Electronic approval of business cases

Innovation E3

Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

East of England, Mental Health

A fantastic innovation as this is something many trusts struggle with.

Peer Reviewer

Digital approvals are a big win addressing the need to improve business case flow and visibility.

Peer Reviewer

The use of a mobile app for authorisation is definitely a positive.

Peer Reviewer

The Problem

The manual business case sign-off process does not allow users or management visibility of how many cases are currently in the system or where they are in the process of sign-off. With increasing hybrid working there is no effective way to flow the cases to those required to approve them and there is no simple process to inform departments when cases are approved. Business cases are not being approved and mobilised quick enough and there is no mechanism to set and monitor timeframes from submission to approval/ rejection.

The Challenge

  • How might we improve the manual business case process so that there is an easy way to track how many business cases there are and where they are in the system?
  • How might we improve the quality of the business cases so that the executive team can allocate resources effectively to schemes that deliver real quality improvements?

The Outputs

The ‘tangible’ products that came from our innovations were:

  • a formal electronic process for tracking and approving business cases
  • a user-friendly dashboard to clearly identify where the business case is at in the process
  • a formal process map and timeframe signed up to be the executive team
  • a robust business case template with helpful guidance at each section
  • an ‘example business case’ to refer to when completing the template
  • enhanced business case training documentation.

The Outcomes

The benefits to the organisation experienced as a result of the innovation were:

  • faster approval of business cases
  • greater awareness and oversight as an organisation of what services are requesting and what we are investing in
  • quicker mobilisation of funding to frontline services
  • improved quality of business cases submitted
  • greater engagement between frontline services and corporate departments at the outset of the proposal leading to better strategic planning and faster mobilisation.