HL Deb 10 June 1998 vol 590 cc87-8WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made in putting in place within both bilateral and multilateral overseas aid programmes performance indicators by which progress towards poverty elimination targets can be measured. [HL2118]

Lord Whitty

In the White Paper on International Development the Government have committed themselves to the international development targets (IDTs), based on UN conventions and resolutions, and to measuring progress against these targets. Measuring progress towards the targets, including that of poverty elimination, will require an international effort involving other bilateral and multilateral donors, and our development co-operation partners. The UK is actively involved in the work going on in the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, with other development agencies, and with partner countries, to formulate appropriate indicators. Progress will be assessed as often as practical; movement in some indicators may only be discernible over periods of two to three years. Performance against DFID's own objectives, which closely reflect the IDTs, will be monitored and summarised in the annual departmental report. In addition, the department is working on the design of a new output and performance analysis (OPA) statement, which will be produced annually. The OPA will explicitly link DFID's performance against its objectives with progress towards the targets. It will include indicators of the performance of multilateral development institutions.

Direct causal links between development assistance and the targets may be difficult to trace. No one donor can or should claim sole credit for development outcomes on this scale. But we expect to be able to demonstrate that we continue to have a strongly performing programme, closely focused on our objectives and reflecting our overall aim of poverty elimination. Each project in our portfolio is designed using the logical framework approach, which provides the basis for rigorous monitoring and impact assessment. A clearly defined purpose is identified for each project, along with indicators of achievement and means of verifying these indicators.

Our existing system for assessing the performance and impact of our programme includes project completion reports (PCRs), which are required for projects above £500,000, and ex-post evaluations, which look in detail at the sustainable impact of selected projects. In addition, analysis of performance of ongoing projects is becoming increasingly rigorous. Progress on projects above £500,000 is now assessed annually using performance ratings. DFID is developing a computerised performance reporting system for management (PRISM), which will bring together this and other information to facilitate the analysis of departmental impact.