Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 13th May 2019.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Foreign Secretary

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the findings of the independent Overseas Security and Justice Assistance audit into the Conflict Stability and Security Fund commissioned by the Joint Funds Unit.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) takes its responsibility to do no harm very seriously. All CSSF programmes comply with the UK’s domestic and international human rights obligations and have robust measures in place to protect the human rights of beneficiaries.

In order for programme teams to be able to assess the risks of UK activity that could affect human rights, all security and justice assistance is subject to Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJAs). The OSJA is a risk management system used across Government to assess risk and consider what mitigation might be appropriate. The OSJA Guidance specifies at what point Ministerial approval is required.

In order to determine the effectiveness of project activity, all CSSF programmes are subject to Annual Reviews, which score how effectively programmes have delivered their outputs and outcomes. In making an assessment the Annual Review considers how programme teams manage commercial partnerships, risk and budgets, adapt to changing contexts, , as well as assessing value for money. The Joint Funds Unit (JFU) plans to publish the Rule of Law 2017/18 Annual Review summary before the end of this Parliamentary session.

Minister Field, the FCO Minister responsible for South Asia, receives regular updates on the risks associated with the Rule of Law programme’s activities. In addition, I reviewed all the relevant programme documentation ahead of it being shared with the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy, who have taken an interest in this programme and requested further, sensitive documents on it.

The OSJA covering the Counter-Terrorism Associated Prosecutorial Reforms Initiative was fully reviewed in December 2018. Completed OSJA checklists are sensitive internal documents providing an assessment of the human rights situation in a country at a given time and are regularly updated. These are not published. The Information Commissioner has previously reviewed and agreed with a Government decision not to disclose an OSJA on Pakistan.

Last year the JFU commissioned an independent OSJA audit, in order to get a better understanding of how they are used across the CSSF. The audit itself contains a number of sensitive in-depth samples of OSJAs and therefore there are no plans to publish the audit.

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