Partner Organizations

  • Department for International Development

    Department for International Development

    The UK government believes it is in all our interests to help poor people build a better life for themselves. So in 1997 it created a separate government department - the Department for International Development (DFID) - to meet the many challenges of tackling world poverty. It is DFID’s job to make sure UKaid works its hardest to help the world’s poor.

    Our structure and staff

    DFID is the part of the UK government that manages Britain's aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty. We are led by a cabinet minister, one of the senior ministers in the government. This in itself is a sign of how determined is the UK government to tackle poverty around the world.

    We work in 150 countries and have 2,600 staff, half of whom work abroad. We have headquarters in London and East Kilbride, near Glasgow, and 64 offices overseas.

    Our work is guided by two sets of targets. First, we are working to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the international targets agreed by the United Nations (UN) to halve world poverty by 2015. Second, the government’s Public Service Agreement (PSA) sets objectives and targets by which we measure our progress towards this aim.

    We work with governments of developing countries as well as charities, businesses and international bodies, including the World Bank, UN agencies and the European Commission. All our partners share our ambition to achieve the MDGs.

    In 2008/09 we provided £5.5 billion of aid to poorer countries. Our budget will increase to £7.8 billion by 2010/11. By 2013, the equivalent of 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income will be dedicated to development assistance, from 0.36% in 2007/08.

    What is the legal basis for our work?

    The legal basis for our work is the International Development Act 2002. The act allows the secretary of state for international development (the cabinet minister who heads DFID) to provide aid for sustainable development and welfare. But the secretary of state must make sure that the aid is likely to contribute to reducing poverty. Under the act, British aid cannot be tied to British goods and services. (Since 1997, governments receiving aid from the UK have been free to use suppliers who compete on price, quality and service alone.)

    We also work within the International Development Act (Reporting and Transparency) 2006. This act requires the secretary of state to report every year on how much we have spent on aid, how effective it has been in reducing poverty and how much we have given to poor countries.

    The National Audit Office (NAO) keeps a watch on public spending for parliament. It audits the accounts of all government departments and agencies, including DFID.

    The NAO reports to the Parliament and the Public Accounts Committee, which analyses the value for money of our work. In parliament, the International Development Committee (IDC) scrutinises our annual report and also holds inquiries into particular areas of our work.

    Our values

    Our values set out how we mean to live up to our strategic aim of halving world poverty by 2015. Over the next three years, we expect to have a more flexible and influential workforce in a more challenging yet supportive sphere of work.

    Our values include:

    • ambition and determination to eliminate poverty
    • diversity and the need to balance work and private life
    • ability to work effectively with others
    • desire to listen, learn and be creative
    • professionalism and knowledge.
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