DFID’s approach to anti-corruption

This report assesses DFID’s approach to managing the risk of corruption, which is one of the most important components of achieving value for money in the UK aid programme.

Score: Amber/Red
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 22 November 2011
  3. Type: Other
  4. Subject: Anti-corruption, tax avoidance and fiduciary risk
  5. Assessment: Amber/Red
  6. Lead commissioner: Graham Ward CBE

Read the review


In this review, we examined how DFID responds to the challenge of providing aid in countries with high risk of corruption. Our report makes five recommendations as to how DFID can minimise the risks to UK aid funds from corruption and how it can better assist its partner countries to address the scourge of corruption at its root. We awarded a score of amber-red for this review.


Our review is strongly influenced by the UK Government’s decision to increase rapidly both the aid budget to an amount equivalent to 0.7% of Gross National Income and the proportion going to fragile and conflict-affected states. This inevitably exposes the UK aid budget to higher levels of corruption risk. Our assessment is that DFID’s current organisation of responsibilities for fraud and corruption is fragmented and that this inhibits a coherent and strategic response to this critical issue. DFID needs to give significantly greater attention to the fight against corruption to manage this increasing risk


We made the following five recommendations as a result of our our findings:

  1. In any country assessed as having a high risk of corruption, DFID should develop an explicit anti-corruption strategy, setting out an integrated programme of activities and dialogue processes.
  2. DFID should review the structure and nature of its UK counter-fraud and anti-corruption resources, to develop a more co-ordinated approach to risk assessment, risk management, anti-corruption programming and fraud response.
  3. DFID should develop more articulated processes for managing the corruption risks associated with particular aid types and invest more resource in due diligence and on-the-ground monitoring of delivery partners.
  4. While continuing to invest in the legal and institutional framework for fighting corruption, DFID should focus on supporting more robust law enforcement activity to build transparency and accountability. This should include innovative forms of beneficiary monitoring and community mobilisation.
  5. DFID should invest more in intelligence collation and analysis of corruption risks in particular sectors and countries, to inform a more strategic approach to fighting corruption.


Read the news story


Review publication

22 November 2011

Government response

Published 12 December 2011

ICAI follow-up

Published 1 July 2013