Minutes of the 65th Board Meeting of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact
Tamsyn Barton (Chief Commissioner and Chair)
Hugh Bayley (Commissioner)
Tarek Rouchdy (Commissioner)
Ekpe Attah (Secretariat)
Faith Cowling (Secretariat)
Gemma Roberts-Kinnear (Secretariat)
Goknur Ozer (Secretariat)
Leo Ehrnrooth (Secretariat)
Lauren Pett (Agulhas item 6)
Mats Härsmar (EBA item 3)
Nigel Thornton (Agulhas item 6)
Pauline Worthington (Secretariat)
- Commissioners discussed the outstanding action about an outreach event for Parliamentarians.
- The minutes and actions from the December 2021 ICAI Board Meeting were agreed.
Action 1: Acting Head of Engagement to organise an outreach event for Parliamentarians
Action 2: Acting Head of Engagement to look into the possibility of a meeting with the new chair of the IDC sub-Committee
- The Secretariat advised that final 2021-22 outturn figures had not yet been received but that ICAI was forecasting a full £2.8million spend of the programme budget and an underspend on admin/FLD arising from vacancies in the secretariat and limited overseas travel.
- The Head of Secretariat had submitted a note to FCDO requesting programme budget for the remainder of the phase (April 2022 – June 2023) but not yet received a reply.
- The Secretariat updated Commissioners on positive progress with the revised Framework Agreement.
- The Secretariat updated Commissioners on the planning for transition to ICAI Phase 4 and the meeting scheduled on 5th April with FCDO to discuss delivery models and timelines.
- The Head of Secretariat updated Commissioners on the successful recruitment of a Head of Reviews and Head of Engagement and recent approval to advertise the Review Manager vacancy externally. The Head of Secretariat was continuing to investigate interim resource for these roles.
- Commissioners discussed the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and noted that two MPs were engaging with our research into ICAI’s impact.
Action 3: Head of Secretariat to share the draft revised Framework Agreement with the part time Commissioners for comments before sign-off
Action 4: Secretariat to advise Sir Hugh Bayley when the engagement with MPs in relation to ICAI’s impact work and KPIs is complete
- Commissioners noted there had been one FOI request in March relating to payments to charities and third sector organisations. ICAI had responded that ICAI did not hold any information in scope of the request as no payments had been in made.
Corporate Risk Register
- Commissioners discussed the Corporate Risk Register, noting that the highest risk was currently around machinery of government changes. Discussion focussed on risks around recruitment and retention of staff and the scoring of risks generally.
Action 5: Secretariat to review risk 4 relating to recruitment and retention of staff to ensure all risks and mitigations are captured
- There had been no Subject Access Requests in the last quarter.
There had been no instances of non-compliance with ICAI safeguarding standards in the last quarter.
- Mats Härsmar from the Swedish Expert Group for Aid Studies provided an overview of the structure, organisation and working methods of this aid oversight organisation. Discussions with the board included issues around the delivery model, the choice of topics for review, relevance of development expertise in the Board, the author’s ownership of the product, cost and dissemination of reports and sharing learning.
- It was agreed ICAI and EBA should remain in contact and continue to exchange best practice.
Action 6: Secretariat to maintain contact with Mats Härsmar and the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) Sweden
- The Head of Secretariat advised Commissioners that the assurance review team looking at ICAI’s transition to Phase 4 had completed interviews with both ICAI and FCDO and we expect the first draft of the assurance review by 8th April.
- The Acting Head of Engagement updated Commissioners on current activity, the success of the recent Climate Smart ODA stakeholder engagement event, diary challenges in scheduling IDC sub-committee hearings with Ministers in attendance and the outcome of the review of the KPI relating to key message penetration.
Action 7: Acting Head of Engagement to investigate scheduling IDC hearings on the same day as FCDO questions
- The Acting Head of Reviews updated Commissioners on the progress of current reviews, the success of the recent Tanzania country visit and the planned country visits over the summer period.
- Commissioners noted that provision of information from the legacy DFID sections of FCDO should now improve with the returned availability of corporate records systems. Commissioners discussed the importance of ICAI’s unobstructed and independent access to key personnel when information and evidence gathering in support of reviews.
- Commissioners discussed standard timelines for reviews and the importance of avoiding excessive numbers of drafts and repeated extensions to the timeline.
Action 8: Acting Head of Reviews to persevere with efforts to access key personnel in support of the Afghanistan review
Action 9: Head of Reviews to look at the review process to see if timelines can be amended to allow more time in the process for copy-edit
- Commissioners discussed the challenges around completing the remaining Phase 3 workplan in light of budget uncertainty and vacancies in the secretariat review team. The Acting Head of Reviews highlighted the lack of resource available for writing terms of reference, quality assuring reviews and administrative support to the review process. Commissioners discussed interim resourcing options.
Action 10: Head of Secretariat to meet FCDO HR team and investigate interim resource
|Number||Action||Action by||Status||Target completion date|
|1||Acting Head of Engagement to organise an outreach event for Parliamentarians||Acting Head of Engagement||In progress||21 July 2022|
|2||Acting Head of Engagement to look into the possibility of a meeting with the new chair of the IDC sub-Committee||Acting Head of Engagement||In progress||21 July 2022|
|3||Head of Secretariat to share the draft revised Framework Agreement with the part time Commissioners for comments before sign-off||Head of Secretariat||Complete||30 April 2022|
|4||Secretariat to advise Sir Hugh Bayley when the engagement with MPs in relation to ICAI’s Impact work and KPIs is complete||Acting Head of Reviews||Complete|
|5||Secretariat to review risk 4 relating to recruitment and retention of staff to ensure all risks and mitigations are captured||Head of Secretariat||Complete||30 April 2022|
|6||Secretariat to maintain contact with Mats Härsmar and the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) Sweden||Head of Secretariat||Complete|
|7||Acting Head of Engagement to investigate scheduling IDC hearings on the same day as FCDO questions||Acting Head of Engagement||Complete||30 June 2022|
|8||Acting Head of Reviews to persevere with efforts to access key personnel in support of the Afghanistan review||Acting Head of Reviews||Complete||30 June 2022|
|9||Head of Reviews to look at the review process to see if timelines can be amended to allow more time in the process for copy-edit||Acting Head of Reviews||In progress||Tbc|
|10||Head of Secretariat to continue to engage with FCDO HR on ICAI recruitment, including interim resource||Head of Secretariat||In progress||Tbc|