Today (20 February), the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) published a review into how well the Department for International Development spends money.
Its findings were broadly positive, saying DFID is a “global champion” when it came to value for money, and it was helping to make UK aid spending go further.
DFID welcomes the report and the suggestions it makes. It is considering these recommendations carefully, particularly as strengthening the Department’s value for money is a priority for the International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.
Some of the criticisms made by media, including the allegation in The Express of a “failure to monitor value for money of [the aid] budget” do not reflect the overall contents, conclusions or spirit of ICAI’s report.
ICAI’s report concludes by describing positive improvements in DFID’s efforts to drive value for money in all of its work. It notes:
- DFID has pioneered steps to drive better value for money in the international aid system, going further than other donors in building value for money into its programmes and encouraging others to do the same.
- The department has set up performance agreements with UN agencies, which will link up to 30% of the UK’s contribution to these agencies to specific improvements and reforms in key areas. Funding will only be released when pre-agreed targets are met. DFID has initiated performance agreements with 24 multilateral agencies in total, including the Global Fund and the World Health Organisation.
- Value for money has been “thoroughly integrated into programme management” at DFID, and staff have taken responsibility for ensuring they are getting maximum value from our programmes.
DFID plans to save almost £500 million in efficiency savings by 2019/20, higher than the target set in the 2015 Spending Review. We are on track to meet these savings.
This is the full statement from DFID on the report:
This report rightly recognises that DFID is a global champion in achieving value for money and is leading the rest of the world in pushing vital reforms through the international aid system to help the poorest people and ensure UK aid cannot be better spent.
ICAI itself says that DFID’s diligence in driving value for money is improving the return on UK investment in aid, highlighting our efforts to ensure every single penny goes further to save lives and creates a safer, healthier and more prosperous world – which is in all our interests.
We are continuing to hold aid organisations to account by tying funding to performance, closing programmes which fail to meet development objectives, and increasing efficiency savings.