Develop skills to understand & conduct CBAs for social projects

This course is designed for professionals who need to engage with CBAs to aid the design & evaluation of public programs & policies, & need hands-on skills to conduct CBAs.

Man looking up at chalk drawn scales on the wall behind him

This course equips participants with an understanding & working knowledge of the skills required to apply Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) to the appraisal & evaluation of projects, policies, programs and regulations with mainly social costs & benefits. The workshop will cover the potential uses & limitations of cost-benefit analysis (CBA), introduce Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis, examine the principles & methods underlying CBA & non-market valuation, & provide hands-on exercises to practice the basic skills required to perform CBAs using Excel.

This course does NOT focus on non-economic project evaluation, but rather on the application of financial & economic principles, & analysis to the evaluation of projects, policies etc. with a social focus.

Topics covered

  • What is CBA? The role in public sector decision-making
  • Economic principles & criteria underlying CBA as distinct from financial analysis
  • Introducing concepts of discounting, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis, Net Present Value (NPV), Benefit/Cost Ratio (BCR) & Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • SROI as a variant of CBA for projects with intangible costs & benefits
  • Using Sensitivity Analysis to allow for uncertainty
  • Step-by-step demonstration of CBA applied to a social project for project appraisal
  • Applying decision rules in CBA using Excel
  • Identifying & valuing costs & benefits in CBA
  • Methods & techniques of non-market valuation & data sources for including intangibles in CBA
  • Assessment of Social Return on Investment (SROI) Analysis & an overview of the Queensland Government’s framework for Social Impact Analysis (SIA)
  • A case study using CBA

Learning objectives

  • Understand the rationale for CBAs, key concepts & economics principles underlying them, & how they can assist the policy & project decision-making process
  • Learn basic processes & methods for undertaking CBA
  • Discuss the need for the valuation & incorporation of non-monetary costs & benefits, including those of a social and/or intangible nature
  • Appreciate SROI as a method to appraise projects with mainly intangible costs & benefits, & Social Impact Analysis (SIA) as prescribed by Queensland Government
  • Understand the limitations of CBAs, including appropriate uses & caveats in interpretation of results
  • Have practical experience using basic CBA processes & methods
  • Demonstrate a basic proficiency in the use of spreadsheet-based CBAs
  • Understand how to apply Sensitivity Analysis & Threshold Analysis techniques using Excel

Who is this course for

Social policy, practice & research professionals, including those from government, NGO & research organisations, who want to develop their understanding & working knowledge of CBA techniques and its application in the decision-making process, including its role in Regulatory Impact Statements. It assumes little or no prior knowledge of economics or CBA. Basic Microsoft Excel proficiency is advisable.

Next course

Tuesday, 26 November - Thursday, 28 November 2019 (3 days)
For Custom & Group courses (10 participants or more) - Email us to discuss

Fees (incl. GST)

$1,778 - Early Bird discount (book & pay by 27 October 2019)
$2,145 - After Early Bird discount expires
$1,716 - Groups (3 or more)
$1,609 - Students
(Fees include course materials, morning & afternoon tea & lunch.)

By registering to attend this course you are agreeing to our terms and conditions.

Associate Professor Richard Brown is a specialist in applied cost-benefit analysis, non-market valuation methodologies, & the economics of international migration. He has extensive advisory experience as an applied project & policy analyst for public & private sector organisations in Australia & internationally, including: the Queensland Office of the Public Guardian on the roll-out of the NDIS; DFAT; CSIRO; various Queensland State Government Departments; NSW Department of Industries; Queensland Competition Authority; Brisbane City Council; & private consultancy companies including KPMG & NineSquared.

Richard has extensive experience designing & conducting training courses & workshops in cost-benefit analysis for governmental & non-governmental agencies, domestically & internationally including government agencies and NGOs in Bahrain, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore & South Africa. Recent training & advisory work also covers agencies engaged specifically in the social sectors, including the Department of Family & Social Services (Qld), Singapore & MiET Africa, an NGO engaged in youth education & health programs in Southern Africa. 

Richard is an Associate Professor in Economics in the Faculty of Business, Economics & Law at the University of Queensland. He has held positions at the Institute of Social Studies, the Netherlands, University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, & visiting positions at the University of Khartoum, Sudan; The Hubert H. Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota; Faculty of Economics & King’s College, Cambridge; the Department of Economics & St Antony’s College, Oxford; Department of Economics, University of Vienna.

UQ's Institute for Social Science Research, Cycad Building, 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Brisbane, Australia

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