Over 100 charities warn that plans to merge DFID with FCO risks Britain turning its back on the world

Charities of all sizes from across the UK have come together to call on the UK government to retain DFID as a separate Whitehall department and keep the department’s Secretary of State to deliver on Conservative party manifesto pledges on aid and development.

Around 30% of the Official Development Assistance budget is now spent outside the Department for International Development by other departments and cross-government funds, including the FCO, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) which has resulted in less UK aid going to the world’s poorest people, according to recent report by The Independent Commission for Aid Impact. The National Audit Office also found that the lack of transparency in government departments outside of DFID meant uncertainty that UK aid was being used effectively.

Over 100 charities specialising in humanitarian relief, girls education, global health, clean water and sanitation said:

“Merging DFID with the FCO would risk dismantling the UK’s leadership on international development and humanitarian aid. It suggests we are turning our backs on the world’s poorest people, as well as some of the greatest global challenges of our time: extreme poverty, climate change and conflict. UK aid risks becoming a vehicle for UK foreign policy, commercial and political objectives, when it first and foremost should be invested to alleviate poverty.

“By far the best way to ensure that aid continues to deliver for those who need it the most is by retaining DFID as a separate Whitehall department, with a Secretary of State for International Development, and by pledging to keep both independent aid scrutiny bodies: the Independent Commission for Aid Impact and the International Development Select Committee.”

Organisations signing on to the statement include; World Vision UK, ActionAid UK, Oxfam GB, STOPAIDS, Women for Women International UK, War on Want, Amref Health Africa UK, World Jewish Relief, Islamic Relief UK, Tearfund, VSO, The Kambia Appeal, TackleAfrica and Mothers Union.


  1. Bond is the UK network for Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  2. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact scrutinises UK aid spending, independently of government and reports to Parliament through the House of Commons International Development Committee or their ICAI Sub-Committee. Their June report, The current state of UK aid: A synthesis of ICAI findings from 2015 to 2019 warned that “the redistribution of the aid budget between departments has led to a growing focus on large middle-income countries, driven by security, climate change or economic goals, which risks a reduced focus on poverty and ‘leaving no one behind’”.
  3. The National Audit Office (NAO) helps Parliament hold government to account for the way it spends public money. In June 2019, the NAO report The effectiveness of Official Development Assistance expenditure warned that “widening ODA expenditure to other departments has increased risks to effectiveness” and “very few departments [except DFID] make public information about their ODA expenditure, such as the amounts for which they are responsible, the programmes this budget funds, or the impacts secured for this spending.”
  4. For further information please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]
  5. The full list of the 127 organisations that have signed the statement above include:

