Pan Africa-Asia Results-Based M&E Forum, Bangkok, Nov 2012 – Presentations now available

The 2012 Pan Africa-Asia Results-Based M&E Forum

Bangkok November 26-28

Sixteen presentations over three days  listed and available online here.

Monday 26 November, 2012

Dr John Mayne, Independent Public Sector Performance Adviser,  ”Making Causal Claims” (9.15 – 10.15am)

Jennifer Mullowney, Senior RBM&E Specialist, CIDA.  ”How to Apply Results-Based Management in Fragile States and Situations: Challenges, Constraints, and Way Forward”. (10.15 to 10.45 am)

Shakeel Mahmood, Coordinator Strategic Planning & M&E, ICDDR.  Strategies for Capacity Building for Health Research in Bangladesh: Role of Core Funding and a Common Monitoring and Evaluation Framework”.  (11.30 -12 noon)

Troy Stremler, CEO, Newdea Inc“Social Sector Trends”  ( 1.40 – 2.40 pm)

Dr Carroll Patterson, Co-founder, SoChaFrom M&E to Social Change: Implementation Imperatives.” 2.40 – 3.10 pm

Susan Davis, Executive Director, Improve International and Marla-Smith-Nilson, Executive Director, Water 1st International), “A Novel Way to Promote Accountability in WASH: Results from First Water & Sanitation Accountability Forum & Plans for the Future. (3.55 – 4.25 pm)


 Tuesday 27 November, 2012

Sanjay Saxena, Director, TSCPL Director, M&E/MIS System Consultant.  “Challenges in Implementing M&E systems for Reform Programs.”  (9.15 – 10.15 am)

Chung Lai, Senior M&E Officer, International Relief and Development.  “ Using Data Flow Diagrams in Data Management Processes (demonstration)” (10.15 – 10.45 pm)

Korapin Tohtubtiang, International Livestock Research Institute, Thailand, Lessons Learned from Outcome Mapping in an IDRC Eco-Health Project.”   (11.30 – 12 noon)

Dr Paul Duignan of  DoView, International Outcomes and Evaluation Specialist. “Anyone Else Think the Way We Do Our M&E Work is Too Cumbersome and Painful? Using DoView Visual Strategic Planning & Success Tracking M&E Software – Simplifying, Streamlining and Speeding up Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation” (1.40 – 2.40 pm)

Ahmed Ali, M&E Specialist, FATA Secretariat, Multi-Donor Trust Fund & the World Bank. The Sub-national M&E Systems of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA – the Case Study of M&E Multi-donor Trust Fund Projects.” 2.40 – 3.10 pm

Global Health Access Program (GHAP) Backpack Health Worker Teams, Thailand, Cross-border M&E of Health Programs Targeting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Conflict-affected Regions of Eastern Burma (3.55 – 4.25 pm)


Wednesday 28 November, 2012

Dr .V. Rengarajan (Independent M&E & Micro-financing Consultant, Author, & Researcher). What is Needed is an Integrated Approach to M&E.” (9.15 – 10.15 am)

Dr Lesley Williams,  Independent M&E & Capacity-building Consultant, Learn MandE. “Value for Money (VfM): an Introduction.” (10.15 – 10.45 am)

Eugenia Boutylkova (Program Officer, PSO, Holland) and Jan Van Ongevalle (Research Manager, HIVA/KULeuven, Belgium). Thematic Learning Program (TLP): Dealing with Complexity through Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation (PME) (11.30 – 12 noon)

Catharina Maria. Does the Absence of Conflict Indicate a Successful Peace-building Project? (1.40 – 2.40 pm)


Innovations in Monitoring and Evaluation ‘as if Politics Mattered’,

Date: 17-18 October 2011
Venue: ANU, Canberra, Australia

Concept Note, Chris Roche & Linda Kelly, 4 August 2011

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP)[1] addresses an important gap in international thinking and policy about the critical role played by leaders, elites and coalitions in the politics of development. At the core of DLP thinking is the proposition that political processes shape developmental outcomes at all levels and in all aspects of society: at national and sub-national levels and in all sectors and issue areas.

