The Newton Fund review: report of the Sub-Committee on the work of ICAI Contents

1Introduction

1.The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is an independent advisory non-departmental public body created by the Government in 2011 to provide independent evaluation of the impact and value for money of all UK Government Official Development Assistance (ODA).1 In 2015, the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act also established a duty on the Government to “ … make arrangements for the independent evaluation of the extent to which ODA provided by the United Kingdom represents value for money in relation to the purposes for which it is provided.”2 ICAI describes its role as “scrutiny of UK aid to ensure it is spent effectively for those who need it most, and delivers value for UK taxpayers.”3 It reports to Parliament through the International Development Committee.

2.As previously, the International Development Committee appointed a Sub-Committee on the work of ICAI at its first meeting (3 March 2020). The role of this Sub-Committee is to scrutinise the work of ICAI by examining the Commission’s reviews and assessing Departments’ responses to those. The Sub-Committee works alongside, and reports to, the International Development Committee, which retains responsibility for monitoring ICAI’s own performance and effectiveness.

3.The report set out below is the first from the Sub-Committee and marks an evolution of the previous practice of letting the oral evidence speak for itself. The necessary procedure is that the Sub-Committee takes evidence and considers and agrees a report to the main Committee which then, in turn, considers and agrees it for publication. What follows is a report setting out the evidence, conclusions and recommendations of the Sub-Committee, which were agreed by the main Committee.

4.We are very grateful for the evidence provided by ICAI, the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy, and UK Research and Innovation in this process and we look forward to receiving the response from BEIS.


2 International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015, section 5

3 ICAI, ‘About us’, accessed 2 June 2020




Published: 15 June 2020