Ideas to Action:

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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Flowchart showing an overview of the policy cycle, and where ICAI fits in and can influence decisions.

Results vs. Claims: Strengthening the UK’s Aid Watchdog

ICAI has just entered its third four-year phase. ICAI is a major asset in ensuring aid is well-spent. Having reviewed ICAI’s prior work, we think ICAI could should focus more on “results claims”—that is, whether the estimates of expected benefits that underpin decision-making by Ministers are well-evidenced.

ICAI grades for spending directly evaluated (Depts reviewed and >1% UK aid)

How Effective Is UK Aid? Assessing the Last 8 Years of Spending

In our new policy paper, we take advantage of the fact that the impact of UK aid is independently assessed by the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI). Looking back over 8 years and 65 graded assessments, even with a focus on riskier projects, we find that almost 80 percent of UK aid assessed was well spent. With a spending review on the horizon, HM Treasury will be looking closely at departmental performance and should use ICAI’s findings to shape their allocations. 

timeline of UK departments for development

Should the UK’s Development Department be Merged with Foreign Affairs and Trade?

Rumours have re-surfaced—perhaps as a result of Treasury kite-flying—that  the Government is considering merging its international-facing Departments as part of the coming spending review. We’ve argued in the past that the best approach to development policy is through an integrated approach to aid, trade and foreign policy. But merging DFID into the FCO at this time would be likely to diminish the UK’s global influence, damage its development effectiveness, and work against the idea of Global Britain.

2018 Aid Transparency Index

UK Aid: Which Departments are Missing Their Transparency Target?

The UK’s 2015 National Aid Strategy committed all departments to be “Very Good” or “Good” on Publish What You Fund’s Aid Transparency Index (“the Index”). We look at a leading indicator of transparency and conclude that, beyond DFID, progress has been almost non-existent. With a spending review to set budgets to 2022 expected next year, departments should take the last chance to step-up their performance and HM Treasury should not renew their spending if they don’t.

What Does UK Law Say on Aid?: How New Development Secretary Mordaunt Can Meet her Aid Effectiveness Pledge

The new UK Secretary of State for International Development has committed to “find new ways to help other departments make their spend more effective” as one of her five pledges for UK aid. Here we look at why the law underpinning the UK’s aid expenditure is weaker on poverty and gender equality outside of the Department for International Development (DFID) and identify four things the government should do to improve aid effectiveness.

Truth to Power: Five Things Officials Might Not Tell You about the UK and Global Development

Penny Mordaunt has been confirmed as the UK’s new Secretary of State for Development. Coming fresh to an agenda can be a major asset, but it can be hard to pick out the things that really matter. As civil servants dust off their detailed briefs, we try to stand back and identify five points that we think are important to understand about the UK’s role in global development on Day 1 in the job.