Last edited 20 May 2021

Green book

'The Green Book: Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government' is produced by HM Treasury. It provides a structure for the appraisal of proposed central government projects, policies and programmes, and for the evaluation of existing projects, policies and programmes. The Green Book is supported by a range of supplementary guidance.

The Green book is intended to cover the following activities:

The Green Book sets out transparent and consistent procedures for assessment and evaluation to ensure that public funds are spent efficiently and are spent on proposals that will be of the greatest benefit to society.

Broadly, the stages of development of a project, programme or policy are described as:

  • Justify action.
  • Set objectives.
  • Appraise options.
  • Develop and implement the solution.
  • Evaluate.

Assessment is the process of deciding whether the proposal should go ahead or not, and which option to pursue. Assessment should includes economic, financial, social and environmental impacts and includes the following overall processes:

  • Identify alternative approaches.
  • Attach monetary values to impacts.
  • Carry out cost/benefit analysis of options.

The Green Book suggests that the issues that should be considered as part of an assessment might include:

The 2020 Budget included an announcement that the Green Book would be reviewed. The Green Book was subsequently updated to end the dominance of benefit cost ratio in appraisals.

The Green Book 2020 replaces the 2018 edition and is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/938046/The_Green_Book_2020.pdf

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