Initial findings of the DLP research program confirm that development is a political process and that leadership and agency matter. This is of course not new, but the DLP research provides important insights into how, in particular, leadership, elites and formal and informal coalitions can play a particularly important and under-recognized role in institutional formation (or establishing the ‘rules of the game’), policy reform and development processes[2].

International aid therefore needs to engage effectively with political processes. It needs to be flexible and be able to respond when opportunities open up. It needs to avoid the danger of bolstering harmful political settlements.

Furthermore Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) mechanisms need to be improved and made compatible with flexible programming and recognize the importance of ‘process’ as well as outcomes. Donors should invest in a range of monitoring and evaluation techniques and approaches which are more aligned with the kinds of non-linear and unpredictable processes which characterise the kinds of political processes which drive positive developmental outcomes. This is important because it can be argued that, at best, current approaches are simply not appropriate to monitor the kinds of processes DLP research indicates are important; or, at worst, they offer few incentives to international assistance agencies to support the processes that actually lead to developmental outcomes Continue reading “Innovations in Monitoring and Evaluation ‘as if Politics Mattered’,”

NAO report: DFID Financial Management Report

NAO Press Release 6 April 2011…

“Sound financial management will be essential at the Department for International Development as its spending increases by a third over the next four years, according to the National Audit Office.

The Department has improved its core financial management and has an ambitious programme underway to improve its focus on value for money. It has put important building blocks in place; however its financial management is not yet mature.   The Department cannot yet assess important aspects of the value for money of the aid it has delivered, at an aggregated level.

The Department’s programme budget will grow by £3.3 billion from 2010-11 to 2014-15 (34 per cent in real terms). At the same time, its administration budget is going to reduce by a third. The Department will face significant financial and operational challenges, making sound financial management essential.

The Department has increased the number of finance professionals it employs, but this expertise needs to be used more effectively across the business. In addition, new financial information systems do not yet provide the data needed to support well-founded decisions and forecasts are still an area of weakness.

Having conducted a thorough review, the Department now has a high level plan allocating its resources on the basis of the results it aims to achieve.  Along with actions to strengthen measurement of aid projects, this has the potential to help strengthen the focus on aid results and value for money. But key risks need to be managed and the Department should now develop a coherent, single strategy for doing so.

With greater spending in higher risk locations and more fragile states, the Department must do more to assure itself that it minimises fraud and corruption risks. Although the level of reported fraud is low, it is likely to be under-reported. The NAO has found that the investigation of fraud is reactive and the Department does not attempt to quantify its estimated likely fraud losses.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said today:

“The Department knows its increase in funding, and new approach to aiding developing countries, brings challenges. This report shows considerable progress is being made, but a better information environment is needed to deal with the heightened levels of assurance required in targeting future aid at higher risk locations”

[RD comment] The Executive Summary ends with a section titled: Conclusion on value for money, which says:

  • We recognise that the Department has been improving its core financial management and has also been strengthening its focus on value for money at all levels of the organisation, including through a step change in its approach to the strategic allocation of resources based on expected results. Important building blocks have been put in place, but key gaps in financial management maturity remain. The changes the Department has introduced to-date are positive, and provide a platform to address the challenges that will come with its increased spending.
  • At present, however, the Department’s financial management is not mature. The  Department’s forecasting remains inaccurate and its risk management is not yet fully embedded. Weaknesses in the measurement of value for money at project level, variability in the quality and coverage of data, and lack of integration in core systems, mean that the Department cannot assess important aspects of value for money of the aid it has delivered, at an aggregated level. The Department now needs to develop a coherent single strategy to address the weaknesses identified and the key risks to meeting its objectives.

Value for money: A list

Hopefully, the start of a short but useful bibliography, listed in chronological order.

