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Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Triennial Review)

Volume 572: debated on Tuesday 17 December 2013

On 21 March 2013, I announced the commencement of the triennial review of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI). I am grateful to ICAI for its continuing valuable work and I am now pleased to announce the completion of that review.

ICAI’s role is to provide independent scrutiny of UK aid spending in order to deliver value for money for British taxpayers and maximise the impact of aid. Its specific functions are to:

i) produce a wide range of independent, high quality and accessible reports setting out evidence of the impact and value for money of UK development efforts;

ii) work with and for Parliament to help hold the UK Government to account for their development programme, and make information on this programme available to the public; and

iii) produce appropriately targeted recommendations to be implemented and followed up by the UK Government.

The triennial review of ICAI concludes that the functions performed by ICAI are still required, subject to some refinements to promote clarity and maximise value for money. In particular, the review recommends that ICAI should also focus on in-depth thematic reviews addressing wider development issues, alongside retaining the ability to produce shorter reports on topics of particular interest to stakeholders, which may include the country level. The review further concludes that an advisory non-departmental public body (NDPB) continues to be the most effective way of delivering these services.

The review also looked at the governance arrangements for ICAI in line with guidance on good corporate governance set out by the Cabinet Office, and found that ICAI’s arrangements largely comply with this guidance. In the few areas where there is not full compliance, it makes some recommendations in this respect, which will be implemented in full prior to the next ICAI contract period beginning May 2015. The review also makes suggestions regarding the role of the International Development Select Committee in ICAFs work, given the unique position of ICAI as an advisory NDPB that reports directly to Parliament.

The final report of the triennial review of ICAI will be made available on the website and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.