The current state of UK aid: A synthesis of ICAI findings from 2015 to 2019

Over the period from 2015 to 2019, ICAI has accumulated a rich body of evidence on the performance of UK aid. We have drawn together the key findings from across the 28 reviews and four follow-ups conducted over the last four years to produce an analysis of the current state of UK aid and the challenges ahead.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 20 June 2019
  3. Type: Other
  4. Subject: Cross-cutting, UK aid trends
  5. Assessment: Unrated
  6. Lead commissioner: Richard Gledhill


The 2015-19 period has been a dynamic one for UK aid. The Sustainable Development Goals have reshaped the global development agenda. The UK has mounted its largest ever humanitarian operation in response to the Syria crisis, and UK aid has responded to a range of other global challenges, from Ebola to the growing threat of climate change. Within the UK, more departments have taken on a role in spending aid, as the aid programme has become more integrated into the UK’s machinery for external engagement.

Looking ahead, UK aid will continue to evolve rapidly, in response to a dynamic global context and new UK priorities. The government has pledged to put development “at the heart of our international agenda”, while making sure that the aid programme serves to enhance the UK’s global influence and interests.

This review explores how well equipped the aid programme is to respond to the challenges ahead, and the opportunities and risks associated with the changing functions of UK aid. As well as being of interest to policymakers and other stakeholders, this assessment will inform ICAI’s future selection of reviews.



Published 20 June 2019