New ICAI review – The Newton Fund

7 Jun 2019

Scientist in a laboratory looking at a sample. ICAI is today publishing a review of the Newton Fund, a £735 million research and innovation partnership fund managed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is intended to promote international development.

The review found that the fund was poorly designed to pursue the aim of promoting international development, and in reality its secondary objectives – such as building ties with partner countries like China, India, Brazil and South Africa – have often been the main driver of its work. An estimated 90% of UK aid spent through the Newton Fund stays in the UK with UK institutions, which is contrary, at least in spirit, to the UK government’s commitment to untying all UK aid.

The review also found that BEIS has provided little effective oversight or management of the Newton Fund, resulting in weaknesses such as a lack of transparency and accountability, weak coordination within and across country partnerships, and a lack of a coherent approach across the fund to securing value for money and maximising development impact.

Although improvements have been made to the Fund’s working processes in recent years, the government needs to speed up its work to strengthen the Fund.

Read the full review online to find out more.

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