Main Report (Final Draft) UN and Commonwealth Reform Study


In 2011-12, 44 percent (£3.4bn) of DFID’s total programme expenditure was delivered through central or core funding to multilateral organisations (MOs), of which £225m was distributed to UN and Commonwealth organisations. Given the UK's commitment to achieve the best results and value for money, it is essential that the MOs that DFID funds are as efficient and effective as possible.

This study set out to address the primary question: What are the most effective means of achieving organisational change within the UN and Commonwealth agencies? The study was designed to draw on what is known more generally about organisational change, review the available grey literature on change processes in the multilateral system, and thus draw specific conclusions that result in improved understanding of the best ways to influence desired change among UN and Commonwealth organisations. The study findings will be used to help DFID's UN and Commonwealth Division (UNCD) refine its overall Theory of Change and thus its engagement and influencing strategies for each agency.

The research comprised a desk review, using robust and systematic methods to draw out findings from the available literature. It aimed to identify major examples of organisational change that have happened in UN and Commonwealth agencies and look at the causes or factors that were important in prompting these. It focused on the types of organisational changes particularly relevant to the reforms that DFID is seeking to influence (for example, improved results from these agencies, greater cost consciousness, or better strategic and performance management).

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the methodology adopted and the evidence obtained, and outlines the main implications of the findings of the study for UNCD. Critical substantiating information has been included in the annexes.


Coffey International Development. Main Report (Final Draft) UN and Commonwealth Reform Study. Coffey International Development, London, UK (2013) 62 pp.

Main Report (Final Draft) UN and Commonwealth Reform Study

Published 1 January 2013