Penny Mordaunt

The ICAI found there were concerns over eight of the 24 case studies it considered

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) found that there were concerns over eight of the 24 case studies it considered.

The report also raised a series of concerns over Dfid’s failure to develop methods of assessing value for money across different target groups.

It also flagged up problems between a lack of coordination between centrally managed programmes and portfolios based in countries where billions of pounds of taxpayers money is being spent.

Senior Tory backbencher Philip Davies said: “This is yet another damning indictment of our overseas aid programme.

“This is what happens when you guarantee a certain amount of money is spent every year, it means money is spent on programmes which are not good value.”

Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt replaced Priti Patel as the Secretary of State for International Development

This is what happens when you guarantee a certain amount of money is spent every year, it means money is spent on programmes which are not good value

Philip Davies

He went on: “No self respecting Conservative believes that success should be measured on how much you spend but the quality of what you spend money on.

“Unfortunately, our overseas aid budget is falling further and further into disrepute.”

The ICIA report has come at a bad time for international aid spending after public confidence in the programmes has been hit following allegations that workers from Oxfam and other agencies have been sexually abusing victims of tragedies while organising programmes paid for by the British taxpayer in Haiti, Chad and other countries.

There had already been question marks over spending in the last two years with revelations that cash had gone on an Ethiopian version of the Spice Girls and been used to build luxury five star hotels.

The ICAI report did not look into any of these cases, but highlighted some concerns over £31 million that has been poured into “birth control” in Uganda.

Theresa May

The report also raised concerns over Dfid's failure to develop methods of assessing value for money

It noted that “more could be done to integrate value for money considerations into the design” of the project.

The report said: “In eight of our 24 programmes, we found that value for money indicators identified in business cases were not being monitored as planned.

“Lack of data can result in superficial analyses, and at times assessments appear to have been written in order to make a case for proceeding, rather than to test whether value for money is really being achieved.”

In its summary is also noted: “The Department for International Development (Dfid) has yet to develop methods for assessing value for money across different target groups, to inform operational decision-making.

“It could also do more to take account of the sustainability of its results, giving it a longer-term perspective on value for money.

“It said that there had been few examples in the 24 programmes looked at where the department had experimented with different combinations of outputs to see which proved most cost-effective.”

More concerningly, the report highlighted that it is “in the management of country portfolios that we find the most significant gaps in DFID’s value for money approach.”

It also suggested that Dfid needed a “more ambitious value for money agenda... to deliver transformative change in its partner countries.”

It added: “The lack of coordination between centrally managed programmes and country portfolios has been a cause of concern, but a new generation of centrally managed programmes are better designed to be complementary.”

A spokesman for Dfid pointed out that the report recognised that the department has been “a global champion” for value for money in the aid sector and “leading the rest of the world in pushing vital reforms through the international aid system.”

He said: "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.”

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