Strengthening development diagnostics for decision making

The Enhancing Diagnostics Programme aims strengthen the use of diagnostics for decision making in development.


Oxford Policy Management (OPM) has been commissioned by the Growth and Resilience Department (GRD) within DFID to manage the Enhancing Diagnostics Programme (EDP). The EDP aims to help DFID deepen and strengthen the use of diagnostics in decision making, particularly in making decisions on country programme composition and in understanding how to best intervene within sectors.

The project works closely with the UK government and specifically DFID, giving it a unique insight into the challenges faced by DFID staff, but also creating challenges for the programme. One specific challenge is balancing an insider-outsider tension, and providing quality policy advice to DFID while remaining sufficiently arms-length from DFID to enable DFID country offices and policy teams to take independent policy decisions.

Our approach

The project is structured around three workstreams:

SUPPORT: works with DFID to develop the policy frameworks for diagnostics within DFID. At the policy level, it has supported thinking on the Country Development Diagnostic (CDD), DFID’s pre-eminent diagnostic tool. It is focused on developing practical diagnostic tools to identify programming opportunities at the country level.

ENGAGE: seeks to build support and momentum for diagnostics within DFID. This workstream cuts across DFID to generate support and interest in diagnostics. It aims to create systemic change within DFID for how evidence is used in making programming decisions.

LEARN: is a call down facility or helpdesk for DFID country offices. OPM provides support to country offices to undertake country and sector diagnostics acting as an evidence partner and providing specific technical leadership as required. Under LEARN, the programme has worked in over 10 DFID country offices, undertaking analysis that covers everything from demographic trends, to the trade flow analysis.


Working with DFID through the SUPPORT element of the project we enabled the global rollout of the CDD in 2018. We also helped achieve the development of the Inclusive Growth Diagnostic tool and the issue-specific governance diagnostics around illicit financial flows, media freedom, and decentralisation. The ENGAGE element has helped to shape the design of the DFID diagnostic process, facilitated the mapping of diagnostics approaches across donors, and supported the provision of training to DFID on diagnostic tools.

The project has contributed to, and produced, an included growth diagnostic, and three governance diagnostic tools. It has undertaken over 19 country calls downs to provide specific diagnostic support for country-level programme design. It has contributed to UK government thinking on where, when, and how to undertake development projects across all the Official Development Assistance spend. It is focused on improving the alignment of the UK government portfolio of investments at the country level towards key economic and social development priorities.

Areas of expertise