What is the Independent Commission for Aid Impact? Read more
Why was ICAI set up? Read more
What will ICAI do? Read more
What is the structure of ICAI? Read more
What makes ICAI independent? Read more
How will ICAI decide what to report on? Read more
Who will carry out the evaluations, reviews and investigations? Read more
What is Official Development Assistance (ODA)? Read more
How does the Department for International Development (DFID) deliver aid? Read more
Which other government departments spend ODA? Read more
What is the Independent Commission for Aid Impact?
ICAI is the independent body responsible for the scrutiny of UK aid. ICAI focuses on maximising the impact and effectiveness of the UK aid budget for recipients and the delivery of value for money for the UK taxpayer.
With a remit to look at all UK Official Development Assistance (ODA), ICAI scrutinises ODA spend in all government departments.
Led by a Chief Commissioner, Graham Ward CBE, ICAI reports to Parliament through the House of Commons International Development Committee. This ensures both independence and accountability.
ICAI is a unique body that publishes transparent, impartial and objective reports on the effectiveness of UK aid. ICAI ensures that its recommendations lead to change by providing evidence-based feedback into Government decision making. ICAI recommendations play a role in supporting the UK to spend aid on what works best.
ICAI balances value for money with delivery and impact on the ground and the voice of the developing world. It promotes delivery of maximum benefit to recipients in a way that is efficient and effective for the UK taxpayer.
Why was ICAI set up?
“We will honour our aid commitments, but at the same time will ensure much greater transparency and scrutiny of aid spending to deliver value for money for British taxpayers and to maximise the impact of our aid budget” (The Coalition: Our Programme for Government).
The Government commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance (ODA) by 2013 imposes a duty to secure value for money, ensure accountability to the British public and build on what works. The commitment was matched by a commitment to greater transparency and increased scrutiny.
To ensure this, ICAI has been established to scrutinise aid independently.
ICAI was officially launched on 12 May 2011 with the publication of the ICAI work plan at an event in Parliament.
- Publish between 10 and 15 reports per year directly on to our website;
- Report to the International Development Select Committee, as well as account for our own performance;
- Advise the Department for International Development and other government departments on the effectiveness of their expenditure through targeted recommendations and follow-up work; and
- Champion the use of independent evidence, to help the UK to spend aid on what works best.
ICAI operates on the basis of the following core values:
- Independence: undertaking our work without fear or favour and reporting the facts as we find them;
- Professional rigour: using the highest professional standards to gather and evaluate evidence;
- Transparency: placing all reports and supporting analysis and our own records of costs and activities on our website;
- Responsiveness: taking account of public and Parliamentary opinion in selecting our work programme and undertaking our work;
- Innovation: making the most of our new status to experiment with new ways of working, reporting and interacting with our stakeholders; and
- Integrity: ensuring that our own operations are characterised by value for money, high ethical standards, transparency and accountability to Parliament and to the public.
What is the structure of ICAI?
ICAI consists of a board of four Commissioners led by the Chief Commissioner, Graham Ward CBE. ICAI reports to Parliament through the House of Commons International Development Committee.
The Commissioners are supported by a small Secretariat and by a contractor combining scrutiny and development expertise to prepare ICAI reports.
What makes ICAI independent?
ICAI has been set up on an independent basis and does not report to Ministers or officials but instead reports to Parliament through the House of Commons International Development Select Committee (IDC). This ensures both independence and accountability. ICAI is entirely independent from Government in terms of location, staffing and decision-making processes.
ICAI ensures transparency and carries out impartial and objective evaluations, reviews and investigations of UK aid. ICAI publishes clear and concise priority recommendations, which the Government will be expected to act upon.
All reports are published on the ICAI website, accessible to the public and to partners overseas.
ICAI developed its own workplan, in consultation with the International Development Committee, stakeholder groups and the public.
How does ICAI decide what to report on?
ICAI held a consultation to understand which areas of the aid budget stakeholder groups and the public believe the Commission should look at in its first three years.
The consultation ran for 12 weeks from the 14th January to the 7th April 2011. Responses to the consultation fed into the development of the ICAI work plan which can be found here.
Who will carry out the reports on ICAI’s behalf?
ICAI has appointed a contractor to carry out work on its behalf. This work will be led by KPMG in partnership with Agulhas Applied Knowledge, the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) and the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU).
• Agulhas Applied Knowledge – a UK-based development consultancy
• CEGA, the Center for Effective Global Action – a multi-disciplinary research centre based at the University of California, Berkley, which specialises in development evaluations
• SIPU International – a Swedish consultancy and training organisation specialising in capacity building and institutional development in transitional and developing countries, which has expertise in joint donor evaluations and capacity building.
What is Official Development Assistance (ODA)?
Official Development Assistance (ODA) is defined by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as: “Grants and concessional loans for development and welfare purposes from the government sector of a donor country to a developing country or multilateral agency active in development.”
According to the United Nations target established in 1970, each donor country should aim to spend 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) as ODA by 2015. The Government has committed to meeting this target by 2013.
More information on what is included in the ODA definition and how these are used by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) can be found on the DAC’s website here.
How does the Department for International Development (DFID) deliver aid?
The Department for International Development (DFID) is the part of the UK government that manages the majority of Britain’s aid to poor countries.
DFID’s Annual Report states that its overall aim is to reduce poverty in poorer countries, in particular through achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the international targets agreed by the United Nations (UN) to halve world poverty by 2015.
DFID works from two UK headquarters in London and East Kilbride and from offices in 36 countries overseas. DFID works with governments of developing countries as well as charities, businesses and international bodies, including the World Bank, United Nations agencies, regional development banks and the European Commission.
DFID delivers UK aid in many different ways. DFID’s website states that most UK aid from DFID goes to developing countries either directly or through an international body, whichever is judged to achieve the best results.
Statistics on International Development 2006/07-2010/11 (SID) show that the DFID aid programme in 2010/11 was £7,689m, which accounts for 85% of total UK Gross Public expenditure on Development (GPEX). Of this, £4,254m (which accounts for 55% of the DFID aid programme) was bilateral assistance (from DFID to a developing country) and £3,222m was multilateral assistance (aid channelled through international bodies). The remaining £214m was spent on administration.
The main recipients of UK aid channelled through multilateral bodies are:
• the European Commission
• the World Bank
• the United Nations
• the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria.
UK aid is also provided to charities. These include international charities like Oxfam, VSO and Action Aid and charities based in developing countries. SID show that in 2010/11 £329m of bilateral assistance was channelled through UK Civil Society Organisations.
In response to humanitarian crises, UK aid is provided to charities and international bodies or directly to countries affected. SID show that DFID’s bilateral humanitarian assistance in 2010/11 totalled £351m.
DFID state that their ‘work is more than aid’. It also aims to influence other donor governments and organisations to work to reduce poverty.
For further information, please visit the DFID website at www.dfid.gov.uk.
Which other government departments spend ODA?
Approximately 15% of the total UK ODA spend is through other government departments. These include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and smaller programmes administered by departments such as the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Department for Health.
For further information on the amount of spend by other government departments, please see the Statistical Release: Statistics on International Development 2010