Parliament publishes ICAI evidence note on effectiveness of UK aid

19 May 2020

A new paper from the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), mapping out the UK’s approach to spending aid, has been published by the International Development Committee.

The evidence note was produced by ICAI to support the Committee’s inquiry into the effectiveness of UK aid. It summarises the findings of previous ICAI reports, and examines areas such as how aid budgets are distributed across government, the countries in which aid is spent, the learning processes used by aid-spending departments, and the cross-government architecture that oversees aid spend.

The paper, which comes after ICAI chief commissioner Dr Tamsyn Barton provided evidence to the Committee’s first hearing on this inquiry in March, also identifies potential gaps in the UK’s approach, and considers how the ‘national interest’ should be defined while ensuring the focus on poverty reduction is not lost. However, as a factual evidence note, it does not draw any evaluative conclusions or make recommendations.

Dr Barton said: “ICAI has a crucial role to play in making sure aid is spent effectively for those who need it most, while maintaining value for money for UK taxpayers. Since 2011 our reviews have directly contributed to improvements in the way aid is spent.

“But with the aid landscape changing, it is vital that scrutiny continues. I am pleased that ICAI has been able to contribute to the International Development Committee’s inquiry, and I look forward to continuing to support the Committee on this important subject.”

The ICAI reports referenced in the evidence note include How UK Aid Learns, The use of UK aid to enhance mutual prosperityThe changing nature of UK Aid in Ghana, The UK aid response to global health threats, and The Global Challenge Research Fund, among others.