A total of 14 indicators refer to documents. These documents are manually checked to verify that they contain the required information to score for the indicator. A minimum of five documents need to meet the required criteria to score for the indicator. For IATI publishers, the documents will be randomly selected from those projects that pass the tests for the relevant indicator. Data published to the IATI Registry on results, sub-national location and conditions will also be sampled to ensure it meets the criteria for those indicators.
We usually work with experts and national NGO platforms for aid effectiveness and development. For most of the EU member states, we approach the AidWatch/CONCORD platform, which then recommends members to us.
If the platform members are unable to conduct the review, we ask them to recommend other organisations to us. Where there is no national NGO platform, we work with CSOs we have partnered with in the past on the Index or in other advocacy efforts. For multilateral organisations or IFIs where there is no direct match with an NGO platform or CSO, we ask our peer reviewers to provide recommendations on who we can approach for the independent review. The independent review process is voluntary and unpaid. There are some organisations for whom we are unable to find independent reviewers. In these cases, Publish What You Fund undertakes the assessment.
Yes, we are always willing to engage with donors and discuss how they can increase their transparency. As well as some common issues, donors tend to have unique challenges to increasing their transparency (such as internal reporting or knowledge management systems). We are happy to provide information and support to donors. All donors will have an opportunity to review the data we collect for them and can provide us with clarifications and corrections as needed.
Most information is gathered from what is published online by each organisation – either on their website, on the IATI Registry or on national data platforms such as the U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard. Two indicators use secondary data sources, to assess the quality of Freedom of Information legislation and donor’s implementation schedules.
If the organisation is not an IATI publisher then all the information is collected via the manual survey. For organisations that are publishing to the IATI Registry, data collection follows a two-step process:
First, their data is run through the data quality tool of the Aid Transparency Tracker, which is designed to run automated checks and tests on each organisation’s data, providing both a comparative view across organisations and granular details on each organisation’s data. These tests are aggregated to produce scores for indicators to which they are relevant.
Next, for those indicators for which information is not published to the IATI Registry or does not pass the necessary tests, the data is collected via the manual survey.
All organisations are provided with an opportunity to review the assessments and provide us with any feedback for consideration. Surveys are also independently reviewed.
The 2016 Aid Transparency Index uses 39 indicators grouped into weighted categories, to assess how transparent donor organisations are about their aid activities. These categories cover overall commitment to aid transparency and publication of information at both organisation and activity level. Within the publication category, the organisation-level indicators account for 25% of the overall weight, while the activity-level indicators account for 65%. The two publication groups are further divided in subgroups, based largely upon the subgroups used in the Common Standard implementation schedules template. The subgroups are equally weighted.
The same methodology applies to all donors included in the Index. Funders can be included if they meet the set of criteria established to select donors for the Index. The complete list of Publish What You Fund’s funders is available at www.publishwhatyoufund.org/about-us/funders-2/
The Aid Transparency Index is primarily an assessment of activity-level information provided by large or influential agencies that are covered by transparency commitments. Where a ministry or equivalent parent organisation, distinct from an implementing agency, is responsible for funding, strategy or policy-making for the implementing agency, we look at information from both organisations. The resulting assessment often bears the name of both agencies assessed. For example, the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development is jointly assessed with its two major implementing agencies, GIZ and KfW. The resulting assessments are labelled BMZ-GIZ and BMZ-KfW respectively. In other cases where a ministry undertakes direct implementation, we separately assess them. For example, for Japan we include separate assessments for the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Aid Transparency Index assesses more than one agency for some large donors (EC, France, Germany, Japan, UN, U.S. and the World Bank) with multiple ministries or organisations responsible for significant proportions of ODA. We have opted to maintain the disaggregation of agencies for several reasons. First, no two agencies from the same donor country or organisation in the Index score the same. There is often wide variation in the amount of information made available by different agencies in a single country or multilateral organisation. Second, agencies often retain a large amount of autonomy in deciding how much information they make available and have different publication approaches, and should therefore be held accountable for them. Third, it would be unfair for high performing agencies within a country or organisation to be pulled down by lower performing agencies, and similarly lower performing agencies should not have their poor performance masked in an average score. Finally, it is unclear how we can aggregate agencies into a single country or organisation score in a way that reflects wide variations in performance. It would be necessary to take into account the proportion of a country’s aid delivered by each separate agency in order to create an aggregate country ranking that fairly reflects that country’s level of aid transparency and this information is not always available.
The list of organisations included in the 2016 Index has been revised. Having reviewed the criteria for donor selection it has been decided that the 2016 Index will concentrate on fewer, bigger donors, as well as those that are instrumental in advancing the course of aid transparency. The 2016 Index ranks 46 agencies – 45 of the donors that were included in the 2014 and 2013 Indices have been retained. The United Arab Emirates has been included for the first time due to the increasingly influential role being played by the UAE in international development and the importance of transparency in the post-2015 Agenda.