This audit would review the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT’s) processes for the management of contracts with four aid delivery providers, with a particular focus on how DFAT is working to maximise the efficiency of these contracts from an ‘aid dollar versus costs’ perspective.

Since 2014, Australia has reduced its overall aid spend, aligned aid with trade and diplomacy under a single department through the merger of AusAID with DFAT, and consolidated the number of providers for the delivery of this aid.

Australia’s official development assistance budget for 2017–18 is $3.9 billion. In 2016–17, 20 per cent of Australia’s aid was delivered by 10 private sector providers. The four most frequently used providers — Cardno Emerging Markets, Palladium International, Coffey International Development and Abt Associates — received $461.8 million.

The audit would look to measure the aid-dollar-to-cost ratio for each of the four providers, and benchmark this against international standards and norms.