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Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

Volume 657: debated on Thursday 4 April 2019

I am announcing today the publication of the recent tailored review of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission (MACC), an arm’s length body of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

The MACC was established in 1953 to express gratitude to the American people for the post-war support and assistance conceived by US Secretary of State George C Marshall, subsequently known as the Marshall plan. It provides postgraduate scholarships in the UK for US students with the potential to excel in their chosen fields of study and future careers. Marshall alumni become advocates for greater mutual understanding and cooperation between our two countries, bolstering our bilateral relationship and our soft power.

As a non-departmental public body (NDPB) sponsored by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the MACC is required to undergo a tailored review at least once in every Parliament.

The principal aims of tailored reviews are to ensure public bodies remain fit for purpose, are well governed and properly accountable for what they do.

The full report can be read on gov.uk: https://www.gov. uk/government/publications/tailored-review-of-the-marshall-aid-commemoration-commission

This Review involved consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and the US, including MACC commissioners and staff, former and current Marshall scholars, FCO officials, staff working on similar scholarship programmes and academic institutions in both the UK and US. It provided an opportunity to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the commission and its programme, and to understand how it delivers on the FCO’s strategic priorities.

The review concluded that the MACC runs a high-quality and well-managed programme that is still needed and contributes to strengthening the UK’s relations with the US. As such, it is a valuable soft power asset, providing a good return on a relatively small financial investment. It also concluded that NDPB status remains the right classification for the commission. However, it identified areas for improvement, making a total of 24 recommendations, including:

The Association of Commonwealth Universities, which currently administers the MACC, should draw on in-house expertise to support the commission and ensure the sustainability of the programme’s administration.

The FCO should establish more consistent active outreach activity throughout the US network.

The commission should develop a shared communications strategy, while the FCO should ensure communications about the programme are incorporated into FCO communications work.

The commission and FCO should develop and implement a stronger monitoring and evaluation system.

A joint implementation plan is being developed by the FCO and the MACC, with agreed recommendations expected to be implemented by the first quarter of 2020.

Copies of the Review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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