Thursday, 26 November 2009

Who will make them do it?

An interesting point has been raised by One World Trust in their recent study of development effectiveness initiatives run by NGO partnerships:

"self-regulatory initiatives frequently lack enforcement mechanisms...this can sometimes lead to free riding (signing up to the initiative purely to show the organisation in a good light - without any real action on the part of the NGO to implement)."

There's quite a fashion for self-regulatory NGO bodies: Global Effectiveness Framework for NGOs, G3, INGO Accountability Charter and the BOND Statement of Principles.

Few have a sanctioning mechanism.

How can donors and taxpayers effectively demand for rigorous, enforced regulation?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Queen announced Labour's draft bill for international development in her speech today.

It contains a legal obligation on the government to spend 0.7% of GNI from 2013 on official development assistance.

In my view laws shouldn't be introduced for the sole reason that they constrict future governments. One generation shouldn't dictate to another like that.

But there's a more important point about the debate over international development, which is overwhelmed by cries for more funding.

In other sectors these voices are at least matched by calls for improved effectiveness in the way funds are spent.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The wait of public interest

I heard yesterday that my Freedom of Information request to DfID for its project evaluation data has been rejected.

Apparently, disclosure could a) harm UK international relations b) prevent civil servants from doing their job and c) unlawfully identify individuals and their personal information.

I've vigorously argued each point (see the link for details) - and I've asked for an internal review of the decision. If anyone has any further suggestions for how I can pursue this then please let me know.

One glimmer of hope is that the exemptions applied for a) and b) are both subject to the 'public interest test', i.e. they can be over-ridden if the benefits of disclosure are great enough.

PS. One of DfID's 'Departmental Strategic Objectives' (i.e. what Minsters judge them on) is to improve the 'portfolio quality index' - a measure of the proportion of projects evaluated as successful. This measure runs off the performance data in ARIES - surely this is a strong public interest argument for disclosure?