VII. CONCLUSIONS: THE MISSING MIDDLE
70. DFID's evolution since its establishment in 1997
is impressive. DFID is widely recognised as one of the leading
development agencies. But, if DFID is to maximise its contribution
to the attainment of the MDGs, there is no room for complacency.
The Departmental Report provides a useful account of DFID's responsibilities
, activities, and spending plans andin a more limited mannerits
internal organisation and contribution to international efforts
to meet the MDGs. There is however, something of a gap, or as
Howard White and David Booth have termed it, a "missing middle".
This allegation was levelled initially at the first generation
of DFID's Country Strategy Papers,
but it is also relevant to DFID's Departmental Report and the
picture it paints of DFID's activities.
71. The Departmental Report fails to make DFID's
strategythe ways in which it integrates the cycle of development
policy and practice, and the role it identifies for itself within
the international systemsufficiently clear. The picture
painted in the Departmental Report is, to paraphrase the forthcoming
Development Effectiveness Report, one of an organisation which
has lots of strategies, but is not a strategic organisation.
Processes of development are bewilderingly complex, but there
must beat least in DFID's organisational subconsciousa
strategic framework which provides the basis for DFID's policy,
planning and development interventions.
72. This is not a new criticism of DFID. Indeed DFID
has made some improvements in this regard and actually does well
in comparison with most donors, particularly with its Target Strategy
Papers which seek to link the MDGs to DFID's activities. The new
PSA, the sectoral advisory groups, and most especially the new
Country Assistance Plans are intended to provide a clearer link
between DFID's objectives and targets and its planned interventions.
Developing countries' Poverty Reduction Strategies play an important
role too in making this link. As the Departmental Report states:
"Wherever possible, DFID is seeking to determine its priorities
according to countries' nationally owned and led poverty reduction
We welcome these developments and expect that they will go some
way to filling in the missing middle. We will be monitoring developments
closely, hoping, with DFID, that such changes will make DFID an
even more effective development agency. It is our belief that
by setting out more clearly its strategy and distinctive role,
DFID will become more accountable, andby facilitating learning
and improving its organisational performancemake itself
a better partner and a more effective development agency.
73. The Departmental Report has an important role
to play in setting out DFID's strategic framework, and showing
how DFID integrates the cycle of development policy and practice.
It should provide us, and other interested parties, with the information
we need to keep track of DFID's progress. As such, we expect
next year's Departmental Report to make further progress towards
the goal of providing clear answers to the following questions:
· What are DFID's objectives and how
is the achievement of these objectives expected to contribute
to the achievement of the MDGs?
· What resources does DFID have to achieve
its objectives, and how have these resources been allocated, both
by objective and by country?
· What is DFID's model of poverty and
of the obstacles to achieving its poverty reduction objective,
and how does this model inform DFID's policy, activities and spending?
· What activities has DFID been engaged
in in pursuit of its objectives, and where, and what have been
the results of these activities?
· How does DFID monitor and evaluate
its activities and their contribution to achieving the MDGs, and
test and develop its model of poverty and its overall strategy
for the elimination of poverty?
89 "Using development goals to design country
strategies", chapter 4 in Targeting development: Critical
perspectives on the Millennium Development Goals and International
Development Targets, edited by Richard Black and Howard White,
Routledge, 2002. Back
How effective is DFID? An independent review of DFID's organisational
and development effectiveness. DFID Evaluation Report, EV639.
Final pre-publication draft. Back
DFID Departmental Report 2002, page 36. See footnote 1 for web-site. Back