Multi-Criteria Analysis Manual

01 December 2000
By Michael Spackman with John Dodgson, Leeds University Business School Professor Alan Pearman, and London School of Economics Visiting Professor of Operational Research Dr. Lawrence Phillips

This manual provides guidance for Government officials and other practitioners on how to undertake and make the best use of multi-criteria analysis (MCA) for the appraisal of options for policy and other decisions, including but not limited to those having implications for the environment. It covers a range of techniques which can be of practical value to public decision makers and are increasingly being used in the UK and in other countries. They are described in this manual as multi-criteria analysis (MCA) techniques.

Multi-criteria analysis helps practitioners who need to compare options which feature impacts measured in different units and involve trying to 'add apples and pears'. MCA techniques don't require monetary values in appraisal and can therefore be used more flexibly than cost benefit analysis.

The manual gives practical help on applying MCA using a performance matrix approach and a linear additive MCDA model of weighting and scoring. It is illustrated with several UK public sector case studies.

This report was primarily prepared by the NERA team consisting of John Dodgson, Michael Spackman, Professor Alan Pearman, and Professor Larry Phillips. It includes contributions from external referees and Martin Brader of ICL and from Andrew Gibbons, Emma Campbell and others in DETR.