DFID Recognises the ‘Powerful Case’ for Parliamentary Strengthening to be Improved

The following is taken from the March Global Partners Governance newsletter. If you would like to subscribe you can sign up on our home page here, or email us on hello@gpgovernance.net

In March DFID formally responded to the House of Commons International Development Committee’s suggestions that DFID make parliamentary strengthening central to all its governance work, published here.

GPG believes that the government’s response is a positive step in that it acknowledges the centrality of parliaments to achieving DFID’s international development objectives including poverty reduction, economic growth and security.  We also welcome DFID’s emphasis on finding new methods to make parliamentary assistance projects more effective, and we hope that the recommendations will lead to better ways of designing, delivering, measuring and, crucially, procuring such programmes.

The IDC’s original report criticised DFID, first, for failing to accord parliamentary strengthening much importance within their governance work, and second, for failing to utilise properly the expert practitioners that exist within the UK.  As such it called for higher levels of funding, earmarked for such projects, as well urging DFID to find new ways to make greater use of UK-based expertise.

Although DFID’s response only ‘partially’ agrees with these suggestions, and is disappointingly vague on specifics, we welcome DFID’s commitment to improve communication with UK organisations and look forward to working with DFID in their efforts to improve the procurement process and the diversity of suppliers.

GPG also looks forward to greater collaboration with WFD and other organisations to co-ordinate UK expertise, enhance capacity and extend the scope for such organisations to provide a more professional approach to parliamentary strengthening.

Lastly, we regard DFID’s commitment to improving impact and finding new ways of measuring change as pivotal to the future of political programming.  As the response points out, “All development is political, and is about fundamental change in the countries where we work.”

GPG has long argued that such fundamental change is about altering political behaviour more than institutional structure – and judging programme effectiveness requires entirely new ways of thinking about project design and delivery.  We will shortly publish our own approach to political programming and our KAPE methodology for measuring project impact.  We hope this will be a valuable contribution to the debate about doing development differently, and we look forward to supporting DFID’s efforts to find new KPIs and other measures.


GPG Director, Greg Power, presented oral evidence to the International Development Committee on the 18 November 2014 following a written submission. View our evidence below.

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