6. Finalisation of the program

Developing a forward program is usually an iterative process. The scope and timing of initiatives may be adjusted several times before there is agreement on a final program that is affordable within available funding.

An initiative will be added to the program once funded. Its scope, timing and cost is then progressively refined to a high degree of confidence. This refinement requires development of the initiative to move through the concept, planning, design and implementation stages (involving some overlap of phases). At each stage of the development of an initiative, there may be a re-assessment of priorities and financial commitments, including scope, cost and benefits.

Risk assessment is an essential component of program development. It is important not to overlook an agency’s and local contracting industry’s capacity to deliver if a number of large initiatives are funded over a short period, in a single marketplace. Are there likely to be any cost increases or time delays arising from a lack of competition due to the amount of work on offer if all of these initiatives are funded?

The draft program will involve considerable liaison with Treasury Departments and other central agencies, and will usually require ministerial approval before it is finalised. The final program may be tabled in parliament. Consultation with key stakeholders may be required so that people understand priorities across proposed initiatives and the rationale underlying those priorities.

As a final step in the program development process, a final reasonableness test should be applied to ensure the initiatives chosen for funding are consistent with government transport policies, strategies and objectives. This should have been done in Step 4 in the development of the business case for each initiative, but a final check is recommended to complete the process.