Man looking up at chalk drawn scales on the wall behind himThis course is designed for professionals who engage with CBAs to assist with the design and evaluation of public programs and policies, and those who require hands-on skills to conduct CBAs.

Social policy, practice and research professionals (including government, NGO and research organisations) who want to develop their understanding of CBA techniques, as well as a working knowledge of its practical application in the decision-making process, incorporating assessments of both monetary and non-monetary costs and benefits should attend this course.

This course focuses on the application of financial and economic principles and analysis to the evaluation of projects with a social focus/orientation, rather than on non-economic project evaluation.

This course is suitable for individuals who require an understanding and working knowledge of CBA, and assumes little or no prior knowledge of CBA techniques. A working proficiency in using Microsoft Excel is advisable.

Next course: Tuesday 27 November to Thursday 29 November 2018 (3 days)


          $1,950 (excl. GST) 
          $1616 (excl. GST) Early Bird discount (book and pay by 26 October 2018 )
          $1560 (excl. GST) Groups (3 or more)
          $1463 (excl. GST) Students

Topics covered: 

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

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

At the end of this short course, participants should be able to:

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

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

Richard’s areas of specialisation include applied cost-benefit analysis, non-market valuation methodologies, and the economics of international migration. He has extensive advisory experience as an applied project and policy analyst for public and private sector organisations in Australia and internationally, including: DFAT/AusAID; CSIRO; various Queensland State Government Departments; Queensland Competition Authority; Brisbane City Council; and private consultancy companies including KPMG and NineSquared.

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

Next course: Tuesday 27 November to Thursday 29 November 2018 (3 days)

Course location: Institute for Social Science Research, Cycad Building, 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly

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