Please suggest additional documents by using the Comment facility below.  If you have ideas on how Value for Money can be clearly defined and usefully measured please also use the Comment facility below..

For the Editor’s own suggestion, go to the bottom of this page






  • ICAI’s Approach to Effectiveness and Value for Money, November 2011. See also Rick Davies comments on same
  • Value for Money and international development: Deconstructing some myths to promote more constructive discussion. OECD Consultation Draft. October 2011
  • What does ‘value for money’ really mean? CAFOD, October 2011
  • Value for Money: Guideline, NZAID, updated July 2011
  • DFID’s Approach to Value for Money (VfM), July 2011
  • DFID Briefing Note: Indicators and VFM in Governance Programming July 2011.  INTRODUCTION: This note provides advice to DFID staff on: i. governance indicator best practice, and ii. measuring the Value for Money of governance programmes. This note is for use primarily by DFID governance advisers, as well as other DFID staff designing programmes with governance elements. The note provides a framework for consideration in Business Case design that relates to governance activity.  On Value for Money (VFM) in particular, this guidance is only intended as ‘interim’ whilst further research is undertaken. During 2011-2012, DFID will work to determine best practice and establish agreed approaches and mechanisms. This guidance will therefore be updated accordingly subject to research findings as they are made available.  This note was drawn up by DFID staff. It builds on 2 research reports by ITAD, submitted in December 2010 and January 2011 respectively, as well as DFID’s internal Business Case guidance. There are 2 main sections: Section 1: Governance Indicators and Section 2: Value for Money in Governance Programming. The note ends with 10 Top Tips on Business Case preparation.
  • DFID is developing ” Guidance for DFID country offices on maximising VfM in cash transfer programmes“. July 2011. Objective:To provide guidance to DFID country offices on measuring value for money in cash transfer programmes through the rigorous analysis of costs and benefits, as far as possible, at the design stage and through programme implementation and completion.  This project is driven by DFID’s expansion of support to cash transfer programmes, its strong emphasis on ensuring programmes are delivering value for money, and strong country office demand for specific advice and guidance” (ToRs)
  • Value for Money: Current Approaches and Evolving Debates. Antinoja Emmi, Eskiocak Ozlem, Kjennerud Maja, Rozenkopf Ilan,  Schatz Florian, LSE, London, May 2011. 43 pages. “NGOs have increasingly been asked by donors to demonstrate their Value for Money (VfM).This report analyses this demand across a number of dimensions and intends to lay out the interpretation of different stakeholders. After contextualising the debate internationally and nationally, a conceptual discussion of possible ways of defining and measuring VfM is conducted, followed by a technical analysis of different approaches and measurement techniques adopted by stakeholders. Finally, opportunities and caveats of measuring VfM are discussed. The report draws heavily on information gained through a total of seventeen interviews with representatives of NGOs, consultancies, think tanks and academic institutions.”
  • Independent Commission for Aid Impact – Work Plan, May 2011: “We have not yet agreed our own definition of terms such as “value for money” and “aid effectiveness”. These are complex issues which are currently under much debate. In the case of value for money we believe that this should include long-term impact and effectiveness. We intend to commission our contractor to help us in our consideration of these matters.”
  • The Guardian, Madeleine Bunting,11th April 2011 “Value for money is not compatible with increasing aid to ‘fragile states’. The two big ideas from the UK’s Department for International Development are destined for collision”
  • NAO report on DFID Financial Management, April 2011. See the concluding section of the Executive Summary, titled Conclusion on value for money:
    • “We recognise that the Department has been improving its core financial management and has also been strengthening its focus on value for money at all levels of the organisation, including through a step change in its approach to the strategic allocation of resources based on expected results. Important building blocks have been put in place, but key gaps in financial management maturity remain. The changes the Department has introduced to-date are positive, and provide a platform to address the challenges that will come with its increased spending.”
    • At present, however, the Department’s financial management is not mature. The Department’s forecasting remains inaccurate and its risk management is not yet fully embedded. Weaknesses in the measurement of value for money at project level, variability in the quality and coverage of data, and lack of integration in core systems, mean that the Department cannot assess important aspects of value for money of the aid it has delivered, at an aggregated level. The Department now needs to develop a coherent single strategy to address the weaknesses identified and the key risks to meeting its objectives.”
