UK aid is changing. While the Department for International Development (DFID) previously spent almost all UK aid, by 2020 this figure will only be 70%. It is important that whoever spends aid, it is focused on ending extreme poverty and is spent effectively and transparently.

The ONE Campaign has developed a new ‘Real Aid Charter’ which outlines these principles in more detail. The Real Aid Index assesses each UK Department that spends more than £100 million of aid and their top 3-5 programmes, against the principles in the Real Aid Charter.

We hope that the Real Aid Index will highlight best practice across all departments, and also encourage those that are not currently meeting the standards to identify what they can do to improve, to ensure that every pound of UK aid delivers maximum benefit to the world’s poorest people.

Select a department or programme

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DFID

Department for International Development: DFID remains the largest aid spending government department and was responsible for £10,220m of the aid budget in 2017. DFID’s largest ODA programmes include contributions to three multilateral organisations: the International Development Association (IDA); the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria; and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. DFID also makes a large contribution to the Commonwealth Development Corporation - the UK’s development finance institution. DFID’s largest bilateral programme provides assistance to some of the vulnerable people in South Sudan.

ODA in 2017:

£10,220 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

70%


Overall Score:

87.5%

FCO

Foreign & Commonwealth Office: In 2017 the FCO spent £1,052m in ODA. The FCO’s largest ODA programme (£115m) is a Chevening Scholarship Programme which supports students in developing countries to undertake postgraduate study in the UK. The FCO also spent the largest share of two cross-government programmes - the Prosperity Fund and the Conflict Stability and Security Fund. The FCO’s largest thematic programmes are focused on promoting human rights and good governance, and the largest bilateral programme is a Security and Justice Sector Building programme in Somalia.

ODA in 2017:

£1,052 million


Overall Score:

25%


Overall Score:

37.5%


Overall Score:

62.5%

BEIS

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy: In 2017, BEIS spent 5.4% of UK ODA amounting to a total of £765 million. BEIS spends ODA through three main delivery funds; the Newton Fund, the Global Challenges Research Fund and the International Climate Fund. BEIS seeks to grow the UK economy through business innovation and investment and its ODA programmes are research and climate focused. Top programmes include building agricultural and food system capacity and resilience, and researching complications in pregnancies in Africa.

ODA in 2017:

£765 million


Overall Score:

55.5%


Overall Score:

40%


Overall Score:

75%

DHSC

Department of Health and Social Care: DHSC spent £101 million in 2017 (0.7% of all UK ODA), which was more than double the amount of ODA spent in 2016 (£46 million). DHSC leads on the nation's health and social care and its ODA programmes are predominately global health research based in areas such as developing vaccines for infectious diseases. Other programmes include deploying health experts to support countries with a disease outbreak.

ODA in 2017:

£101 million


Overall Score:

91%


Overall Score:

37.5%


Overall Score:

43%

Home Office

In 2017 the Home Office spent £352m of the aid budget. The largest programme provides assistance to people seeking asylum in their first year in the UK. The Home Office runs the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, which relocates some of the most vulnerable refugees from the Middle East and North Africa region who have been affected by the crisis in Syria, and a similar Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Programme. The UK has committed £200m of the aid budget to support work to tackle modern slavery and the Home Office spends £7m of this budget annually. This includes bilateral programmes in Nigeria and Vietnam and a modern slavery innovation fund.

ODA in 2017:

£352 million


Overall Score:

24%


Overall Score:

25%


Overall Score:

25%

DFID: World Bank's International Development Association (UK contribution)

IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing low-income countries with loans and grants to support programmes that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve living conditions.

IDA scores well on poverty focus because it is targeted at low-income countries. It scores well on effectiveness because contracts are open to all nationalities, it supports country priorities and case studies of results are published.

Annual budget:

£820 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

80%

DFID: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (UK contribution)

GAVI is a public-private partnership to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world's poorest countries.

GAVI scores well on poverty focus because it targets the world's poorest countries. It scores well on effectiveness because contracts are open to all nationalities, developing countries play a key role in the fund, and detailed results are published.

Annual budget:

£338 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

100%

DFID: South Sudan Humanitarian Protection Programme

The programme provides food, shelter and access to water and health services to support people affected by conflict, drought and flooding in South Sudan.

