Achieving value for money through procurement Part 2: DFID’s approach to value for money through tendering and contract management

An appropriate overall approach to procurement with good performance in most areas of tendering, but significant weaknesses in contract management.

Score: Green/Amber
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 25 September 2018
  3. Type: Performance review
  4. Subject: Government processes and systems
  5. Assessment: Green/Amber
  6. Lead commissioner: Tina Fahm

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This review on achieving value for money through procurement (part 2) was published in September 2018. We awarded a green-amber score and made three recommendations to government. The follow-up to this review was published in July 2020, and rated the government’s response as ‘inadequate’, as a result of DFID’s failure to put in place a formal contract management regime, despite the risks this entails for programme results. We returned to this review in the next follow-up process, published in June 2021, and found significant improvements.


In 2016-17, the Department for International Development (DFID) spent £1.4 billion, or 14% of its budget, through commercial suppliers on contracts ranging from school construction to family planning services and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The quality of its procurement and contract management – how it engages and manages commercial firms to support the delivery of aid programmes on time, to budget and at the appropriate quality – is a key driver of value for money for UK aid. It is also a subject of considerable Parliamentary and public interest.

In recent years, DFID has implemented a range of initiatives to strengthen its procurement practices and embed commercial capability across the department – including its 2017 Supplier Review, undertaken to address concerns about excessive profit-making by DFID suppliers.



Published 4 December 2017

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 25 September 2018

Government response

Published 6 November 2018

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 28 November 2018

ICAI follow-up

Published 23 July 2020

Further follow-up

Published 23 June 2021