  • DFID’s March 2011, Multilateral Aid Review, “was commissioned to assess the value for money for UK aid of funding through multilateral organisations”. “All were assessed against the same set of criteria, interpreted flexibly to fit with their different circumstances, but always grounded in the best available evidence. Together the criteria capture the value for money for UK aid of the whole of each organisation. The methodology was independently validated and quality assured by two of the UK’s leading development experts. The assessment framework included criteria which relate directly to the focus and impact of an organisation on the UK’s development and humanitarian objectives– such as whether or not they are playing a critical role in line with their mandate, what this means in terms of results achieved on the ground, their focus on girls and women, their ability to work in fragile states, their attention to climate change and environmental sustainability, and their focus on poor countries. These criteria were grouped together into an index called “Contribution to UK development objectives.  The framework also included criteria which relate to the organisations’ behaviours and values that will drive the very best performance – such as transparency, whether or not cost and value consciousness and ambition for results are driving forces in the organisation, whether there are sound management and accountability systems, whether the organisations work well in partnership with others and whether or not financial resource management systems and instruments help to maximise impact. These were grouped together into an index called “Organisational strengths”. Value for money for UK aid was assessed on the basis of performance against both indices. So, for example, organisations with a strong overall performance against both indices were judged to offer very good value for money for UK aid, while those with a weak or unsatisfactory performance against both indices were deemed to offer poor value for money.”
    • [RD comment] In the methodology chapter the authors explain / claim that this approach is based on a 3E view that seeks to give attention to the whole “value for money chain” (nee causal chain), from inputs to impacts (which is discussed below). Reading the rest of that chapter, I am not convinced, I think the connection is tenuous, and what exists here is a new interpretation of Value for Money that will not be widely used. That said, I dont envy the task the authors of this report were faced with.
    • [RD comment]The Bilateral Aid Review makes copious references to Value for Money, but there is no substantive discussion of what it means anywhere in the review. Annex D includes a proposal format which includes a section for providing  Value for Money information in 200 words. This includes the following fields, which are presumably explained elsewhere: Qualitative judgement of vfm, vfm metrics (including cost-benefit measures), Unit costs, Scalability, Comparators, Overall VfM RAG rating: red/amber/green.
  • Aid effectiveness and value for money aid: complementary or divergent agendas as we head towards HLF-4. (March 2011)  This ODI, ActionAid and UK Aid Network public event was called “to reflect on approaches dominating the debate in advance of the OECD’s 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4); explore the degree to which they represent complimentary or divergent agendas; and discuss how they might combine to help ensure that HLF-4 is a turning point in the future impact of aid.” The presentations of three of the four speakers are available on this site. Unfortunately DFID’s presentation, by Liz Ditchburn– Director, Value for Money, DFID, is not available.
  • BOND Value for Money event (3 February 2011). “Bond hosted a half day workshop to explore this issue in more depth. This was an opportunity to take stock of the debates on Value for Money in the sector, to hear from organisations that have trialled approaches to Value for Money and to learn more about DFID’s interpretation of Value for Money from both technical and policy perspectives.” Presentations were made by (and are available): Oxfam, VSO, WaterAid, HIV/AIDS Aliliance, and DFID (Jo Abbot, Deputy Head Civil Society Department). There was also a prior BOND event in January 2011 on Value for Money, and presentations are also available, including an undated National Audit Office Analytical framework for assessing Value for Money
    • [RD Comment]The DFID presentation on “Value for Money and Civil Society”  is notable in the ways that it seeks to discourage NGOs from over investing efforts to measure Value for Money, and its emphasises on the continuity of DFIDs approach to assessing CSO proposals. The explanation of Value for Money is brief, captured in two statements: “optimal use of resources to get desired outcomes” and “maximum benefit for the resources requested”. To me this reads as efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  • The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI)’s January 2011online consultation contrasts Value for Money reviews with Evaluations, Reviews and Investigations, as follows.
    • Value for money reviews: judgements on whether value for money has been secured in the area under examination. Value for money reviews will focus on the use of resources for development interventions.
    • Evaluations: the systematic and objective assessment of an on-going or complete development intervention, its design, implementation and results. Evaluations will focus on the outcome of development interventions.
    • Reviews: assessments of the performance of an intervention, periodically or on an ad hoc basis. Reviews tend to look at operational aspects and focus on the effectiveness of the processes used for development interventions.
    • Investigations:a formal inquiry focusing on issues around fraud and corruption.
      • [RD comment] The ICAI seems to take a narrower view than the National Audit Office, focusing on economy and efficiency and leaving out effectiveness – which within its perspective would be covered by evaluations.



