AID TRANSPARENCY ANALYSIS
The ATI assesses the transparency of three UK government departments: the Department for International Development (DFID), which is responsible for nearly 90% of the UK’s ODA; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO); and the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
- The UK is a leader on aid transparency globally and was a founding signatory to IATI in 2008. In January 2011, DFID was the first donor agency internationally to begin publishing to the IATI standard and hosted the IATI Secretariat until September 2013. The UK has also endorsed the Open Aid Partnership.
- The UK is a founder member of the OGP and produced a National Action Plan in 2011, coordinated by the Cabinet Office, that committed all UK government departments spending aid to publish to IATI. The following six government departments and public bodies are now publishing directly to the IATI Registry: the CDC Group (the UK’s DFI), the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), DFID, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), FCO and the Home Office. CDC, DECC, DFID and the FCO have all published implementation schedules.
- All UK government departments produced open data strategies in June 2012, to accompany a Cabinet Office white paper on open data. Cabinet Office is responsible for government-wide transparency and open data.
The 2013 Index shows the three UK departments at very different stages of transparency. DFID, in the very good category, remains a leader in aid transparency and attitudes to open data for development. The FCO has made the political and technical commitment to greater transparency, but is still in the process of implementing fundamental changes to its publishing approach. MOD, in the very poor category, remains unresponsive to calls for greater transparency. On average, the UK performs better than other major bilateral donors including the U.S., France, Germany and Japan, though this is primarily due to DFID’s excellent performance.
- The UK should include more stretching commitments to implement IATI fully in its revised OGP National Action Plan. All implementing partners of UK aid, including private contractors, should be required to publish to IATI by 2015.
- As the department responsible for promoting the release of government data, Cabinet Office should work with aid-spending departments to develop individual timelines and commitments to greater transparency, including publication to IATI by all such departments.
- The UK should ensure that IATI publication is built into the forthcoming Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, which replaces the joint DFID-FCO-MOD Conflict Pool.