Access Agriculture Josephine Rodgers Executive Director
Action Against Hunger UK Jean-Michel Grand Executive Director
ActionAid UK Girish Menon Chief Executive
APT Action on Poverty Alex Daniels Chief Executive
ADD International Jimmy Innes Chief Executive
Advantage Africa Andrew Betts Director
African Adventures Foundation Dan Mew Chair
Age International Chris Roles Managing Director
Aids Orphan UK Trust Professor Ian Govendir CEO
All We Can Graeme Hodge Chief Executive
Amigos Phil Pugsley CEO
Amref Health Africa UK Camilla Knox-Peebles Chief Executive
Anti-Slavery International Jasmine O’Connor CEO
Arts for Action Melissa Eveleigh Director
Bahá’í Agency For Social and Economic Development (BASED UK) Mark Habibi Executive Director
Banana Link Jacqui Mackay National Coordinator
Blue Ventures Conservation Alasdair Harris Executive Director
Bond Stephanie Draper Chief Executive
BRAC UK Lewis Temple Chief Executive
British Red Cross Mike Adamson CEO
Build It International Andrew Jowett CEO
CAFOD Christine Allen Director
CARE International UK Laurie Lee CEO
Carers Worldwide Anil Patil Founder and Executive Director
Catholics for AIDs Prevention and Support (CAPS) Dr Vincent Manning Chair
CBM UK Kirsty Smith CEO
Chance for Childhood Katie Fowler CEO
Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Helen McEachern Chief Executive Officer
ChildHope Jill Healey Executive Director
Children on the Edge Rachel Bentley Founder and International Director
Christian Aid Amanda Mukwashi Chief Executive
Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC) Mark Robinson Chair
Community Health and Sustainable Environment (CHASE Africa) Henry Pomeroy Director
Compassion UK and Ireland Justin Dowds Chief Executive Officer
Concern Worldwide UK Danny Harvey Executive Director
Conciliation Resources Jonathan Cohen Executive Director
Concordis Peter Marsden Chief Executive
Digital Opportunity Trust Julia Misselbrook Country Director UK
Doctors of the World UK Lucy Jones & Ellen Waters Co-Directors
Down Syndrome International Andrew Boys Executive Director
Engineers Against Poverty Petter Matthews Executive Director
Equality in Tourism Tricia Barnett Director
Equality Now Jacqui Hunt Director, Europe/Eurasia
Ethical Trading Initiative Peter McAllister Executive Director
Excellent Development David Jordan OBE Chairman
Fairtrade Foundation Michael Gidney CEO
Feed the Minds Josephine Carlsson CEO
FIA Foundation Saul Billingsley Executive Director
Five Talents Rachel Lindley CEO
Food for the Hungry UK Paul Cornelius CEO
Gender and Development Network (GADN) Jessica Woodroffe Director
Global Citizen Marie Rumsby UK Director
Global Fund for Community Foundations Jenny Hodgson Executive Director
Global Giving Rachel Smith UK Esecutive Director
Harm Reduction International Naomi Burke-Shyne Executive Director
Health Communication Resources UK Jon Hargreaves Director
Health Poverty Action Martin Drewry CEO
HelpAge International Justin Derbyshire Chief Executive Officer
Humanity & Inclusion UK Aleema Shivji Executive Director
ICA:UK Jonathan Dudding Director
INASP John Young Executive Director
Institute of Development Studies Professor Melissa Leach Director
Integrity Action Jasmina Haynes CEO
Interburns Tom Potokar Director
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Andrew Norton Director
International Health Partners Adele Paterson CEO
International Medical Corps UK Ognjen Radosavljevic Managing Director
International Rescue Committee UK Laura Kyrke-Smith Executive Director
International Service Michael Dockar Director
Islamic Relief UK Tufail Hussain UK Director
Leonard Cheshire Neil Heslop Chief Executive
Marie Stopes International Simon Cooke CEO
Malaria Consortium Charles Nelson CEO
Medical Aid Films Catherine McCarthy Chief Executive
Mercy Corps Simon O’Connell Executive Director
Minority Rights Group Joshua Castellino Executive Director
Mothers Union Bev Jullien Chief Executive
Motivation Amanda Wilkinson CEO
Muslim Hands UK Irfan Khan Director Humanitarian and International Partnerships
Omega Research Foundation Fiona Gorton Resources and Finance Officer
On Our Radar Laura Jump CEO
ONE Romilly Greenhill UK Director
Orbis UK Rebecca Cronin Chief Executive
Oxfam GB Danny Sriskandarajah Chief Executive
Peace Direct Dylan Mathews Chief Executive
PHOEBE Mollin Delve CEO
Plan International UK Rose Caldwell Executive Director
Population Matters Robin Maynard Director
Practical Action Paul Smith Lomas Chief Executive
Primary Care International Julia Beart Chief Executive Officer
Raleigh International Julian Olivier Deputy CEO
Relief International Nancy E. Wilson President & CEO
Restless Development Perry Maddox Chief Executive
RESULTS UK Aaron Oxley Executive Director
Saferworld Paul Murphy Executive Director
Salamander Trust Dr Alice Welbourn Founding Director
Save the Children UK Kevin Watkins CEO
SCI Foundation Dr Wendy Harrison Chief Executive
Scotland’s International Development Alliance Jane Salmonson CEO
SENTAfrica Martin Jamieson Director
SKT Welfare Asif Hussain CEO
Sophia Forum Sophie Strachan Co-Chair
SOS Children’s Villages UK Alison Wallace CEO
STOPAIDS Mike Podmore Director
Syria Relief Othman Moqbel CEO
TackleAfrica Charlie Gamble CEO
Tearfund Nigel Harris Chief Executive
Terre des hommes UK Tricia Young CEO
The Kambia Appeal Shona Lockyer Chair of Trustees
The Leprosy Mission England and Wales Peter Waddup National Director
The AKCGlobal Group Alexander Knapp CEO
THET Ben Simms CEO
Tools for Self Reliance Sarah Ingleby Chief Executive
Traidcraft Exchange Charlotte Timson Chief Executive
Unicef UK Nick Roseveare Interim CEO
Village Water Clare Wearden Director
Visions Consultancy Ltd. Sophie Strachan Director
VSO Philip Goodwin Chief Executive
War on Want Asad Rehman Executive Director
WaterAid Tim Wainwright Chief Executive
Women for Women International UK Brita Fernandez Schmidt Executive Director
World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) Julian Gore-Booth Chief Executive Officer
World Jewish Relief Paul Anticoni Chief Executive
World Vision UK Tim Pilkington Chief Executive
Y Care International Leigh Daynes CEO