ICT Two Pass Review Process - Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

Process and Timing

Further information

Eligibility

Which proposals does the ICT Two Pass Review process apply to?

Proposals are subject to the ICT Two Pass Review process if they:

  • Are ICT-enabled, that is, the policy or service delivery outcomes are highly dependent on the underpinning ICT system,
  • Have a total (through-life) cost estimated to be $30 million or more, including ICT costs of at least $10 million, and
  • Involve high-risk in terms of cost, technical complexity, workforce capacity or schedule (as determined by Finance).

Government may also apply the process to other proposals where it considers the proposal would benefit from the review.

Department of Defence proposals that are not included in the Defence Capability Plan, but are subject to Cabinet or joint Minister approval, are submitted under the Defence ICT Investment Approval Process (DIIAP). Further information on DIIAP is available from AGIMO.

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Does the ICT Two Pass process apply to internally funded proposals?

Yes, the ICT Two Pass process applies to internally funded proposals that meet the cost and risk thresholds or where the Government believes the proposal would benefit from the review.

Agencies should contact AGIMO as soon as they are aware of a proposal which may meet these thresholds (see “Where do I go for help” section at end of page).

For FMA Act Agencies ICT Two Pass applies to all proposals that meet the cost and risk thresholds – regardless of the funding source.

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Does the ICT Two Pass process still apply if my proposal is coming forward outside the Budget process?

Yes, the ICT Two Pass process applies to all proposals seeking Government approval that meet the ICT Two Pass cost and risk thresholds.

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Does ICT Two Pass apply to Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) bodies proposals?

Yes, the ICT Two Pass process applies where the new policy proposal meets the cost and risk criteria. It also applies to some internally funded proposals – CAC Act bodies should contact AGIMO to determine whether a specific proposal is subject to the ICT Two Pass review process.

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How is the ICT cost of a proposal calculated to determine whether it meets the $10m cost threshold?

The total cost and ICT costs are estimated over the life of the proposal and should include both the expense (operating costs) and capital costs of the proposal. Agencies should take a through‑life costing approach in estimating the cost of capital funding proposals. Future costs would include operational needs, consumables, maintenance, upgrade, renewal and disposal. Agencies should contact AGIMO for further clarification on ICT cost elements.

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What if the total cost of the proposal is estimated to be less than $30m, but includes ICT costs of at least $10m?

An agency, in consultation with Finance, may apply ICT Two Pass to proposals that have a total cost estimated to be less than $30m. Government may apply the process to proposals below the cost and risk criteria where it considers the proposal would benefit from the review.

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Do I need to apply the ICT Two Pass process to my project if it is already underway?

The ICT Two Pass process is not retrospective. If Cabinet granted approval to your proposal before June 2008 then the Two Pass process does not apply. However, if your proposal is brought back to Cabinet, then it may be subject to the Two Pass process.

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Will my proposal need to go through the Budget process as a New Policy Proposal?

The decision process for determining if a proposal needs to go through the Budget process as an NPP is set out in the flowchart below:

NPP Process Decision Path

Flowchart of ICT-Enabled proposal Budget Process - link to text description below

Text description of the NPP Process decision path

NPP Process decision path – PDF Version [PDF Document 170 KB]

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Process and Timing

What are the arrangements for submitting ICT Two Pass business cases?

At first pass, an agency needs to submit:

  • Draft First Pass Business Case; and
  • Final First Pass Business Case.

At second pass, an agency needs to submit:

  • Draft Second Pass Business Case; and
  • Final Second Pass Business Case.

Sponsoring agencies need to submit ICT Two Pass business cases via CABNET to:

Assistant Secretary
Investment Management Branch
Australian Government Information Management Office
Department of Finance and Deregulation

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How does the ICT Two Pass Review process interact with Gateway Review process?

The ICT Two Pass Review process and the Gateway Review process complement each other, but are separate processes with separate purpose. Gateway applies to new projects/programs undertaken by Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) agencies, which require Government approval and which satisfy certain financial and risk thresholds.

The financial thresholds are met where a project/program has:

  • Projects with a total cost estimated to be $30 million or more for procurement or infrastructure or with an estimated total cost of $30 million or more including an ICT component of at least $10 million.
  • Programs valued over $50 million.

If a project/program is assessed by Finance as High Risk (refer to Risk Potential Assessment Tool) the Government may agree to require Gateway reviews at times appropriate to the projects/programs life cycle.

Gateway assessments are for a point in time, and the results form advice direct to the Senior Responsible Official.

In some circumstances during the initial phases of a project/program there is a complementary overlap between Gateway and the ICT Two Pass Processes. For example the Gate 0/Gate 1 or First Stage program reviews can best be scheduled shortly before the first and second pass business case respectively and can provide pragmatic and timely contributions to these.