The programmes scores well on poverty focus becasue South Sudan is one of the world's poorest and most fragile countries. Effectiveness is high because annual results are published and there is capacity building, although contracting is not fully open and it's not clear whether capacity building has taken place.

Annual budget:

£116 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

70%

DFID: Commonwealth Development Corporation

CDC aims to support the building of businesses throughout Africa and South Asia to create jobs and make a lasting difference to people's lives.

CDC scores well on poverty focus because more than 50% of investments are in LDCs and fragile states. It scores well on effectiveness because it invests in firms of all nationalities, it supports local businesses and publishes detailed information on results.

Annual budget:

£395 million


Overall Score:

80.5%


Overall Score:

90%

DFID: Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (UK contribution)

The GFATM mobilises and invests nearly $4bn a year to support programmes which tackle HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.

The GFATM scores well on poverty focus because of its focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Contracts are open to bidders of all nationality, developing countries and civil society are represented on the board, and detailed results are published.

Annual budget:

£317 million


Overall Score:

75%


Overall Score:

100%

FCO: Chevening Scholarship Programme

The Chevening Scholarship is an education programme which provides scholarships to enable graduates from 140 ODA-eligible countries to pursue postgraduate study at UK universities.

The programme scores poorly on poverty focus because it largely benefits students who already have undergraduate degrees. Scholarships are linked to UK universities, so the funds do not leave the UK. There is no information available about the expected results of the programme in terms of economic and social development in ODA-eligible countries.

Annual budget:

£56.4 million


Overall Score:

17%


Overall Score:

12.5%

FCO: Security & Justice Sector Capacity Building in Somalia

The programme aims to support mobilse courts and access to justice projects in Somalia.

Somalia is an LDC and justice is key for poverty reduction so this programme scores well against this criteria. There is no information about contracts, consultation or results and so the programme receives a low score for effectiveness.

Annual budget:

£10 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

20%

FCO: Prosperity Fund

The Prosperity Fund is a cross-government initiative which aims to reduce barriers to economic growth in order to reduce poverty and support delivery of the SDGs.

The fund scores poorly on poverty reduction because it targets middle-income countries, has mixed objectives and has faced criticism from the IDC and ICAI. It is assumed that UK companies will receive contracts, there is no evidence of alignment with country priorities and only case studies are published, not detailed results.

Annual budget:

£39 million spent by the FCO in 2017 out of a total budget of £46 million


Overall Score:

12.5%


Overall Score:

20%

FCO: Conflict Stability & Security Fund

The CSSF is a cross-government programme which aims to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries by strengthening peace and resilience.

The fund scores poorly on poverty reduction because, while we expect it to reach the 50% fragile states target, no information has been provided on country allocations. No information is provided on contracts and there is no evidence of consultation with developing countries. Some results focus on poverty reduction but results are not published systematically.

Annual budget:

£386 million spent by FCO in 2017 out of a total budget of £555 million


Overall Score:

12.5%


Overall Score:

30%

FCO: Frontline Diplomatic Enabling Activities

This programme supports FCO diplomatic staffing, estatement management, administrative and network costs in ODA eligible countries.

The programme scores poorly on poverty reduction because the primary objective is to support FCO diplomatic posts and it appears that less than 50% of funding is spent in LDCs or fragile states. There is no information on contracts awarded, no evidence of local consultation and no information is provided on the results achieved.

Annual budget:

£241 million


Overall Score:

12.5%


Overall Score:

0%

BEIS: Newton Fund

The Newton Fund aims to develop science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and social welfare of partner countries.

The Fund scores poorly on poverty focus because projects are heavily concentrated in China and support Chinese priorities. All deliverty partners who implement programmes are UK based. However, there is good evidence of collaboration with local agencies and clear evidence of results focus.

Annual budget:

£91.9 million


Overall Score:

16.7%


Overall Score:

50%

BEIS: Global Challenges and Research Fund

The GCRF aims to support research that addresses global challenges faced by developing countries, using UK research and innovation strengths.

The fund scores well on poverty focus because the largest programmes target Sub-Saharan Africa and/or global challenges which impact on poor people. There is good evidence of collaboration with developing countries and a strong focus on results, but the principle bidder for contracts must be from a UK academic institution, raising concerns about 'tied aid'.

