DFID’s support for civil society organisations through programme partnership arrangements

A vibrant civil society sector is an essential part of the UK aid landscape. Our report looks at DFID’s programme partnership arrangements, which will provide a total of £120 million a year to 41 civil society organisations in 2011-14.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 17 May 2013
  3. Type: Other
  4. Subject: Civil society
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Lead commissioner: Diana Good


Civil society organisations (CSO), such as Oxfam, Save the Children and CAFOD, are seen by the Department for International Development (DFID) as key partners for the delivery of UK aid. DFID reports that, in 2011-12, it channelled £880 million through these and similar organisations, representing 11.8% of its total programme expenditure that year.

During 2010, DFID requested CSOs to apply for medium-term funding through its programme partnership arrangement (PPA) mechanism. In its publicity for the PPAs, DFID noted that that they were ‘aimed at CSOs with a global reach and leaders in their field who can add value to DFID’s portfolio, support realisation of its objectives, achieve real results in terms of poverty reduction and provide good value for money, demonstrated through a competitive selection process’. 41 of the PPAs were successful. Of these, 13 were above £10 million in value, 14 were between £5 million and £10 million and 14 were budgeted to receive less than £5 million.

This report examines DFID’s PPAs, looking in detail at six PPAs across a broad representation of CSOs. We awarded a green-amber score and made four recommendations.


Review publication

Published 17 May 2013

Government response

Published 7 June 2013

ICAI follow-up

Published 12 June 2014