A 1½ day workshop for people who need to prepare business cases, need more practice, or whose track record at having business cases approved is not all they would like. It helps delegates to gather the evidence and identify the impacts which contribute to a compelling business case; and explores alternative sources of funding.
This workshop uses BBC's "Dragon's Den" to set the mood (permission to use the material kindly given by Evan Davies in 2006), and bases the structure of the presentation of a business case, and the committees and ramificatons of NHS finance, on research involving tens of NHS Trusts and HFMA and Alyson Poynton's annual updates on Finance in the NHS. I've compared it to the situation in Local Authority and the course requires few changes to make it appropriate, for providers keen to apply to local authority (eg Social services, education) for funding for their schemes.
There are a few fundamental concepts which need to be understood when preparing a business case
evidence - commissioners of statutory services have more services and innovation to allocate resources than they have resources, so any new or existing service is in competition. Assembling factual evidence of the difference your service can and will make, in terms of quality outcomes (clinical outcomes in NHS terms, including quality of life), patient and staff experience, capacity and capability building, and value for money, will strengthen your position relative to a service which cannot demonstrate it makes a difference (and potentially doesn't know but relies on anecdote)
engagement - the more stakeholders, including service users, staff, and other organisations you can involve, the more likely you are to have a good solution which meets the real needs and is workable in practice. Also if you go to a commissioner or development grant body with a proposal worked up by a range of stakeholders, they will have some confidence that people won't oppose it if they select it
relevance and timing - often the committees and decision process works around an annual cycle, where for example Long-Term Conditions may be discussed in an April meeting, and Care in Hospital may be discussed in December. You need to understand which committee or subcommittee will welcome your proposal and when (there's a saying "the secret of good comedy is in the timing")
sponsor - all of the above can be substantially assisted through a good sponsor. Hopefully this sponsor will also engage with the members of the commissioning or grant-awarding panel, and understand what key words they are looking for, their priorities, the right format for presentation, and when to withdraw a proposal and not waste further effort. Many decisions are made before the meeting, in reality
This course can be delivered as two days between 2 weeks and 6 weeks apart, and is suitable for clinicians, professionals and managers new to developing business cases. Experienced delivery managers will probably not learn anything new.