What Could the UK’s Future Development Structure Look Like?

How can the UK (re)organise its development work to optimally address the challenges of a vastly changed development and geopolitical landscape? Noting that the (de facto) objectives of development policy ultimately determine how and why alternative arrangements are adopted, we assess the strengths and weaknesses of four main organisational models and examine their trade-offs in the UK context. We discuss how the choice of objectives informs the choice of institutional form, and how the UK’s own arrangements have evolved with its objectives; and consider how policy coherence, expertise, the experience of partner countries and accountability vary with different models. Since there is no inherently superior option, the choice of institutional structure depends on specific trade-offs that are most palatable to UK policymakers. We conclude by outlining five key design features for any new arrangements: the clarity of its objectives; the predictability and stability of its funding; the strategic coherence it achieves across government; its ability to retain and develop a wide range of capabilities (both in personnel and modes of action) and its administrative and legal basis.

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