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Westminster Foundation for Democracy Review

Volume 746: debated on Thursday 7 March 2024

My noble Friend the Minister for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, has today made the following statement:

I wish to inform the House that the Government have today published the independent public body review of Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), an executive non-departmental public body of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The Government launched this review in autumn 2023, and it concluded in December. The review was independent and formed part of the public bodies review programme, which delivers against the commitments made in the declaration on Government reform to increase the effectiveness of organisations to ensure they are set up in the best possible way to deliver.

The Government set out in the 2021 integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy our approach to shaping the international order organised around open societies and economies. The integrated review noted the role of WFD in helping us deliver the ambition to support strong, transparent and accountable political processes and institutions overseas, including parliaments and political parties.

The 2023 integrated review refresh reaffirmed our commitment to sharpening the UK’s posture; shaping, balancing, cooperating and competing wherever we are active internationally to create the conditions, structures and incentives necessary for an open and stable international order.

The 2023 White Paper “International development in a contested world: ending extreme poverty and tackling climate change” stated our intention to harness the best of the UK’s capability, including WFD, to create fairer, more inclusive, and accountable democratic systems around the world. It also suggested that increased funding could be made available to WFD, subject to the outcomes of the public bodies review.

The review reaffirms WFD’s relevance and effectiveness. It also makes a number of recommendations for improvements with regards to the relationship between WFD and the FCDO; and WFD’s governance, risk management, and efficiency. The Government accept all these recommendations, and will work with WFD to implement them.

We would also like to extend our thanks to the lead reviewer and the review team for dedicating much time and consideration to this review.

The publication will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS320]