ICAI follow-up review of 2019-20 reports

ICAI’s follow-up review looks at how well government departments have responded to the recommendations made in our 2019-20 reviews.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 23 June 2021
  3. Type: Follow-up review
  4. Subject: Cross-cutting
  5. Lead commissioner: Tamsyn Barton

Read the follow-up


This year’s follow-up review looks at how well government departments have responded to recommendations made in three reviews published in 2019-20. It also looks again at four outstanding issues from previous follow-up processes.


The period covered by this review saw enormous change in the UK aid landscape, including the establishment of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in September 2020, the publication of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, and the spending review and subsequent decision to reduce UK official development assistance (ODA) spending to 0.5% of gross national income in 2021.

Interacting with the relevant government departments and teams has at times been challenging and we have raised concerns about the transparency of UK ODA emerging in several, but not all, of this year’s follow-up exercises.

This year we rated all three reviews being followed up for the first time as ‘inadequate’. We will return to all three again next year.

How UK aid learns Inadequate
The UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative Inadequate
The changing nature of UK aid in Ghana Inadequate

‘Learning journeys’

This year’s follow-up review features two ‘learning journeys’, highlighting examples of success after consecutive ICAI follow-up processes:

  • CDC’s investments in low-income and fragile states: After three years of close engagement between CDC and ICAI, we have concluded that CDC’s investment decisions now address development impact throughout the investment cycle and consideration of impact is driving active management of investments to a much greater extent.
  • The Newton Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund: After following up on both funds two years in a row, we have now seen an impressive set of changes, including the creation of a robust joint governance structure for the two funds and safeguards at both project and portfolio level to ensure ODA eligibility and attention to development impact.

Other outstanding issues covered in this report

  • DFID’s approach to tendering and contract management (Procurement 2): There have been significant improvements on instituting a robust contract management regime. A senior responsible officer for contract management has been appointed, there is now a formal contract management regime in place which includes appropriate adaptive contract management techniques and training efforts are on an upward trajectory.
  • Assessing DFID’s results in improving maternal health: Overall, FCDO has continued to pursue a coherent set of activities related to maternal health, however key strategies remain unpublished while flagship programmes are being scaled back.


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Review publication

Published 23 June 2021

Further scrutiny

Expected summer 2022