Communications Consultant to enhance the digital presence of Local Authorities and Provincial Departments of Local Governments - Sri Lankans only - Ref No. IC/CDLG/2021/71

Location : Colombo, with travel to North, North Central, Uva and Eastern Provinces, SRI LANKA
Application Deadline :05-Nov-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Duration of Initial Contract :6 months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is the principal service provider for citizens of the country. Every citizen will need to interact with government organizations for various information and requirements/services throughout his or her life. Presently, Information and Communication Technology based communication strategies are becoming more popular over traditional communication methods in providing more citizen friendly, up to date and interactive information to the public. As a result, government organizations in many countries use various strategies and platforms to be more citizen friendly, in providing information and services. Providing information over the Internet through official websites and obtaining citizens feedback is one such strategy. Further, social media has increasingly become a medium which public engage on matters on a large scale.

Local government has been established as the primary tier in a multi-level system of government. The local government system is comprised of three types of local authorities, Municipal Councils (MCs), Urban Councils (UCs) and Pradeshiya Sabhas (PSs) each established under a specific law. Local authorities are charged with the regulation, control and administration of all matters relating to public health, public utility services and public thoroughfares and generally with the protection and promotion of the comfort, convenience and welfare of the people and all amenities. There are 341 local authorities (24 Municipal councils, 41 Urban councils and 276 Pradeshiya Sabhas) in the country. The Provincial Department of local government coordinate and guide these local government bodies to perform these functions in an efficient and effective manner. There are 9 provincial departments of local governments in the country. Currently, there are some local authorities that have functional social media accounts, with minimum engagement or no updates.

The Capacity Development of Local Governments (CDLG) Project of UNDP Sri Lanka is part of larger efforts by the Government of Sri Lanka to strengthen the local governance system in the country. These efforts are supported by the European Union, and the World Bank. The Government of Sri Lanka will implement the Local Development Support Project (LDSP) in four provinces – North, North Central, Eastern and Uva – to strengthen local service delivery and local economic infrastructure and enhance bottom-up approaches to support public engagement in local decision-making processes, including through participatory planning and feedback mechanisms for service delivery.

The overall objective of the CDLG project is to strengthen the capacities of LAs to be inclusive, responsive, and accountable and be able to plan, enhance resilience, and deliver better services. The capacity development support, coupled with the fiscal support (through Basic Transfers and Performance Transfers provided through LDSP project) for inclusive service delivery and economic investment, is aimed at strengthening the role of elected representatives at the local level. It is about improving local governance systems and making local governments “fit for future”, as well as increase downward accountability of elected officials and local governments. The project also aims to strengthening mechanisms (including e-platforms) for public engagement in local decision-making processes.

As part of CDLG’s effort to make local governments “fit for future”, in collaboration with the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government Affairs and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) in Sri Lanka, UNDP is supporting the development of website for local authorities (UC/MC/PS) and Provincial Department of Local Governments in North, North Central, Eastern, and Uva provinces. In order to enhance the social media presence of these institutions, thereby encouraging more public engagement with LAs, UNDP is seeking to hire an Independent Consultant to assist in guiding and capacitating officials in the creation, improvement and maintenance of official social media accounts for all 134 LAs and 4 Department of Local Governments in North, North Central, Eastern, and Uva provinces, ensuring regular updates and sustainability of these official platforms through responsible staff.


Scope and Objectives

The overall objective of the assignment is to enhance the digital presence of 134 LAs and 4 Departments of Local Governance in North, North Central, Eastern, and Uva provinces by creating/ revamping the official social media pages of the above offices, train the responsible staff on maintaining these pages and ensure these are updated regularly with citizen driven information.


The specific objective of this consultancy can be spelt out as follows.

  1. Improve social media presence of local level authorities, thereby giving them a platform to share their work and services with the wider community they serve.
  2. Improve skills of local level staff about setting up digital media platforms, and content creation for social media.
  3. Provide citizens a platform to engage closely with the local decision makers.


Scope of Services

1. Create new/revamp existing social media pages for 134 local authorities and 4 departments of local governments in North, North Central, Eastern, and Uva provinces with timely information being shared in all local languages.

The Consultant is required to do a brief scoping study to understand the level of engagement of the mentioned authorities on social media, and the staff’s capacity/knowledge level in maintaining the pages. This can be conducted via an online survey, with the support of CDLG team in making relevant connections and sharing this survey with the local and provincial staff.


Certain local authorities or provincial councils already have social media pages set up. If so, the Consultant is required to note of any revamping or improvements required.


2.  Conduct training sessions for staff in the LAs and the Departments on social media, content creation and how best to regularly update information on services to the community.


The Consultant is expected to select two focal points from each institution who will update these social media pages. Dependent on the COVID-19 travel restrictions, these training sessions are to take place online or face to face. If physical workshops are proposed, CDLG can make logistic arrangements.


It is up to the discretion of the Consultant to decide clustering of LAs together for training based on language, geographical area or on their knowledge/ experience levels in handling social media. A minimum of 6 sessions needs to be arranged, that would cover LAs and Provincial level staff.


The sessions need to include the below:

  • The basic principles in sharing posts on social media (example, hashtags, location tagging, going live, word limits, engagements, dos, and don’ts).
  • Content creation (example, how to share stories in an interesting manner, tips on taking photos for social media, simple text-based graphics).
  • Frequency of updating the social media platforms and maintaining the pages with increased public engagement.


