Better Business Cases™ is a systematic and objective approach to all stages of the business case development process that sits alongside, and complements, the UK Government HM Treasury’s Green Book guidance.

The course and examination are based on The Five Case Model, the UK government’s best practice approach to planning spending proposals and enabling effective business decisions. This provides a step-by-step guide to developing a business case, by:

  • Establishing a clear need for intervention - a case for change
  • Setting clear objectives - what you want to achieve from the investment
  • Considering a wide range of potential solutions - ensuring an optimal balance of benefits, cost and risk
  • Putting the arrangements in place to successfully deliver the proposal

Exam Structure

Foundation Level

The purpose of the foundation certification is to confirm that you have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the guidance to be able to work effectively with, or as a member of, a team to develop a business case using The Five Case Model.

Exam Format

  • Multiple Choice
  • 50 questions
  • 25 marks or more required to pass (out of 50 available) - 50% 
  • 40 minutes duration 
  • Closed book

Practitioner Level

The purpose of the Practitioner qualification is to confirm whether you have achieved sufficient understanding of the theory and application of The Five Case Model to allow them to effectively develop and produce a business case. A successful Practitioner candidate should be able to start applying the model to a real project.

Exam Format

  • Objective testing
  • 4 questions per paper, with 20 marks available per question
  • 40 marks or more required to pass (out of 80 available) - 50%
  • 2 ½ hours duration
  • Open book exam (Delivering Public Value from Spending Proposals: Green Book Guidance on Public Sector Business Cases Using the Five Case Model only)

The course is relevant to those responsible for developing and producing spending proposals or their assessment and approval; in particular:

  • Accounting officers and budget owners - responsible for delivering public value or improved shareholder value;
  • Senior Responsible Owners (SROs), programme directors and project managers, responsible for successful delivery;
  • Directors of finance, procurement and planning, responsible for the forward planning and prioritisation of spending proposals;
  • Members of approvals and management boards with responsibility for scrutinising or approving spending proposals.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the philosophy and underlying rationale of The Five Case Model, as well as the structure and key terminology of the model
  • Explain the different types of business cases, their purpose, who is responsible for them and when they are required in the development of a spending proposal
  • Comprehend the development of the business case in relation to other recognised and recommended best practice for programme and project management
  • Make sense of the approaches to implementation and the factors to consider in sustaining progress
  • Be well prepared to sit the exams

There is some pre-course work for this course which includes reading the Five Case Model guidance document. Our advice is to do as much pre-work as possible (around 5 hours of study time), to give you the best chance of success. All of the information will be sent out prior to the course and it is essential that delegates complete this pre-course activity.

Recommended Reading

The Five Case Model is available to download free of charge from the APMG website.

The Terms and Concepts Relating to The Five Case Model

How the following areas are developed; the steps and the responsibilities involved

  • Strategic case – is it applicable? 
  • Economic case – is it appropriate? 

The terms and concepts of the following

  • Commercial case – is it attractive?
  • Financial case – is it affordable?
  • Management case – is it achievable? 

Purpose of the key stages in the development and delivery of a spending proposal

Purpose of the following and in what circumstances it should be considered

  • Programme business case
  • Business justification case

Purpose of the following 

  • Strategic outline case
  • Outline business case
  • Full business case

Responsibilities for the business planning process 

Relationship with best practice programme and project management methodologies

Relationship between policies, strategies, programmes and projects and their deliverables


This course is accredited by the APMG.