Following the money: the UK’s groundbreaking plans on traceability

  • Nov. 8, 2016

The UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) has released new plans to require all organisations both receiving and spending their funds to publish to the IATI Standard.

Announced as part of the recent Civil Society Partnership Review, the change will enable spending to be tracked through the delivery chain, bringing IATI one step closer to our vision of charting money through the system from origin right down to the point of delivery.

DFID already requires centrally funded Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to publish their spending to the standard set by IATI. Now, this valuable information will be available from all other organisations in their delivery chains.

Currently Bond, the UK’s membership body for development NGOs, provides training and ongoing technical support to CSOs help them publish to IATI’s Standard and DFID will work “collaboratively with both Bond and other donor governments” to help reduce the reporting process for CSOs who publish IATI data.

DFID’s plans are set out in the Transparency section of the Review (p14):

Transparency is vital for both CSO legitimacy and accountability to both the taxpayer and the intended beneficiaries of DFID funding. UK CSOs are leading the world on progress in transparency. However, the quality and completeness of the material published varies. This can result in data that is difficult to use and reduce the transparency of the overall flow of aid. The challenge now is to ensure that transparency data is actually used to improve development effectiveness. DFID will make it a key requirement to enhance the quality and use of data. At a minimum, by the end of 2017, centrally funded CSOs will be required to meet the full International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard on all their funding, and ensure that all the organisations in their delivery chain also meet the standard. DFID will continually review its transparency requirements, with a view to expanding and enhancing them in the coming months and years. DFID will work collaboratively with both Bond and other donor governments to explore the possibility of reducing DFID reporting requirements where CSOs proactively publish their data through IATI.