Focus on transparency in UK government’s development spending reviews welcomed by Development Initiatives and Publish What You Fund


Development Initiatives and Publish What You Fund welcome the strong emphasis on increased transparency in the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID)’s long-awaited Bilateral Development Review and Multilateral Development Review, both published today.

DFID has been a leading player in global efforts to improve transparency for many years and in these latest reviews we see an even more ambitious transparency agenda. Their ultimate vision is for “complete aid transparency so that anyone, anywhere can trace funding, all the way from the taxpayer to the beneficiary.

In the Multilateral Development Review, transparency was one of three key indicators used to assess the organisational strengths of DFID’s multilateral partners. The review concluded that “agencies are taking this more seriously, with much more data now published in an accessible way, based on the standards of IATI, a foundation that the UK helped to set up. DFID expects all its partners to meet IATI standards as a minimum.”

Rupert Simons, CEO of Publish What You Fund, said “It is good to see such a strong commitment to meeting IATI standards in the Multilateral Development Review. This is key to ensuring that multilateral institutions are accountable to partner country governments, to the donor institutions like DFID that fund them, and to those who benefit from their programmes on the ground.”

DFID already requires its implementing partners to publish to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and in the Bilateral Development Review. DFID takes this a step further by indicating that in future it will require them to pass the same requirements on to their own partners in order to “follow the money throughout the system.”

Harpinder Collacott, Executive Director at Development Initiatives, said “It is excellent to see DFID prioritising traceability, especially when the development financing landscape is becoming more complex and diverse. Accountability and value for money is essential to both the UK taxpayer and the final intended beneficiary of aid. This is only possible if we have transparency all the way down the pipeline, requiring all those receiving DFID funding to improve the transparency of their systems. Only when this is possible will we be able to fully assess and maximise the impact of aid on poverty.”

More analysis of the Multilateral Development Review and Bilateral Development Review and their implications will be published by Development Initiatives in due course.