Glass Building

IATI Q&A with DFID’s transparency and open data product manager

7 December 2018Bond

Bond hosted a webinar led by Roderick Besseling, the transparency and open data product manager at DFID, to support organisations who are publishing to the IATI data standard.

Below you can see some of the questions from participants and Roderick’s answers.

Downstream partner requirements

Question: What are the publishing requirements for downstream partners?
Answer: If you have a direct contract with DFID’s Accountable Grant Agreement [see below] that requires you to publish then you must fulfil this requirement. For partners further along in the delivery chain, it is an expectation for them to publish.

Transparency clause from the accountable grant agreement
“The Partner will publish to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard on all its DFID funding within six months of the start of this Arrangement. DFID expects the Partner to publish to the IATI standard on all its non-DFID funding and for Downstream Partners to publish to the IATI standard on their funding. The intention of this commitment is to allow traceability throughout the delivery chain”. For more details on IATI standards see:

Question: Can we report on behalf of partners?
Answer: You can publish datasets on behalf of your partners

Question: Can we have some clarification on what DFID means by “expectation”?
Answer: DFID has purposefully used the word expectation as we strongly want to encourage all partners to publish to the IATI standard if they are capable of doing so. DFID has regular conversations internally with programme managers to explain this nuance.

Question: Can you clarify the engagement expectations that DFID has?
Answer: We estimate that it will take between 6-18 months to fully engage with IATI. DFID will also start to proactively reach out to partners that are not publishing.

Tool development

Question: Is there any news on tool development from DFID?
Answer: The Aid Policy team at DFID is working with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and launched a IATI Data Validator that will check the errors and any missing fields for specific donors. DFID is also improving DevTracker to see who is working with who and to visualise this traceability.

IATI specific fields

Question: Could you provide some clarification with regards to fields linked to the Grand Bargain/humanitarian fields?
Answer: We are looking at the Dutch guidelines in terms of Dutch reporting. We aim to provide technical guidelines in line with the Dutch; once MFA guidelines are available we will share them.

Results reporting

Question: Could you provide some clarification with regards to results reporting?
Answer: DFID is aware that we have not asked for results data, and we are keen to work with organisations on a one to one basis to get an insight into how this lightens the reporting burden.

Question: How should we use policy markers e.g. SDGs and OECD DAC?
Answer: Policy markers are important when reporting to OECD DAC. Fill in the policy marker that makes the most sense to you for your programme.

Compliance management

Question: Are there any requirements for an exclusions policy?
Answer: An exclusions policy reflects the sensitivities that people work in – there should already be an open information policy with regards to the work that you do and any sensitives around it.

Question: As a funder, are partners required to publish?
Answer: The grant making structure is the key factor, i.e. separate grants for separate partners. If the grantees are in an alliance, the alliance lead has to take the responsibility to publish.

Question: On guidance, would it be possible to have an organisation approach approved by DFID?
Answer: The validation tool can be used to check what you have uploaded and what you are uploading, in line with the DFID guidelines.

Question: Are you working with other governments such as Canada and Sweden to align publishing guidelines?
Answer: There are ongoing discussions with donors in regards to IATI guideline harmonisation. The UK, the Netherlands and Belgium currently share guidelines and we are in conversations with the European Commission and Denmark about using the same guidelines.

Question: Is there any grace period with regards to the requirement to publish within a month of the quarter?
Answer: The recommendation of the IATI standard itself is to make data timely relevant and useful. We would strongly encourage to publish within the quarter.

Question: Can you provide some clarification with regards to the DFID project number, whether they are 6 digits or 3 digits ?
Answer: Partners should link to the DFID ‘Component Level’ of a project.
Example: GB – GOV – 1 – 300373 – 101

300373 = Project
101 = Component

Question: How does DFID use IATI data other than traceability?
Answer: Traceability is the most important thing that DFID is focusing on. Geolocation and partner information will also be used to create partner footprints and country footprints.

Question: What are the requirements with regards to region and geolocation and data responsibility?
Answer: If it puts your project or citizens at risk, do not provide sub-national location data.

Question: With regards to the frequency of publishing budgets, our accounting system can’t pull the data out, and our projects are budgets for the whole project cycle i.e. over 5 years as opposed to yearly. What should we do?
Answer: Split the budget up by 5 years and document like this. An organisation should publish budgets that makes sense to you, either calendar or financial.

Question: How do we describe financial years – DFID’s or our own?
Answer: Use your own financial year; reflect the reality of organisation.

Question: If the base currency is not GBP, do you want us to report in our core currency or to record in GBP?
Answer: DevTracker should hopefully be able to deal with the currency.

Question: How frequently does DevTracker update?
Answer: Currently it updates weekly. We are hoping for it to be more frequent in the future.

Question: Who is the best person to contact to find our Activity Identifier?
Answer: SRO/programme managers should know the IATI Activity ID of your programme.

Question: Is there availability for this information (IATI publishing guidelines) to be published in other languages?
Answer: There is an acknowledgement that the guidelines need to be published in other languages but there are no current plans to do so. If there are members of the IATI community who can contribute towards the publishing of guidelines in different languages, we will work with them.

Question: Is there any guidance on GPDR with regards to IATI?
Answer: Data protection is the responsibility of the data owner. It is the organisation’s responsibility to publish information and ensure that everything is covered

*The DFID IATI guidance is a live document, if you would like to feed back please get in touch with Bond.