Richard Moore, former deputy director of AusAid, a former aid agency of australia, has stated that 2,000 years of experience in the development had disappeared after the merger of the agency with the ministry of foreign Affairs and Trade in 2013. He predicted a loss of expertise similar in Great Britain, unless steps are taken. taken to retain staff.
“It will be very difficult to stop an exodus of talent, but the decisions that will be taken by the following will be critical to its scale,” said Moore. “Professionals will want to see international development as a goal of foreign policy, not only as a fig leaf to distribute money in the short term. They want their expertise to be recognised, valued and influential in decision-making. ”
In a review of the merger australian last year, Moore has found that the loss of development staff senior committed locally was “the greatest single impact on the quality of the management of development activities”. The new stand-alone ministry has lost its influence with key government partners and the main problems of international development. “Abandon the development does not work,” said Moore.Moore has interviewed managers of the government, private companies, civil society and the academic world. It was found that one-third saw more gains than losses of the new fusion, while a quarter thought that its impact was strongly negative. About 40% reported that if the basic systems continued to function properly, “the risks are increasing and the opportunities are being missed”.
Moore could see the similarities between mergers in australian and the uk.
“In both cases, the decision was political and based on unexamined assumptions and erroneous, rather than on a careful assessment of the provisions that would best meet the national interests.”
Delegate the decisions on the new organizational structure to those who “know little about the company and what is needed to be a success” is a mistake, he said. A public debate should be conducted in advance. “The Uk still has the time to do that,” he said.
Nilima Gulrajani, senior researcher at the Overseas Development Institute of the University of Toronto, who examined mergers in Canada, Australia and Norway – has echoed the concerns of Moore regarding the exodus of talent by merger apostolic.
“The ingestion of DfID into the FCO to me really suggests a change in the mandate and the mission and culture of the place,” she said.
“Do something to reassure the staff, it will maintain the expertise [at] The DfID is very important. I’m not sure until now that this is a priority. ”
The report Gulrajani, published in 2018, has revealed that between 2013 and 2015, the administrative fee in the all-new global Business Canada decreased from 5.2% to 4.6% of official development assistance.
“The compromise was the loss of expertise. Canada and Australia have stated that they have lost too much of expertise.
“The political context is crucial. The departments of foreign affairs may succeed to ensure the development – look at the scandinavian countries. But the problem is that the background of this merger is a political context that wants to put the development back. ”
Gulrajani said that it was important that the Uk adopts safeguards, including the parliamentary scrutiny of the aid budget, and should again consider giving a representation at the cabinet level of development. It was found that countries with a ministry of leadership in the field of development achieved better results on the indices of quality of aid.
It is apparent that the international development committee of the british government, which discusses the british help, was going to be closed, but last week, the minister of foreign Affairs, Dominic Raab, has promised the Parliament a “review maximum” in the aid budget and the merger.
Stephen Brown, professor of political science at the University of Ottawa and editor of a book on the effectiveness of the canadian international development Agency, said: “The structure is less important than the political will. Regardless of the structure you have, it depends on what you want to do, and what I hear on the motivation of the United Kingdom, it is pretty clear that it is not a question of reducing poverty. In Canada, it was not so obviously interested. The official reason was to put the development on the table with diplomacy and trade. ”
Ian Mitchell, an economist who directs the work of the Center for Global Development in Europe, said that the loss of expertise was a challenge for the new department, which shall be called the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
“This is a real risk. The ministry of foreign Affairs has played a big part in the diplomacy related to climate change. DfID has similar expertise in the field of humanitarian reform and the development of the policy approach to international migration.
“The ministry of foreign Affairs will continue to think about the way in which the migration takes place in the world to ensure that migrants have safe places to go. And DfID has expertise in this area. There is always a risk of loss of this expertise. ”
The government has said that if some of the roles and responsibilities within the DfID and the FCO would change, there would be no compulsory redundancies.
A veteran of DfID, who worked within the organization when it was part of the FCO prior to 1997, said: “a Lot of people will go if they feel that the integrity of the uk aid is compromised.
“The world will not end. We are already here and you can still make a lot of good development work. But the agenda and priorities will be much more political. There were a lot of dams of Pergau [UK aid linked to a major arms deal]. This is the real danger: much more blur between the development and the interests of the british. “