DFID needs better oversight of other government departments spending ODA

Today the government published its response to the International Development Committee’s “Definition and administration of ODA” inquiry stating that they did not agree with their recommendation the secretary of state’s for International Development should have ultimate responsibility for the oversight of the UK’s ODA.

Since 2015 the government has committed to spending 30% of ODA outside the Department for International Development (DFID) by 2020, and committed all UK government departments to be ranked as ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’ in the international Aid Transparency Index. This year, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office was rated ‘poor’ on its performance in the aid transparency index, coming sixth from the bottom of the list, placing it 40th out of 45 international donors.

Two cross-government funds, the Conflict Stability and Security Fund and the Prosperity Fund, have been criticised for a lack of transparency and shifting the focus of UK aid away from alleviating poverty for the world’s poorest people.

Claire Godfrey, head of policy and campaigns at Bond, the UK network that represents UK international development NGOs, said:

“It’s disappointing that the government has buried its head in the sand in response to such explicit criticisms of aid spent by departments other than DFID, particularly in light of the secretary of state’s previously welcomed assurance that she would ensure aid money “cannot be better spent”. The IDC’s recommendations provided DFID with the perfect opportunity to hold other government departments to account for their spend of UK aid.

Both the Conflict Stability and Security Fund and Prosperity Fund have been criticised for lagging behind DFID’s high standards, using confidentiality as an excuse for a lack of transparency and for poorly targeting the needs of the poor – this cannot be allowed to continue.

The government is accountable to parliament and the UK public on aid spending. Any government department spending UK aid must therefore be accountable to DFID to ensure they are meeting the same standards and working to the same objectives – to alleviate poverty and reach the world’s poorest people. This is the only way to address the British public’s concerns and show that every penny of UK aid cannot be better spent.”


Notes to Editor

  1. The full IDC report can be found here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/international-development-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/administration-of-oda-inquiry/
  2. The UK Government response to the IDC report can be found here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmintdev/1556/155602.htm
  3. Oral evidence for ICAI’s review on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund’s Aid Spending Review can be found here: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/international-development-subcommittee-on-the-work-of-the-independent-commission-for-aid-impact/icais-reivew-on-the-conflict-stability-and-security-funds-aid-spending/oral/85827.pdf
  4. Publish What You Fund 2018 Aid Transparency Index: http://www.publishwhatyoufund.org/reports/2018-Aid-Transparency-Index.pdf
  5. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 450 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  6. For further information please contact Maryam Mohsin, [email protected] or 07555 336029