Further information, including applicable timings, is available on the ICT Two Pass Review page and to Government agencies in Estimates Memoranda available through your CFO unit.

If you have any questions on the Gateway Review process, please send your enquiry to gateway@finance.gov.au.

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When do I talk to AGIMO about emerging ICT investment intentions?

From June to October each year, Finance will request that Agency CIOs provide details of their ICT investment intentions for the following financial year.

Agencies should contact AGIMO as soon as they become aware of an ICT-enabled proposal that may meet the ICT Two Pass criteria.

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How long does the ICT Two Pass process take?

There is no set length for the process – It may depend on a range of factors. The key determinant is the time needed by the agency to develop a business case to the point where it is sound and ready to be considered by Cabinet. Finance will provide support and assistance to agencies in developing business cases for Cabinet consideration. 

Cabinet may also specify the timing for consideration of the Second Pass Business Case in its decision at first pass.

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Do I still inform AGIMO of our ICT investment intentions if my agency’s ICT initiatives are not fully defined?

Yes, you should notify AGIMO as soon as you can, so that advice can be provided to you as early as possible.

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What is the level of detail required for the first pass business case?

The aim of the First Pass Business Case is to provide sufficient information for the Government to decide whether to commission further work on any option or to eliminate some options.

First Pass Business Cases should succinctly describe a number of well considered options, say three to four, with a broad description of the technical scope, a through-life cost estimate, risk assessment and schedules (including a costed and scheduled scope of work needed to develop the Second Pass Business Case), and an assessment of the benefits to be derived from each option.

Where appropriate, the business case should include cooperative initial planning with other agencies.

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What is the time between first pass and second pass consideration?

The effort devoted to developing an ICT business case should reflect the cost, complexity and risk profile of the project. Typically most agencies will take at least six months to prepare a Second Pass Business Case. Depending on the scale of the cost and risk issues, and the resources assigned, this work may take longer. However, agencies can request proposals be brought forward for consideration as soon as they are ready. Agencies must submit a draft Second Pass Business Case for review by Finance prior to seeking Cabinet approval.

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Can I get funding to develop the first and second pass business cases?

Agencies should use existing resources to develop their First Pass Business Case. When seeking first pass approval, agencies may request extra funds for the development of the Second Pass Business Case (such as technical feasibility studies, prototype development and testing). 

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If a proposal is turned down by Cabinet at second pass, can the agency re-submit the second pass proposal at a later Budget, skipping the first pass process?

This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis. The Cabinet Secretary’s decision when considering these matters will depend on the reason and the context for the original second pass proposal being rejected.

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If a proposal receives second pass approval, when will my agency receive the agreed funding for the first year of the proposal?

The timing of funding for your approved proposal will depend on when the Second Pass Business Case is submitted to Government.

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If Cabinet gives approval to an agency for a policy objective, will the agency still need to go through the Two Pass process?

Cabinet may give approval to an agency for a broad policy objective; however the agency will still need to submit a First Pass Business Case to Finance for review, if the proposal meets the ICT Two Pass Review thresholds. The Two Pass process affords Cabinet the opportunity to review delivery options, risks and costs – and to decide which option is best suited to achieve the agreed policy outcomes.

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Where more than one agency is delivering an ICT enabled investment, which agency is responsible for bringing forward First and Second Pass Business Cases?

Where more than one agency is delivering an ICT-enabled investment in support of a proposal eligible for ICT Two Pass Review, the lead agency will be agreed between all agencies involved in the proposal. The lead agency will have responsibility for the New Policy Proposal and bringing forward First and Second Pass Business Cases that combine each agency’s requirements, with particular attention to cross‑agency or cross‑portfolio proposal coordination and governance roles. The decision on which agency should be the lead will consider such matters as Ministerial—especially policy—responsibility, program and project management capability, and the extent of technical and operational contribution.

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Further Information

Where do I go for help?

Government agencies only: Further information on actions required and deadlines, both inside and outside the Budget process are set out in the relevant Estimates Memoranda (EMs). EMs are available from CBMS or from your CFO unit.

Use the ICT Business Case Guide, templates and Costing Spreadsheet to develop your business case.

Contact the ICT Skills, Capability and Investment Branch in AGIMO regarding significant ICT initiatives at the initial formulation stage at ictadvice@finance.gov.au.

Are any companies accredited to provide training on the ICT Two Pass Review process?

There are no companies endorsed or accredited to provide training specifically on the ICT Two Pass Review process. Agencies that require assistance to develop a business case as well as assistance in other areas such as benchmarking, corporate governance, project management and delivery of ICT investments may use the ICT Management Consultants multi use list.

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Contact for information on this page: ictinvestmentframe@finance.gov.au