DfID consulting fees spark new criticism

Justine Greening, U.K. secretary of state for international development. Photo by: DfID / CC BY

The Department for International Development’s spending on consultants increased markedly toward the end of last year, according to a news report that is sure to add pressure on the U.K. aid chief to speed up an internal spending review.

Spending on consulting fees shot up from 31.7 million pounds ($50.8 million) in September to 45.9 million pounds the following month, a 44.7 percent increase, The Telegraph reported Jan. 10, citing unnamed Whitehall sources.

Justine Greening called for an internal review on DfID spending on consultants days after assuming the role of secretary of state for international development in September, as Devex reported.

DfID has yet to confirm the data cited by The Telegraph, a conservative-leaning paper that has been critical of U.K.’s ring-fenced aid budget in the past. But the report is sure to fuel the anger of those who have criticized Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to ring-fence the country’s aid budget at a time of drastic domestic cuts. DfID’s 2013 budget is 11.3 billion pounds. The government has reaffirmed its commitment to spend 0.7 percent of its gross national income on foreign aid  and put it into law  by the end of 2013 in a midterm review of its foreign aid program released Jan. 7.

The report also comes on the heels of a contentious, DfID-funded education campaign in Pakistan, as well as allegations that the department plans to fund the training of special police forces in Ethiopia that have been accused of human rights abuses - a charge DfID has dismissed.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.