Skip to main content

WMCA Single Assurance Framework - Feb 2024


Transport Projects

For the CRSTS programme (and other transport led projects, regardless of funding streams) there is a requirement that an Annual Programme Business Case be developed and reviewed and updated annually. The Programme Business Case will be subject to the SAF process. Most schemes will also require a standalone Transport Analysis Guidance (TAG) business case to be developed. This business case will be used to complete the appropriate Board templates or additional documentation checklists.

The Programme Assurance and Appraisal Team will apply a flexible and proportionate approach, to its activities for transport business cases to retain the benefits of local assurance in terms of speed of decision making, where appropriate.

To ensure that the scope of the business case meets the requirements of relevant funding streams, those involving Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) will ensure that project business cases will be developed in accordance with DfT requirements and that those projects are managed in delivery to the same standards.

The Programme Assurance and Appraisal Team will independently assure and appraise the projects at development and during delivery through either change control or health checks to ensure that the project meets strategic and funding requirements (refer to 4.1.2.)

The Business Case will be clearly articulate how the project/programme will be monitored and evaluated, in collaboration with the national evaluator as part of the development of the national Monitoring and Evaluation framework.

To provide the additional context and evidence required for approval, updated plans, strategies and documents and responses to key questions within the Transport Additional Appendix across the five-case model will also be submitted with the business case. This appendix provides as a ‘checklist’ of information which should be provided either with the TAG business case or as separate documents.

It is expected that a transport project will usually have both a TAG business case and a WMCA Board-friendly summary document, plus the required supplementary appendices. With the Transport Additional Appendix, there is a table showing the questions completed at each stage of the business case cycle. This does not preclude early completion if the information is available. Information entered in previous stages should be retained and updated where necessary.

Housing Projects

For the Housing, Property and Regeneration Investment Programme (and other Housing, Property and Regeneration led projects) regardless of funding streams will be subject to the SAF. The programmes and projects for funding streams awarded pre-2023 will be required to develop an Annual Programme Business Case. The Programme Business will be updated to include new funding streams where the proposed outcomes and delivery mechanisms are aligned. If a separate Programme (or other) Business Case is considered more appropriate, this will be subject to the same assurance arrangements. Individual projects aligned to a Programme Business Case will be required to produce a Business Case, which will also follow the SAF.

Individual Housing, Property and Regeneration projects will also be subject to the Single Commissioning Framework. Expressions of Interest will be assessed by housing and development internal experts, external advisers and legal and finance business partners to ensure they meet key WMCA priorities and suitability criteria, before being invited to submit an application. Applications are also subject to scrutiny by the same team, to ensure that the project meets funding and strategic requirements, including a Red Book valuation, development appraisal and other supporting studies, for example, cost assessment, remediation studies.

Adult Education Budget Programme

An overarching Skills Programme Business Case has been developed which provides a framework and overview of the Programme including the following confirmed funding received.

  • Adult Education Budget (AEB)
  • National Skills Fund ‘Free Courses for Jobs’
  • National Skills Fund ‘Technical Bootcamp’
  • Multiply
  • UK Shared Prosperity Fund


This Programme Business Case confirms the Economy and Skills Directorate’s objectives for the next five years and will support future planned funding and unknown funding opportunities which the West Midlands Combined Authority receives. Any activity/projects/opportunities arising from this funding will be articulated in business cases that will evidence how they will contribute to the overarching Programme’s objectives (and conditions of DfE funding).

All business cases developed by the Directorate are subject to existing SAF processes.

This programme of activity is closely monitored and managed and is subject to an annual audit process and reporting.

Monitoring and Evaluation arrangements are implemented to manage performance with outputs reported regularly at the monthly Delegated Sign Off (DSO) meeting. This is attended by Executive Director of Skills, Health and Communities, the S151 Officer, Director of Law and Governance and the Head of Programme Assurance and Appraisal. Should performance be considered to fall below what has been planned and agreed, corrective action will be taken, including the option of undertaking an Assurance ‘Health Check.’

Health Check Format and Approach

The Programme Assurance and Appraisal Team implement an annual ‘Health Check’ Plan across WMCA. The Projects and Programmes that form part of this annual plan are determined through an ongoing assessment of risk and performance.

The purpose of the Health Check is to give confidence to senior managers and decision-makers on a project or programme’s performance and ability to achieve its objectives/positive outcomes. It will help drive continuous improvement and focus on key lines of enquiry around the following categories:

  • Client and Scope
  • Organisational Capability & Culture
  • Stakeholder Engagement & Communication
  • Risk Management
  • Planning & Scheduling
  • Health & Safety, Social Responsibility, Sustainability
  • Governance
  • Supply Chain
  • Solution
  • Finance
  • Performance

Oversight of Recommendations

The findings and recommendations following a Health Check will be detailed within an Assurance Observations Report for consideration and agreement by the Quality Manager and Delivery Manager (Operations) and submitted to the DSO Meeting to ensure progress towards any improvement recommendations is monitored and reported.


Dates and timings of health checks will be agreed with the AEB Lead/representative and the Programme Assurance Specialist as part of the process. It is expected that the health check will take approximately two weeks to complete.

Project Initiation Document

The PID is a high-level planning document that will be completed and approved during the Initiation Stage to gather outline information which validates the strategic fit of the intended intervention such as alignment to WMCA Objectives and Aims, potential risks and target benefits. The document will also be used to agree the Business Case development route and provide assurance that key stakeholders at the WMCA have been sighted on the proposal from the outset (Finance, Legal, Procurement and Executive Director).

Business Justification Case (BJC)

The BJC is a single stage business case that is available for schemes that require less development. To use a BJC, projects must not be novel or contentious so options analysis is reduced, where firm fixed prices are available, they should be evidenced from historical delivery. A specific procurement phase is not required as pre-competed procurement arrangement can be utilised.

Programme Business Case (PBC)

The PBC is produced when a strategically linked series of projects requires authorisation to progress. A programme is a series of planned measures, related events and co-ordinated activity in pursuit of an organisations long term goals. The PBC will outline the programme projects dossier including the indicative timeline, costs and the overarching management strategies.

Project Case (PC)

The PC is produced for projects seeking lower level of spend and follow on from a previously approved Programme Business Case. There should be clear alignment to the PBC within the Project Case in terms of how the outputs contribute to the Programme benefits and outcomes.

Strategic Outline Case (SOC)

The SOC or the Strategic Outline Business Case provides the strategic rationale for the intervention and identifies the critical success factors. The preferred option is derived via an options analysis to demonstrate how optimum VFM and social value will be achieved. Stakeholders will understand the robustness of the proposal and the future direction of travel including an updated whole life cost estimation.

Outline Business Case (OBC)

The OBC determines VFM and prepares for the potential procurement by ascertaining affordability, the procurement proposal and funding requirement. At the conclusion of the OBC stage consent should be able to be established for the procurement phase of the project to go ahead or not.

Full Business Case (FBC)

The FBC enables the procurement of the VFM solution, contracting the appropriate deal and planning for successful delivery. At the conclusion of the FBC all dimensions of the five-case model will have been completed and be fully matured including a finalisation of all management arrangements. Key to this is firm fixed and accurate costs, Monitoring & Evaluation arrangements and delivery capability.