Annual budget:

£250 million


Overall Score:

87.5%


Overall Score:

70%

BEIS: International Climate Fund

The ICF supports the UK Government's commitment to help developing countries address their climate change challenges.

The fund scores well on poverty focus becasue climate change is a key challenge for poor people. Funding is primarily channelled through the World Bank meaning that contracts are open to all nationalities, and information on results is made available via the Carbon Brief.

Annual budget:

£316 million spent by BEIS in 2017 out of a total budget of £1,160 million


Overall Score:

87.5%


Overall Score:

80%

DHSC: National Institute for Health Research (Units and Groups)

The NIHR supports researchers in global health, building on existing expertise in the UK and lower middle-income countries.

The programme scores well on poverty focus because it focuses on diseases that matter for poor people e.g. neglected tropical diseases. There is good evidence of collaboration with local researchers, but contracts are only open to UK universities and not all projects focus on the results that matter for poor people.

Annual budget:

£26.5 million


Overall Score:

91%


Overall Score:

56%

DHSC: Vaccines Project

The Vaccines Project contributes to preventing and reducing the likelihood of public health emergencies in Global Health Security.

The programme scores well on poverty focus due to the importance of vaccines for poverty reduction. It is also strong on reporting results, but so far all delivery partners have been UK based.

Annual budget:

£20 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

38%

DHSC: UK Public Health Rapid Support

The project supports a small team of experts that are ready to be deployed overseas quickly to support countries in responding to disease outbreaks.

The programme scores well on poverty focus because health emergencies can be very detrimental to poverty reduction. It scores 'moderate' on effectiveness because the research aspect is limited to UK Universities and information on results is patchy.

Annual budget:

£4 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

56%

DHSC: Fleming Fund

The Fleming Fund aims to improve laboratory capacity and diagnosis as well as data and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in LMICs.

The fund scores well on poverty reduction because it targets a key health priority and prioritises LDCs and fragile states. It scores 'moderate' on effectiveness because there is no information on contracts awarded, but good evidence on consultation and results.

Annual budget:

£44.2 million


Overall Score:

87.5%


Overall Score:

56%

DHSC: Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)

GAMRIF aims to coordinate and target investment globally in neglected and underinvested areas to stimulate investment in AMR R&D.

The project scores well on poverty focus because AMR is a key global challenge. It scores 'moderate' on effectiveness because results reporting is patchy.

Annual budget:

£8.3 million


Overall Score:

100%


Overall Score:

38%

Home Office: In Donor Refugee Costs

This project covers temporary assistance to refugees in the UK, including food, shelter, training and voluntary repatriation of asylum seekers.

Ths project scores poorly on poverty focus becasue the money is spent entirely in the UK and does not tackle a global challenge that matters for poor people. There is limited information on results and no evidence of contracts being open to all nationalities.

Annual budget:

£410 million


Overall Score:

24%


Overall Score:

25%

Home Office: Vulnerable Person's Resettlement Programme

The Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme targets the most vulnerable refugees, including people needing urgent medical treatment, people at risk of violence and women and children.

The project scores 'moderate' on poverty reduction because, while refugees are very vulnerable, there is limited information provided on which countries they come from and how vulnerable people are targeted. It scores poorly on effectiveness because no information is provided on results or contracting.

Annual budget:

£43 million


Overall Score:

43%


Overall Score:

25%

Home Office: Modern Slavery Programme

This programme aims to tackle modern slavery in high risk countries.

The project scores poorly on poverty focus because the target countries are not generally LDCs or fragile states. It scores poorly on effectiveness because contracts are largely awarded to UK companies, and there is limited information about the actual or expected results.

Annual budget:

£7 million


Overall Score:

24%


Overall Score:

19%

Key: Strong Moderate Weak

Learn more about the Real Aid Index

Five government departments now spend more than £100 million in ODA each year. The Real Aid Index is an assessment of how well these departments and the top 3-5 aid programmes that they manage are aligned with the Real Aid Charter. We measure the departments and programmes against the 3 core principles of the Real Aid Charter; poverty focus, effectiveness and transparency. We then give the departments and programmes a green (strong), amber (moderate) and red (weak) rating.

Download methodology and questions (PDF)

Download a summary of the results (PDF)