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Christian Aid response to the Independent Commission for Aid Impact's new report on DFID support for civil society organisations through Programme Partnership Agreements

17 May 2013 - Christian Aid today welcomes the findings of the UK’s independent aid watchdog, which has investigated how millions of pounds of aid money are spent through 41 civil society organisations.

The investigation examined the workings of the UK Department for International Development’s Programme Partnership Arrangements (PPA), which are one of the ways in which the Department funds organisations including Christian Aid.

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact’s (ICAI) investigation gave Christian Aid and others the chance to demonstrate how PPAs have improved our work against poverty and injustice. In addition, it has usefully identified how PPAs could be improved in future.

Christian Aid is pleased to see the Commission’s recognition that PPAs are encouraging recipient organisations to find new and better ways of helping people living in poverty – especially through better performance management and accountability for results.

We are especially encouraged by the finding that such changes are, in turn, likely to lead to better outcomes for the poor women, men and children with whom PPA-funded projects work. Interestingly, the Commission suggests that such benefits are likely to extend even to people who are helped by projects which are not funded by PPAs.

In Christian Aid’s case, the money (£7.25 million in 2011-12) we receive through our PPA with DFID pays for health-related projects. In addition, it funds work to help people make a better living in ways that also enable them to cope with problems such as disasters, conflict and climate change.

ICAI’s new report also identifies other PPA strengths. One is that the arrangements offer reliable funding which helps recipients to reach the poorest and most vulnerable people while remaining accountable to government and the British people for their use of public money.

In addition, the watchdog notes that the PPA system has helped recipients to respond rapidly to emerging crises and do important work for which fundraising can be difficult.

Christian Aid believes the ICAI plays a valuable role in scrutinising DFID and the effectiveness and efficiency of development aid. We look forward to working with DFID on some of the weaknesses identified by the Commission.  

An independent progress review of Christian Aid’s PPA work in 2012 found that Christian Aid had used DFID funding strategically and transparently to reach and, in several cases, exceed the results for which we had planned. The review supported Christian Aid’s value as a DFID partner and noted us as an ‘outstanding’ contributor to learning and improvements across the development sector.