Independent Commission for Aid Impact publishes report on DFID’s Approach to Anti-Corruption and Its Impact on the Poor

31 Oct 2014

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has published a report today on the Department for International Development’s Approach to Anti-Corruption and Its Impact on the Poor.

Corruption is a fundamental issue that afflicts the everyday lives of the very poorest and thwarts global efforts to lift countries out of poverty. DFID recognises corruption as a critical development challenge and seeks to tackle it through direct and indirect activities.

DFID has not, however, developed an approach equal to the challenge, nor has it focussed its efforts sufficiently on the poor. While some programmes show limited achievements, there is little evidence of impact on corruption levels or in meeting the particular needs of the poor.

DFID’s willingness to engage in programming that explicitly tackles corruption is often constrained by political sensitivity in country. It is not capturing and applying lessons learned. As a result of these findings, we have given a rating of Amber-Red.

Graham Ward, ICAI Chief Commissioner, said: “We saw very little evidence that the work DFID is doing to combat corruption is successfully addressing the impact of corruption as experienced by the poor. Indeed, there is little indication that DFID has sought to address the forms of corruption that most directly affect the poor: so called ‘petty’ corruption. This is a gap in DFID’s programming that needs to be filled.”

Lead Commissioner, Mark Foster, said, “The UK should take an ambitious stance with respect to tackling corruption around the world as experienced by the poor. We have recommended that DFID should develop an approach to fighting corruption that will be an integral part of the UK Government’s wider efforts. DFID, in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, could be a beacon for anti-corruption internationally.”

ICAI has made five recommendations to support DFID’s future work on Anti-Corruption:

Recommendation 1: DFID, in conjunction with the FCO and other UK Government departments, should articulate and implement a detailed plan setting out the level of ambition, commitment and positioning of the UK with respect to tackling corruption in its priority countries, including as experienced by the poor.

Recommendation 2: DFID should develop standalone anti-corruption country strategies and, in addition to its current activities, programming that explicitly tackles corruption and that extends over a 10- to 15-year time horizon with short-, medium- and long-term goals for reducing corruption, particularly with respect to the poor.

Recommendation 3: DFID should include in its expanded anti-corruption portfolio many more programmes which specifically target the everyday corruption experienced by the poor and educate the population about the ill effects of corruption.

Recommendation 4: DFID should gather and publish targeted and dynamic feedback from the stakeholders of its anti-corruption work, including the intended beneficiaries, to allow DFID to ‘spot check’ and correct its existing programmes and to inform new programming.

Recommendation 5: DFID should create an internal embedded centre of excellence explicitly to focus on anti-corruption and to gather evidence of effectiveness, disseminate lessons learned and cultivate expertise that will drive anti-corruption efforts globally.

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