DfID Financial Reports Show High Administrative Costs

A British Airways plane flies over the Windsor Castle. Expenditures for business class flights, travel allowances, life coaching classes and hotel accommodations make up a considerable portion of the U.K. Department for International Development's budget, based on the spending reports from the agency. Photo by: Francisco Antunes / CC BY Francisco AntunesCC BY

Spending reports published by the Department for International Development show that the bulk of the department’s budget appears to have been spent extravagantly on business class flights, travel allowances, life coaching classes and hotel accommodations, the Daily Telegraph says.

The U.K.-based newspaper notes that a senior DfID official claimed 1,500 pounds (USD2,326.86) to cover “life, career and pre-retirement coaching” while six other senior officials spent more than 26,000 pounds on air fare for 16 flights.

DfID requires staff of fly economy except if there is a “good and clear business case” to take a premium economy or business flight, the Daily Telegraph says. The newspaper notes that spending figures show flying coach seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell explained that the majority of the claims outlined in the spending report were made during the Labour party’s regime.

“By contrast, the Coalition Government has committed DfID to cutting administration costs by a third and is putting value for money at the heart of its work,” the newspaper quotes Mitchell. “This includes changing DfID’s travel policy to reduce costs, saving around 3 million pounds per year.”

“We will also be reducing the costs of our corporate ‘back office’ by 8 million pounds per year, reducing the number of senior civil servants to save 2 million pounds a year, and renting out three floors of DfID HQ,” he added. 

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.