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Overseas Aid

Volume 485: debated on Monday 15 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what safeguards his Department has put in place to make sure that where direct budgetary aid is given (a) the money is correctly spent and (b) it does not lead to the substitution of other Government expenditure which has not been approved. (241907)

Budget support is only used where the recipient government is committed to reducing poverty, upholding human rights and other international obligations and strengthening public financial management, promoting good governance and transparency, fighting corruption.

We protect our funds in three ways:

We assess the risks carefully and have our assessment checked by external experts.

We ensure that governments have a credible reform programme to improve their systems; and provide technical support to help them.

We use safeguards to prevent misuse of funds; e.g. procurement approval by someone outside of the national systems, additional audits of particular sectors or tracking money from the Ministry of Finance to make sure it gets to the right places.

We monitor government budgets and expenditure carefully every year to make sure that money is spent according to their plans and priorities. We look at the whole budget and all areas of expenditure. We look not just at the amounts governments spend but also the proportion of their budgets—for example we look at whether health and education is going up, not just in absolute terms but as a percentage of total government expenditure. If governments go off-track with their spending plans we raise these issues at the highest levels. If necessary we reduce or suspend support or deliver it in a different way.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of his Department's projects are re-visited after completion but during the expected life of the project to ensure they are still functioning and maintained properly. (241910)

All of the Department for International Development's (DFID) projects over £1 million are required to have a logical framework, detailing objectives and expected outcomes. A formal assessment of progress against the logical framework is carried out annually. At the close of a project, a project completion report assesses achievement against this framework and identifies lessons learned to improve future effectiveness and value for money.

DFID does not set a specific percentage for coverage of post-completion assessments, but post-completion impact and sustainability of major individual projects is assessed when undertaking country programme evaluations (CPE), thematic and policy evaluations, with up to 25 reports produced annually. CPEs are timed to influence future country/regional plans and approaches to results management; they are carried out by independent consultants who have a final say on content. Follow up to evaluation recommendations are tracked and reported on annually to the Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact (IACDI), who regulates DFID's evaluation work programme to assure quality and independence.