Today ICAI published a performance review, drafted by Agulhas, of DFID’s partnerships with civil society organisations.

The UK government has been funding CSOs since long before the establishment of the Department for International Development (DFID) in 1997, but the volume and modalities of funding to CSOs has changed over time.

DFID’s current approach to working with civil society is set out in its 2016 Civil Society Partnership Review (CSPR). The CSPR ushered in significant changes to how DFID funds CSOs at a time when CSOs were also adapting to fast-changing operational contexts.

ICAI found that DFID values civil society organisations (CSOs), but its funding and partnership practices do not fully support the long-term health of the civil society sector.

ICAI made the following recommendations:

  1. DFID should fill gaps in the knowledge needed to optimise the design of its central funding instruments.
  2. Throughout DFID’s central and in-country portfolios, the process towards funding agreements should be more efficient, predictable, reliable and transparent.
  3. Throughout its central and in-country portfolios, DFID should have a stronger focus on the long-term results of its CSO-implemented programmes, the localisation of development and humanitarian efforts, and its CSO partners’ long-term capacity.
  4. DFID should do more to encourage CSO-led innovation.
  5. DFID should provide a guiding framework for country offices on how to analyse and respond to closing civic space within a national context.

Press coverage: Bond, Public Finance International, The Sun

Read the report