Accurate, comprehensive and independent evaluation of aid programmes is pivotal for poverty reduction. Without it, it is impossible to appreciate the structure, operation and extent of participants’ lesson-learning as regards aid programmes.
It is difficult to judge the quality and robustness of evaluation across the donor community. However, in terms of policy and procedures a number of donors could be said to display best practice – having independent (of programme management) evaluation departments, results of evaluations being reported directly to parliaments and strong follow-up procedures on evaluation findings. These include, the Danish, Dutch and Swedish development ministries.
The international NGO community also face significant challenges around evaluation. Indeed, there is much more that can be done to promote robust, independent and useful evaluation of development programs across the development community.
Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI)
On 29 October 2010 the UK Government unveiled the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI), a new independent body intended to ensure aid projects are delivering maximum value for money. The Commission is totally independent from Government, with completely separate decision-making powers, staff and location from the Department for International Development. It produces around 20 reports a year, using a traffic light system to rate the effectiveness of aid programmes.
The Commission published its Annual Report 2012/13 in June 2013.The UK Parliament’s International Development select committee subsequently held an evidence session into ICAI’s report in the summer of 2013. UKAN welcomed ICAI’s report as it addressed points we had previously raised. In particular, ICAI has:
- taken steps to ensure a better mix of expertise in its report teams,
- introduced procedures to reduce the scope for conflicts of interest for members of report teams,
- and revised the definitions of its traffic light system and introduced the system for some individual programmes and sectors as well
ICAI reports can be downloaded from its Publications page.
For further information