UK aid in a changing world: implications for ICAI

This paper explores the changing context for UK aid in 2015, following the introduction of the Global Goals and the launch of the new five-year UK aid strategy, and the implications for ICAI’s mandate to provide independent scrutiny of the aid programme.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 7 January 2016
  3. Type: Other
  4. Subject: Cross-cutting, UK aid trends
  5. Assessment: Unrated
  6. Lead commissioner: Alison Evans

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This paper explores emerging global trends in international development, and considers the potential challenges for UK aid. It then reflects on how this analysis helped ICAI shape a strategic and relevant review programme, for the period 2016-19.


The UK has chosen to make a very substantial budgetary commitment to development assistance. We will ensure that this expenditure is subject to robust, independent scrutiny by probing the impact and value for money of different types of programming and the instruments and channels through which aid is spent. We will explore how well DFID and other government departments are delivering ODA and how UK aid is used alongside other forms of international cooperation to respond to new challenges and opportunities.

Ultimately, the impact of our independent scrutiny depends upon our collaboration with others. We will work closely the International Development Committee, and particularly the ICAI sub-committee, to support parliamentary oversight. We will increase our interaction with DFID at all levels, to promote uptake of our findings. We will coordinate our work with other scrutiny bodies, including the NAO and DFID’s own Internal Audit Department, ensuring that the whole of the UK aid programme is subject to appropriate oversight. We will also work to ensure that our reviews help other stakeholders to engage constructively with the UK aid programme and UK development cooperation more generally.

In such a complex and dynamic context for development assistance, ICAI itself needs to be nimble and responsive in its approach to its scrutiny mandate. We aim to shed light on the core challenges facing the UK aid programme. Through a carefully selected programme of reviews, we seek to examine and inform the decisions that shape UK development assistance as it responds to a changing world.


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Published 7 January 2016