Digital appraisal manual for Scotland: guidance

Guidance to help embed best practice appraisal and evaluation within policy making relating to digital projects.

Presentation of results

The results of the appraisal exercise should be presented in a DAMS report. The aim of the DAMS report is to provide a concise summary of the work undertaken and to demonstrate that the DAMS guidance has been followed.

DAMS report

The structure of a DAMS report should contain the following elements:

  • introduction
  • executive summary
  • rationale
  • objectives
  • option generation
  • benefits
  • cost to government
  • risk and uncertainty
  • option summary table
  • monitoring plan
  • evaluation plan
  • conclusions

This report should make sense to non-technical audiences and should set out clearly the options considered and the associated costs, benefits and recommendations. All information contained in the report should be easy to read and present information in a logical manner, using diagrams and other illustrations where appropriate and useful. A supplementary technical note should also be developed to explain the technical assumptions and calculations used in any cost-benefit analysis.

Whilst the report should be concise, the size of the report will be determined by the complexity of the planning exercise undertaken. The elements of the above structure are relevant for all stages of business case development outlined in Proportionate and comprehensive appraisal, though the depth will vary depending on the stage.

Outlining risks and uncertainty is important as it considers different scenarios which may impact the realisation of benefits or alter the cost of the project. Changes in either side of the benefit-to-cost ratio can lead a viable project becoming unviable. One common method of accounting for risk and uncertainty is “sensitivity analysis”. For example, if the impact of fast broadband depends on take-up by households, then sensitivity analysis can help determine the impacts of differing take-up rates. Accounting for risk and uncertainty provides extra robustness to benefit-to-cost ratios in the case of uncontrollable external factors. More detail on different methods accounting for risk and uncertainty can be found in the Green Book technical guidance. 


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