  • Measuring the Impact and Value for Money of Governance & Conflict Programmes Final Report December 2010 by Chris Barnett, Julian Barr, Angela Christie,  Belinda Duff, and Shaun Hext. “The specific objective stated for our work on value for money (VFM) in the Terms of Reference was: “To set out how value for money can best be measured in governance and conflict programming, and whether the suggested indicators have a role in this or not”. This objective was taken to involve three core tasks: first, developing a value for money approach that applies to both the full spectrum of governance programmes, and those programmes undertaken in conflict-affected and failed or failing states; second, that the role of a set of suggested indicators should be explored and examined for their utility in this approach, and, further, that existing value for money frameworks (such as the National Audit Office’s use of the 3Es of ‘economy, efficiency and effectiveness’) should be incorporated, as outlined in the Terms of Reference.”
  • Value for Money: How are other donors approaching ‘value for money’ in their aid programming? Question and answer on the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre Help Desk, 17 September 2010.
  • Value for Money (VfM) in International Development NEF Consulting Discussion Paper, September 2010. Some selective quotes: “While the HM Treasury Guidance provides principles for VfM assessments, there is currently limited guidance on how to operationalise these in the international development sector or public sector more generally. This has led to confusion about how VfM assessments should be carried out and seen the proliferation of a number of different approaches.” …”The HM Treasury guidance should inform the VfM framework of any publicly-funded NGO in the development sector. The dark blue arrow in Figure 1 shows the key relationship that needs to be assessed to determine VfM. In short, this defines VfM as: VfM = value of positive + negative outcomes / investment (or cost)”
  • [RD Comment:] Well now, having that formula makes it so much easier (not), all we have to do is find the top values, add them up, then divide by the bottom value :-(
  • What is Value for Money? (July 2010) by the Improvement Network (Audit Commission, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), Leadership Centre for Local Government, NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement).  “VfM is about achieving the right local balance between economy, efficiency and effectiveness, the 3Es – spending less, spending well and spending wisely” These three attributes are each related to different stages of aid delivery, from inputs to outcomes, via this diagram.
  • [RD comment]: Reading this useful page raises two interesting questions. Firstly, how does this framework relate to the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria? Is it displacing them, as far as DFID is concerned? It appears so, given its appearance in the Terms of Reference for the contractors who will do the evaluation work for the new Independent Commission for Aid Impact. Ironically, the Improvement Network makes the following comments about the third E, (effectiveness) which suggests that the DAC criteria may be re-emerging within this new framework: “Outcomes should be equitable across communities, so effectiveness measures should include aspects of equity, as well as quality. Sustainability is also an increasingly important aspect of effectiveness.” The second interesting question is how Value for Money is measured in aggregate, taking into account all three Es. Part of the challenge is with effectiveness, where it is noted that effectivenessis a measure of the impact that has been achieved, which can be either quantitative or qualitative.” Then there is the notion that Value for Money is about a “balance” of the three Es. “VfM is high when there is an optimum balance between all three elements – when costs are relatively low, productivity is high and successful outcomes have been achieved.” On the route to that heaven there are multiple possible combinations of states of economy (+,-), efficiency (+,-) and effectiveness (+,-). There is no one desired route or ranking. Because of these difficulties Sod’s Law will probably apply and attention will focus on what is easiest to measure i.e. economy or at the most, efficiency. This approach seems to be evident in earlier government statements about DFID: “International Development Minister Gareth Thomas yesterday called for a push on value for money in the UN system with a target of 25% efficiency savings.”….”The UK is holding to its aid commitments of 0.7 % of GNI.  But for the past five years we have been expected to cut 5% from our administration or staffing costs across Government. 5% – year on year”