3. Ensure that the pages are up to date with the relevant information

The Consultant needs to ensure that the information on the LA or the Department is up to date by the end of the assignment. The information updating needs to be done with the relevant officials, adopting a learning by doing approach. Official social media links also to be added to their official website.


4. Maintenance support for 3 months

The Consultant is expected to support the maintenance of these social media pages in coordination with the focal points appointed under this initiative, ensuring all information are up to date.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Project Manager- CDLG Project, with the support of the Research, Reporting and Communication Specialist - CDLG project, with overall guidance from the UNDP Communications and Engagement Analyst, the Communications Consultant will be responsible for the following outputs:


Expected outputs and deliverables

  1. Inception report with details on the methodological approach-20%-15/11/2021.
  2. Development/revamping of social media pages for 134 LAs and 4 Departments of Local Government-20%-15/12/2021.
  3. Training completion report covering all relevant staff in 134 LAs and 4 Departments of Local Government-20%-15/01/2022.
  4. Report with the links to the social media accounts-20%-28/02/2022.
  5. Completion report with an update on the maintenance support provided-20%-30/04/2022.



The assignment should be completed within 6 months. The CDLG field team will assist in making  introductions to the relevant authorities and liaising with the respective officials to facilitate this assignment.



The prospective Consultant should have the following competencies and qualifications:


A. Technical competency.

  • Competence: Consultant should possess the abilities, skills, and experience appropriate to undertake the tasks proposed.
  • Respect for people: Consultant respect the security, dignity and self-worth of respondents, program participants. Consultant has the responsibility to be sensitive to and respect differences amongst participants in culture, religion, gender, disability, age, and ethnicity.
  • Language: Oral and written language skills in Sinhala and/or Tamil and English.


B. Behavioural competency.

  • Ability to be flexible and respond to feedback as part of the review process.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, able to communicate and work with diverse people.
  • Participate effectively in team-based, information-sharing environment with others.


C. Results.

  • Proven delivery of high-quality results, in a timely manner.
  • Ability to plan own work and use time efficiently, manage conflicting priorities and work under pressure of tight and conflicting deadlines.

Required Skills and Experience

Following are the minimum qualifications required for the selected consultant.

a) Academic qualifications.

Diploma in Mass Communication, Journalism, or a relevant field or at minimum 2 years of experience working as a Digital Communications Content Creator, Content Writer, Content Strategist, or a similar role (150 Max. Points).


b) Experience.

  • At minimum 2 years of experience of working on creating or maintaining official social media platforms (150 Max. points).
  • Exceptional knowledge of social media marketing and trends in digital communications (150 Max. points).
  • Demonstrated experience in working with national or subnational government partners (150 Max. Points).
  • Proficiency in Sinhala and/or Tamil and English along with excellent writing and editing skills (100 Max. Points).



  • To apply please access UNDP Jobs site

The application should contain:

  • Cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable candidate for the advertised position and a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work.
  • Updated CV to include qualifications/competencies and relevant experience in similar projects and contact details of 3 professional referees who can certify your competencies, professionalism, quality of writing, presentation, and overall suitability to this TOR.
  • Individual consultants will be evaluated based on a combination of factors including cover letter, the credentials on offer and brief interview (optional) and the offer which gives the best value for money for the UNDP.
  • Please send the Financial Proposal separately to the following e-mail address: stating the vacancy number/position in the subject line. Failing to provide correct vacancy number & Position would be a disqualification.



All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee: LKR (_______________________________________)

Amount in words: (Rs. _______________________________________________________________)


Please refer the below link to access the template of FInancial Proposal


Note: Payments will be based on invoices on achievement of agreed milestones i.e., upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR and certification of acceptance by the UNDP. The applicant must factor in all possible costs in his/her “All Inclusive Lump Sum Fee” including his/her consultancy and professional fee, travel (economy class flights is required to and from the Duty Station) board and lodging, and any other foreseeable costs in this exercise. No costs other than what has been indicated in the financial proposal will be paid or reimbursed to the consultant. UNDP will only pay for any unplanned travel outside of this TOR and Duty Station on actual basis and on submission of original bills/invoices, and on prior agreement with UNDP officials. Daily per diem and costs for accommodation/meals/incidental expenses for such travel shall not exceed established local UNDP DSA rates.

For an Individual Contractor who is 65 years of age or older, and on an assignment requiring travel, be it for the purpose of arriving at the duty station or as an integral duty required travel under the TOR, a full medical examination and statement of fitness to work must be provided. Such medical examination costs must be factored into the financial proposal above. Medical examination is not a requirement for individuals on RLA contracts.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be first screened and only candidates meeting the minimum criteria will progress to the pool for short listing. Shortlisted Candidates will be then assessed and scored against the following evaluation criteria noting that an interview will be conducted to the shortlisted candidates, if required.

  1. Technical Criteria weight: [70%]
  2. Financial Criteria weight: [30%]

Only Individual Consultants obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70%) on the Technical Evaluation would be considered for the Financial Evaluation.



Payments will be based on the submission of written reports specifying the tasks accomplished towards achieving the deliverables outlined above.


UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workplace, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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