. We began by undertaking diagnostic assessments of each of the projects to ensure we had a comprehensive understanding of each of the projects, and the capabilities of the various project teams.
Using this assessment, we planned our support. We worked with the 24 projects to help them craft Green Book-compliant business cases. Our support was varied based on the needs of the projects, from light touch critical friend support to more hands-on drafting of business cases and ‘holding the pen’ in certain situations.
We offered detailed financial and economic modelling advice and support, developed to comply with Green Book guidance. Quantified risk assessment and optimism bias was assessed, with percentages based on national research, stage of development, local experience and underpinned by professional guidance. We included sensitivity analysis within the BRC section, to demonstrate how much additional optimism bias could be included whilst retaining an accepted BCR level. Economic benefits were based upon local expected outputs and converted to financial outputs through established government-approved models.
We also ran theory of change workshops for each of the 24 business cases. The theory of change is a key supporting document for the Green Book business case and provides a ‘golden thread’ linking the strategic rationale for undertaking the project (the strategic case) with the intended outputs and outcomes (expressed in quantitative terms in the economic case).
MV supported 25 projects to complete business cases on time and within budget. All 25 business cases were developed between October '21 and March '22 and provided coaching support throughout the project and led the development of certain cases. In particular, we developed an economic model and held the pen on the economic case for each of the business cases. MV received excellent feedback both from the project teams and the Council for our role on the project.