UK Development Assistance for Security and Justice

Our review looks strategically at security and justice assistance. This is an increasingly important area as more UK aid is devoted to fragile and conflict-affected states.

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5 Mar 2015
Amber - Red
Lead commissioner
Diana Good
Fragile states, Governance and Rights
Related documents

Review of UK Development Assistance for Security and Justice -Terms of Reference
ICAI Security and Justice Inception Report

Security and justice assistance, including support for policing, courts and community justice, accounted for £95 million of expenditure in 2013-14.

Our review found that many of the activities in DFID’s security and justice programmes are not making enough of a difference to the lives of people living in poverty. We believe that there is a need for critical reflection, both on the overall goals of the portfolio and on what objectives are realistic in complex operating environments.

We are concerned that the security and justice programmes suffer from a lack of management attention, which has led to unclear objectives and poor supervision of implementers. The lack of overall strategy has led to a repetition of a standard set of interventions, such as investing in model police stations, across very different contexts without a clear strategic or evidence based rationale.

As a result of our findings, we have given a rating of Amber-Red.


Recommendation 1: DFID should develop a new strategy for more focussed and realistic security and justice assistance that emphasises tackling specific security and justice challenges in particular and local contexts. This should include working in a cross-disciplinary way to address wider security and justice themes, such as gender equality (including working with men), labour rights and urban insecurity.

Recommendation 2: DFID should identify the key evidence gaps across its security and justice portfolio and tailor its investments in research and innovation to fill those gaps. It should develop guidelines on how to ground programme design in sound contextual analysis and evidence of what works and on how to strengthen programme oversight, including management of political risk.