Press release

Call for sustained commitment to independent scrutiny of aid spending

Published on 17 December 2020

As the FDCO publishes its review of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, announced in a statement by the Foreign Secretary, IDS Director Melissa Leach calls for a sustained commitment to ensuring that UK aid remains effective in tackling extreme poverty and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals.  The review confirms how critical the ICAI is for upholding the accountability of UK official development assistance (ODA). The FCDO review also includes details of ICAI’s continued role, including new recommendations for ensuring that Government funds deliver maximum impact from UK aid investment.

In response to the published Review, Professor Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies, said:

“As an independent scrutiny body, ICAI is vital to ensure UK aid is being spent effectively and to maintain accountability and transparency of use of funds. With the aid budget set to be significantly reduced, its continued independence from Government has never been more important. Our ambition is for ICAI to ensure that UK ODA continues to be highly effective, investing in the high quality research and action we need to ensure progress in tackling extreme poverty and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Tackling global challenges requires cooperation and coherence across policy, both domestic and international. It’s therefore encouraging that ICAI will continue to monitor across all aid spending government departments and to work with the FCDO to ensure departmental learning. ICAI’s work brings a vital cross-departmental view and complements the work of individual select committees, as well as bodies such as the Strategic Coherence of ODA Research (SCOR) Board and scrutiny from civil society organisations, think-tanks and others. We look forward to supporting their work in the future.”

Another recent announcement from the UK Parliament was the confirmation that the House of Commons International Development Committee (IDC) is to remain, despite the merging of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and DFID, and that ICAI will continue to report to the IDC and its sub-committees. As part of the overall scrutiny, value for money and effectiveness of UK Aid it is also hoped that a Minister for International Development will be appointed at the FCDO, to be accountable for the department’s ODA spending.

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