John served as a Devex News correspondent based in London in 2010, covering DfID and U.K. aid reform. During a 10-year stint at the Sunday Times in the '80s and '90s, he was shortlisted as reporter of the year at the U.K. Press Awards, one of several accolades he has received. John has worked for the Independent and Conde Nast Traveller, among other publications. Most recently, he served as publisher of Christian Aid News, part of his role as head of media for Christian Aid.
<p>Organizations seeking foreign assistance funding from DfID should keep in mind the new U.K. administration’s watchwords transparency, accountability and “value for money.” Devex spoke with DfID’s civil society chief about increasingly stringent grant-making procedures and matching funds requirements of a popular program that could soon illustrate just who might win and who might lose under the country’s ongoing aid reform.</p>
<p>The U.K.‘s nonprofit scene has been worrying about how exactly the new administration’s focus on transparency and accountability will affect foreign aid procurement. In the second part of Devex’s exclusive interview with Andrew Mitchell, the U.K. secretary of state for international development addresses these concerns and discusses how civil society will best be able to secure DfID funding now.</p>
In an exclusive interview with Devex, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell discusses his administration’s ongoing bilateral, multilateral and humanitarian aid reviews as well as upcoming aid reform milestones. He also shares his strategy for winning the British public’s support for foreign assistance funding increases.
The Liberal Democrats are generally regarded as the darlings of the U.K. international development sector. The problem has been that these policies have previously formed nothing more meaningful than a wish list, because the LibDems are the perennial third force in electoral politics – with no chance of holding power. This, dramatically, could be about to change.
In the U.K., the Conservatives’ aid reform plans have raised fears that the party, if elected on May 6, may erode DfID influence and subordinate development goals to political or military interests. Still, many of the party’s ideas have won widespread praise, and the NGO sector’s attitude towards a future Conservative administration can best be summarized as one of nervous anticipation.
As the U.K.‘s general election campaign heats up, the international development community – and especially the country’s influential NGOs – are scrutinizing the Labour Party’s track record while reading the tea leaves on plans to improve aid effectiveness and reform procurement procedures.
The debate over U.K. development assistance will come to a head this weekend, as party leaders outline their reform ideas on World Poverty Day, an event convened by the Bond alliance of British development NGOs. With the May 6 general election fast approaching, candidates are expected to tread carefully.