New DfID minister Greening launches aid review, as watchdog and NAO praise its overseas work

Written by Joshua Chambers on 19 September 2012 in News

The new secretary of state for international development, Justine Greening, has launched a “line by line” review of all UK aid spending.

Newspapers reported that Greening became concerned after the Mail on Sunday revealed that some employees of companies delivering international aid are receiving salaries of up to £1m, including dividends.

A Department for International Development (DfID) spokesperson said that Greening “is taking a close look at every aspect of the department’s spending.”

“The secretary of state has asked for an internal report into the department’s spend on technical experts,” she added.

This comes as the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) has started to tender for an investigation into the department’s procurement practices. ICAI is a departmental quango established in 2010 to assess whether the department is achieving value for money. Its report into contractors will “assess to what extent DfID is achieving impact, value for money and sustainability in its use of contractors to deliver programmes”, and will be published in 2013.

The latest ICAI report, published last week, gave a green-amber rating to DfID for the value for money it has achieved through its emergency response in the Horn of Africa. A green-amber means that “the programme performs relatively well against ICAI’s criteria for effectiveness and value for money. Improvements should be made.”

Today, the National Audit Office also published a report praising the department for reviewing all of its spending on multilateral organisations. “The review was valuable; both for providing accountability to UK taxpayers, and for promoting reform in the multilateral organisations themselves,” it said. “The assessment framework used in the review was logical and covered key factors which are important to value for money.”

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: “The department has taken a big step towards improving the value for money it gets from these funds,” adding that it should now “collaborate with other donor countries to encourage further consistently measurable performance improvements”.

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