Major Donors: United Kingdom


Aid Transparency Analysis for United Kingdom

UPDATE: For 2013 Aid Transparency Index scores, please see here.

Read all about the UK in our 2012 Aid Transparency Report Card.

The 2011 Pilot Index assessed the transparency of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK’s development finance institution, CDC Group. Five UK public bodies are included in the 2012 Index to provide a fuller account of UK aid transparency. They comprise four government departments — the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), DFID, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) — plus CDC.

Two UK organisations have signed IATI — DFID and CDC — though subsequent statements in the UK’s OGP National Action Plan suggest that all UK Government departments are included. The UK’s IATI data feed currently includes only DFID information, which comprises about 90% of UK ODA.

The UK is an active supporter of aid transparency globally. It has hosted IATI since 2008 and has endorsed the Open Aid Partnership. It is also a founding member of OGP, serving as a lead co-chair for a year from September 2012, and has included aid transparency in its OGP National Action Plan. The Plan, published in September 2011, promised a timetable within 12 months for implementation of IATI by all ODA-spending departments, which include DECC, the Export Credit Guarantee Department, FCO and MOD, as well as CDC and DFID.

A UK Aid Transparency Guarantee was announced in 2010, pledging to make aid “fully transparent”. A progress review was published in April 2012.71 All UK Government departments produced open data strategies in June 2012 to accompany a Cabinet Office white paper on open data.

The 2012 Index shows a wide range in the state of UK aid transparency: DFID was one of only two organisations to achieve a good score, ranking most transparent of all surveyed organisations in the 2012 Index; DECC was moderate, with 49.6%; MOD, CDC and FCO all scored in the poor category. This is generally reflective of the relative ambition, detail and mindset suggested by the recent open data strategies of DFID, MOD and FCO. The exceptions are DECC, whose strategy is not explicit about aid information but performs particularly well at the organisation level indictors; and CDC, which was not required to publish a strategy but is explicitly committed to IATI and has said that it will begin publishing imminently.

The UK should continue to lead on aid transparency by improving the quality of its IATI data and provide a refreshed implementation schedule by December 2012. Employing unique organisation identifiers for its implementing partners would allow DFID to be one of the first publishers to deliver on the exciting potential of traceability. It should also include private sector contractors in its requirement for implementing partners to publish to IATI.

IATI publication should be extended to other aid-spending departments and public bodies. The UK Government should produce an ambitious schedule for this implementation in line with its OGP commitment.