Evaluating the impact and lessons of our aid programmes is a crucial part of DFID’s work.  High quality evaluations help us spend aid more effectively so that more people are lifted out of poverty.  And because evaluations are published, they provide a direct line of accountability: to Parliament, the British public and our partners in recipient countries.

DFID also works with international partners to:

  • Help our partners in recipient countries strengthen their own capacity for high-quality, relevant evaluation studies;
  • Harmonise evaluation approaches with other aid agencies;
  • Develop international policy standards and best practice for evaluation.

The Government is seeking to make a fundamental shift in the way UK aid spend is evaluated through two main streams of activity: embedding evaluation throughout its aid programmes and increasing independent evaluation through the new Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

Embedding evaluation

DFID is changing the way we design aid programmes so that evaluation considerations are ‘embedded’ in our programmes at all stages of the project cycle.  This means clear assessments of the evidence for what does or doesn’t work in the initial stages of programme design, collection of baseline data and effective evaluation over the life of the programme and beyond.

Independent evaluation

Independent scrutiny is vital in determining what results are being achieved.  The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has been set up to evaluate and review, independently, the impact and value for money of UK aid programmes. Recipients of UK aid will play a key part in these reviews.

ICAI is headed by Chief Commissioner, Graham Ward, supported by 3 Commissioners: Mark Foster, John Githongo and Diana Good.  It is clearly separated from DFID, reporting directly to the International Development Select Committee in Parliament.

ICAI was launched on 12 May 2011. For more information about ICAI - including its workplan which was published on 12 May - please visit the ICAI website.


Last updated: 16 May 2011