The FCDO’s Programme Operating Framework

A rapid review assessing the effectiveness of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) Programme Operating Framework (PrOF) in support of the delivery of aid across FCDO’s diverse portfolio.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 27 April 2023
  3. Type: Rapid review
  4. Subject: Government processes and systems
  5. Lead commissioner: Tarek Rouchdy
  6. SDGs covered:Peace, justice and strong institutions

Latest news

We published our rapid review of the FCDO’s Programme Operating Framework (PrOF) in April 2023 and the government published its response in June 2023. We completed our follow-up report in May 2024.


The FCDO launched its new PrOF following the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the Department for International Development in September 2020. It came into force on 1 April 2021 and provides the basis for how FCDO programmes and projects should be managed to ensure high standards and meet central government expectations.

The PrOF is a key tool for embedding a common approach to programme management across the FCDO. It applies to all staff managing or advising on policy programmes led or delivered through the FCDO, and decision-makers for approving those programmes. It is used for all FCDO policy programmes, whether UK aid funded or not, as well as for cross-government funds managed by FCDO. It therefore covers most of the UK’s official development assistance (ODA).

This review provided an early opportunity for ICAI to assess the PrOF’s effectiveness in supporting aid delivery across FCDO’s diverse portfolio. It also aimed to support learning in the FCDO, as the department works to refine its programme management approach and integrate systems and staff post-merger.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals relevant to this review are:

  • Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions



Published 2 February 2023

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 27 April 2023

Government response

Published 13 June 2023

Further scrutiny

Follow-up published 16 May 2024