International Development – Question

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that funds allocated to international development are spent in accordance with their objectives.

Baroness Northover: My Lords, the Government are focusing on delivering specific results and better value for money through our programmes. DfID is measuring the results and making them transparent so that the Government can be held to account. The Secretary of State for International Development has also established the Independent Commission for Aid Impact to provide independent assurance that UK aid is being spent properly and is achieving the desired impacts. The commission reports directly to Parliament through the International Development Select Committee.

Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that response. The Public Accounts Committee in another place found recently that DfID had no systematic or comprehensive approach to quantifying the extent of foreign corruption and was unable to provide an estimate of the scale of leakage. Does the Minister agree that this is not acceptable, and what action are the Government taking to put this right to ensure that they secure value for money?

Baroness Northover: My Lords, it certainly would be unacceptable if this were the case. The report very much reflects the position of the past and takes little account, it seems to me, of the changes made by the coalition. For example, in 2009-10 about 43 per cent of known losses were recovered, whereas over the past year that has risen to 92 per cent. We have also transformed the way in which the department manages its finances so that spending is attached to tangible results, which are being rigorously scrutinised by the new independent aid watchdog that I referred to just now.

Updated: 29/11/2011 — 4:56 PM