The Editor’s suggestion

1. Dont seek to create an absolute measure of the Value for Money for a single activity/project/program/intervention

2. Instead, create a relative measure of  the VfM found within a portfolio of activities, by using a rank correlation. [This measure then be used to compare VfM across different types of portfolios]

  • 1. Rank the entities (activities/projects…) by cost of the inputs, and
    • Be transparent about which costs were included/excluded e.g partner’s own costs, other donor contributions etc,)
  • 2. Rank the the same set of entities by their perceived effectiveness or impact (depending on the time span of interest)
    • Ideally this ranking would be done through a participatory ranking process (see Refs below), and information would be available on the stakeholders who were involved
    • Where multiple stakeholder groups were consulted, any aggregation of their rankings would be done using transparent weighting values and information would also be available on the Standard Deviation of the rankings given to the different entities. There is likely to be more agreement across stakeholders on some rankings than others.
    • Supplementary information would be available detailing how stakeholders explained their ranking. This is best elicited through pair comparisons of  adjacent sets of ranked entities.
      • That explanation is likely to include a mix of:
        • some kinds of impacts being more valued by the stakeholders than others, and
        • for a given type of impact there being evidence of more rather than less of that kind of impact, and
        • where a given impact is on the same scale, there being better evidence of that impact
  • 3. Calculate the rank correlation between the two sets of rankings. The results will range between these two extremities:
    • A high positive correlation (e.g. +0.90): here the highest impact is associated with the highest cost ranking, and the lowest impact is associated with the lowest cost ranking. Results are proportionate to investments. This would be the more preferred finding, compared to
    • A high negative correlation (e.g -0.90): here the highest impact is associated with lowest cost ranking, but the lowest impact is associated with the highest cost ranking. Here the more you increase your investment the less you gain, This is the worst possible outcome.
    • In between will be correlations closer to zero, where there is no evident relationship between cost and impact ranking.
  • 4. Opportunities for improvement would be found by doing case studies of “outliers”, found when the two rankings are plotted against each other in a graph. Specifically:
    • Positive cases, whose rank position on cost is conspicuosly lower than their rank position on impact.
    • Negative cases, whose rank position on impact is conspicuosly lower than their rank position on cost.

PS: It would be important to  disclose the number of entities that have been ranked. The more entities there are being ranked the more precise the rank correlation will be. However, the more entities there are to rank the harder it will be for participants and the more likely they will use tied ranks. A minimum of seven rankable entities would seem desirable.

For more on participatory ranking methods see:

PS: There is a UNISTAT plugin for Excel that will produce rank correlations, plus much more.

Value for Money: How are other donors approaching ‘value for money’ in their aid programming?

….A question posed to the Research Helpdesk of the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre

“Key findings: DFID appears to have gone the furthest among aid agencies in developing the concept of ‘value for money’ (VFM). It is the only agency that explicitly uses the terminology frequently in its policies and procedures and has a Value for Money department. DFID’s approach to VFM involves assessing whether level of results achieved represent good value for money against the costs incurred. Processes include the use of logframes, economic appraisals and portfolio reviews. Newer initiatives include the adoption of a business case model for project approval and the development of unit cost metrics in key sectors. Other donors, while not explicitly adopting ‘value for money’ terminology, aim to achieve VFM through rigorous economic analysis and results-based management.

