Using IATI: A guide for NGOs

On this page you'll find answers to the most commonly asked questions by NGOs using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data standard.

Bond and our partners also provide a Helpdesk service for organisations publishing to IATI. If you can't find the solution to your question here, please contact the Helpdesk at support@iatistandard.org.

DFID and IATI

Q: Does DFID require organisations with grants and/or contracts to publish to IATI?

Yes, most grants and all contracts from DFID now require organisations to publish to IATI, unless it has been specifically excluded. If you're not sure, check your contract or grant agreement, the guidance you have received from your fund manager or check directly with your DFID or fund manager contact.

DFID has defined the specific information that it would like organisations to publish. These fields are the minimum required to make the information useful and usuable for others.

You can find out lots more about DFID minimum requirements and timescales for publishing, on DFID's website.

Q: What is DFID's organisation identifier?

GB-1

Q: What is DFID's IATI provider activity identifier?

It will be different for each fund or contract. This information should be provided to you at the point where you receive the grant agreement or contract. Please contact your DFID liaison person to ask for the information if you don't have it. It will be in the format GB-1-XXX-XXXX (where the X's stand for the unique idenfication number for the grant or contract).

Q: The DFID requirements refer to 'project documents'. Which documents do we have to publish?

These are key documents that are produced for that project. It is hard to be prescriptive or to produce a definitive list as different programmes, organisations and funding schemes have different names and formats depending on the key documents. However, the project lead should have a clear understanding of what the key documents are. The following list is a guide. Some of these will not be available for all projects. Confidential material can be redacted and confidential annexes can be left out.

  • concept note
  • project proposal
  • final logical framework
  • theory of change
  • finalised annual report
  • case studies
  • inception report
  • mid-term review
  • evaluation
  • project completion report

Partners

Q: How should we deal with partners, especially partners who sub-grant?

You must report on all disbursements to partners and your own organisation's expenditure related to a DFID grant. However, you are only responsible for your own transactions, not those of your partner organisation. For example, organisation A disburses funds to organisation B, who then spends it on a range of activities, organisation A is not responsible for reporting the expenditure, only the original disbursement.

Q: Do we, as the ‘reporting organisation’, also need to be listed as an ‘accountable’ organisation?

If you are the lead organisation in a consortium and responsible for disbursing funds to other members, for example for a Girls Education Challenge Fund grant, then you will need to be listed as the accountable organisation.

    The implementation schedule

    Q: What is the implementation schedule?

    The implementation schedule has three functions:

    1. It enables an organisation to think through the processes required to get to the publication stage for IATI data and plan ahead
    2. It allows DFID to monitor grantees’ intentions and their application – this will eventually be done automatically
    3. Users of IATI data know what information to expect from publishers and when

    Q: Where can I find the implementation schedule template?

    You should be given the template by your DFID fund manager. You can download a sample version here.

    Q: Who do I send my completed implementation schedule to?

    Each fund programme has its own procedures for submitting an implementation schedule. Please contact your fund or stakeholder manager.

    Q: Can I change my implementation schedule in the future?

    Yes, the implementation schedule is a living document and can be updated as necessary. It is advised that you make any amendments each quarter when you publish new IATI data.

    Q: The implementation schedule asks for information about the type of license we have. What does this mean?

    There are two types of license relevant to how others can use your IATI data - Public Domain and Attribution Only.

    Q: What does 'percentage of total budget / ODA' mean?

    This is the percentage of your total budget for international development projects, that you are reporting within your IATI data. So if you are including two projects out of five, you may only be reporting on 40% of your total overseas activity budget. 

    Frequently asked questions 

    Q: How do I change my IATI organisation identifier in the IATI registry?

    Log in to the IATI registry as a user. From there go to 'my publishers' tab. Chose your organisations name (in blue). Click on the admin button (it looks like a spanner symbol). This will take you to the about page and from there you can change your organisation identifier. Remember to save it!

    Q: Do we have to add DFID as a funding organisation?

    For projects receiving DFID funding, yes you will need to add DFID both as a participating organisation (funder) and on incoming funds transactions as the provider organisation. DFID's organisation identifier is GB-1 and you will also need to add in the provider activity identifier to incoming funds transactions (see above).

    Financial information

    Q: Do we report income from DFID? If so, how do we know what identifier DFID will have used for our project so that the reporting can be linked?

    Yes, you do report incoming funds from DFID. When you record an 'incoming funds' transaction, you will need to use a DFID provider activity ID. You should receive the information you need with your grant agreement or contract. There is also a partial list of provider activity codes which you can download.

    Q: When we enter the budget for the activity should it be the full budget of the project (including match funding) or just the DFID funded portion?

    The budget for the activity should be the full budget of the project to give a complete picture of the funding for the project. This will mean you will also need to add in the matched funding information as a commitment transaction and also as incoming funds transactions.

    Q: Can we enter one figure for total disbursements for the quarter being reported?

