House of Lords
Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they require that independent evaluations are made of all projects supported by United Kingdom official development assistance.
Baroness Northover (Whip, House of Lords; Liberal Democrat)
It is not mandatory for all projects supported by UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) to be independently evaluated. However, the coalition Government have a strong focus on evaluation and in May 2011 launched the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) which is the independent body responsible for the scrutiny of UK ODA. ICAI has the remit to evaluate whichever areas of ODA it wants and the Department for International Development (DfID) feels that this is the right strategic balance to ensure stronger evaluation and therefore value for money in aid spending. At the same time, DfID is implementing an ambitious agenda to embed evaluation throughout its portfolio of investments. Other government departments with ODA spend will have their own priorities for evaluation.
Since 2011, new DfID projects must be considered for evaluation as part of the design process-this is enshrined in the business case-and the rationale for the decision (to evaluate or not) needs to be defensible to the ICAI and other external stakeholders. From January 2012 it has been mandatory to record these decisions on our internal project management system, thus enabling monitoring of which parts of our portfolio are being subjected to evaluation in order to identify any strategic gaps.