UK aid spending too focussed on ‘short-term’ projects, watchdog says
UK foreign aid money must be diverted towards more longer-term initiatives if it is to make a real difference, a watchdog has said.
According to the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, the Government needs to refocus its development budget on improving leadership and skills within communities.
As part of a review of the department’s spending, the watchdog noted: “There is a risk that the current approach leads Dfid to prioritise the immediate results of its own programmes over working with and through others to achieve lasting change.”
ICAI commissioner Tina Fahm, said: “In recent years [Dfid] has come a long way on embedding value for money, and this is undoubtedly making the UK’s aid spending go further.
“However, there are still areas for improvement to ensure the department delivers the maximum value for UK taxpayers and makes the biggest difference to the lives of those it helps.”
A Dfid spokesman responded: “This report rightly recognises that Dfid is a global champion in achieving value for money and is leading the rest of the world in pushing vital reforms through to ensure UK aid cannot be better spent.
“We are continuing to hold aid organisations to account by tying funding to performance, closing programmes which fail to meet objectives and increasing efficiency savings.”
The review comes amid scrutiny of the UK’s aid budget after government-backed international charities became embroiled in a sex scandal.
The most high-profile of those was Oxfam, which was accused of mishandling allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour by its staff in Haiti.
Today senior figures from the charities will face a grilling from MPs over the claims, with chief executive Mark Goldring and chair of trustees Caroline Thomson set to appear before the International Development Committee.
Representatives from Save the Children and the Department for International Development will also face questions from the committee.