    Only if it is a disbursement to one implementing organisation. If you are disbursing to multiple partners, these will need to be reported separately.

    Q: Can we enter one figure for total expenditure for the quarter being reported?

    Yes, but where possible please try and aggregate the expenditure by workstream or activity (for example travel, M&E etc) rather than one big total, in order for it to make more sense to data users.

    Q: 'Budget' – I don’t understand the options for ‘budget type’ - 'original' or ‘revised’ ? Is the latter chosen if the budget is revised during the course of DFID funding?

    Yes – the original budget is basically the total funding you have set aside for the activity, and if this alters at all due to a change in the activity itself or due to funding measures it can then be amended and will be a revised budget.

    Q: Financial transactions - do we create separate entries for commitment (total project budget) and for disbursement?

    Yes – a commitment is effectively the amount of funding allocated to the project by each funder, and it's future-looking i.e. it covers the whole lifetime of the grant, contract or project. A disbursement is a transfer of funds to another organisation and is recorded in IATI once the funds have reached the other organisation's bank account.

    Q: Do we only enter disbursement information once the disbursement has occurred, i.e. not enter information on planned disbursements in advance?

    Disbursements will only be entered once they have occurred. However, there is scope to report planned disbursements under the financial information section (which also contains activity budgets).

    Q: The 'value date' is the currency conversion date - what date should be used here?

    The “value date” field is included to enable users of data to be able to do more accurate conversions, depending on the approximate date of the transaction. This is important, since publishers can use any currency they wish to report. You should enter the date the transaction was made on, if this is not known, an approximate date (e.g. the beginning/end of the quarter) would still be useful information.

    Q: How do we treat or refer to DFID-funded 8% project expenditure on UK staff costs?

    This can be set up as a separate activity for core costs or staff costs, and staff costs will be classed as an expenditure from this activity.

    Q: Do we include our expenditure on additional UK costs?

    Yes – again this would be useful – this can be aggregated as necessary though (e.g. by amount (up to 500 say) or by workstream / budget lines).

    Q: Do we also need to be listed as a receiver organisation for expenditure transactions?

    No – you include yourselves as the provider organisation for expenditure transactions and you don't need to add in a receiver organisation if the figure is aggregated.

    Q: What does 'default flow type' mean?

    This is not part of DFID's minimum requirement but if you're reporting on DFID funding you could use 'ODA'. If you're reporting on disbursements to partners then you could use 'private grants'.

    Q: What does 'default aid type' mean?

    This is not part of DFID's minimum requirement but if you're reporting on this field you should use the code 'C01'.

    Q: What does 'default finance type' mean?

    This is not part of DFID's minimum requirement but if you're reporting on this field you should use the code '110'.

    Q: What’s the 'transaction date'?

    This will be the date on which money is received or sent out.

    Unrestricted Grants

    Q: The implementation schedule states that PPA recipients may want to treat their funds as an activity. We will find it difficult to separate our funds out from that of the rest of the organisation. What should we do?

    It is recognised that PPA funding cannot necessarily be traced directly to individual activities and it can be difficult to identify how much of an activity is covered by DFID funding (if this is all that’s being reported on). Therefore, it is possible to report incoming PPA funds as a separate activity (equally if reporting wider than DFID and working with multiple funders, you could have all of these funds going into a ‘core funding’ activity). In this case where you report activities that are funded by the core funding, the whole organisation will become the funding activity, and you could also relate the activities by identifiers to demonstrate that these activities have come from the core funded activity pot.

    Q: How should we deal with unrestricted or strategic grants, where we can't necessarily show direct disbursements?

    You can either report on the entire organisation's work or report on programmes that are included in the grant agreement's performance framework or logframe.

    Exclusions

    Q: Can I exclude some data?

    Yes. As long as you have justifiable reasons for excluding data, such as security, then you can make exclusions.

    Q: Is there any guidance on how to decide which data to include / exclude?

    Yes. There is the Bond guidance for NGOs: developing an open information policy.

    Q: Are there risks in putting information into the public domain that might usually be confidential to the organisation (budgets etc)?

    There may be, which is why there is flexibility for excluding data. If there are concerns regarding information provided to DFID that might end up in the public domain, this will need to be flagged to DFID in order for them to apply their own exclusion policy where necessary. DFID will automatically publish all information received from organisations so NGOs are advised to highlight areas of concern at the time of submitting.

    Q: Do we have to have a formal exclusion policy that we publish on our website or elsewhere?

    Exclusion, or open information, policies are documents that an organisation publishing to IATI should publish, outlining to internal and external stakeholders the types of information that will not be published in the public domain. (See Bond Guidance for NGOs: Developing an Open Information Policy).

    Results

    Q: The results section of the activity standard is optional. Are there examples of organisations trying to use this section?

    Yes, for a list of organisations using the results section, go to the IATI Dashboard.