1. Options generation and assessment

Step 1 of the Framework provides guidance on setting a clear set of goals and objectives.

Step 2 explains how to identify, assess and prioritise the problems that are preventing these goals and objectives from being achieved.

Step 3 involves generating a broad range of options, assessing the impact of each option on the identified problems and weighing it up against alternatives. The final outcome of this step is to arrive at a preferred option (or package of options) that is supported by a rich set of information about its impacts and merits. This chapter provides guidance on step 3.

Step 3 of the framework can be broken down into two distinct stages; options generation and options assessment. These are depicted in the diagram below.

Figure 1: Step 3 of the Framework Step 3 of the Framework

Box 1 Avoiding the pitfalls

Common pitfalls in options generation and assessment include:

  • Failure to think broadly and consider a wide range of options including reform options
  • ‘Gold plating’ investment options when lower cost solutions exist
  • Failure to consider packaging and sequencing options
  • Overlooking innovative, untested or technology-driven solutions
  • Reluctance to abandon a favoured solution when it fails one of the assessment steps
  • Lack of evidence to support the solution.

An iterative process should be adopted to refine option generation and assessment as the detail and accuracy of data improves across the two stages. Feedback from stakeholders should be incorporated into this iterative process.