The ‘value for money’ agenda has also been linked to efforts to improve accountability and transparency. This requires strengthening audit bodies, parliaments, media, civil societies and independent watchdogs such that they can hold government to account for spending. It also involves greater transparency, in particular publishing information on projects and allocation of funds.”

Full response:

House of Commons International Development Committee interviews DFID

…specifically, Nemat (Minouche) Shafik, Permanent Secretary, Department for International Development, and her colleagues, on Tuesday 16 November at 10.30am, on the subject of DFID in 2009-10 and the Resource Accounts 2009-10. The proceedings can be viewed here on Parliament TV

Some of the questions asked:

  • You have a sharply rising budget yet your core administration budget is being cut…
  • We have expressed concerns about how well can you deliver a rising budget in that situation..
  • How are these cuts being applied?…
  • How do you differentiate between running costs and core administration costs?
  • Will you have to spend more money through multilaterals?
  • Will you be taking advantage of DFID staff commitments to their work by placing additional demands on them?
  • What are the most important risks with this reduction? And how are you seeking to mitigate them?
  • People are going to ask, how come they could make such big changes, surely there must have been some  bad management in the past…
  • There is a concern that costs cutting is the driving force, before you have even decided what you are trying to do,… when more of your budget is in fragile states. Our concern is does it compromise your program? Our concern is that you cant say yet because you don’t know what your program is yet.
  • How are you considering bring more work in-house, from external consultants who are doing it now?
  • Do you expect some multilaterals to be rated “poor” in your assessment exercise, and that we would then stop funding such multilaterals?
  • and much more…

Some of the replies given:

  • DFID is cutting its core administration costs by a third…
  • Total operating costs will be going down from 6% to 2% …
  • The average amongst the DAC donors is 4.3% for admin costs
  • Admin costs have been going down about 5% a year for the last 4-5 years
  • Budget has doubled since 2003 but staff numbers have dropped by 20%
  • Peak staff numbers were 3000+ , but now below 2000 for some years now
  • In the past 1 in 3 were doing corporate work, now it is more like 1 in 5/6 doing corporate work
  • We have closed 35 of the smaller offices over the last 5 years
  • Focusing now on a smaller number of high priority countries
  • We will be asking CSOs we fund to be more transparent about their costs
  • Our spending on consultants will be much lower this year, from £19 million last year.
  • We have looked at 43 multilaterals, at their performance, scoring them on a 4 point scale, with the aim of funding those at the top of the scale [there are 11 different criteria being used]
  • We have not yet taken a view about what to do with poorly performing multilaterals. There may need to be case by case decisions
  • The spend on research will go up from 2.6% to 3% in the next budget period
  • and much more…

See also the HoC Public Accounts Committee meeting on Wednesday 10 November, discussing DFID’s Bilateral support to primary education (covered by a NAO report)

Witnesses: Minouche Shafik, Permanent Secretary, Jo Bourne, Acting Head of Profession, and Liz Ditchburn, Director, Value for Money, Department for International Development.  Questions they asked:

  • How do you know that it is DFID’s spending that is making the difference? (when its contribution to the overall education budget is so small in countries like India)
  • Have you done any work at all to assess the impact? Our money, invested through you?
  • You cant say “DFID got 5 million into school”
  • Where is the evidence that you have made a difference? How do you know that DFID expenditure increased enrollment in Kenya?
  • A billion pounds has gone into education,…you have to know where it is making a difference.
  • and much more,…some tough questions, many on attribution…

Re the questions about costs and efficiency, readers may be interested in my blog posting titled:  “The Worst Question to Ask About Charity”