Auditing of Small Grants implemented in Abkhazia


Location : Sukhumi, GEORGIA
Application Deadline :07-Mar-18 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English   Russian  
Duration of Initial Contract :15 June 2018-15 June 2019 (up two three short-term assignments)

Background

COBERM - Confidence Building Early Response Mechanism.

COBERM is an apolitical, impartial and flexible mechanism funded by the EU and administered by UNDP. The main aims of COBERM are:

  • To support innovative people-to-people confidence-building opportunities;
  • To help create an environment conducive to fostering peace, stability and human security.

COBERM is a grant programme that supports initiatives of local civil society organizations (CSOs) in various areas including support to immediate and concrete interventions seeking to have a demonstrable impact on building confidence among communities affected by conflict. COBERM has been set up in May 2010, and has implemented two phases during 2010-2015. The third phase of COBERM was launched in January 2016 with a duration of three years.   Its third phase (COBERM III) was launched in January 2016. 

Over the years of its implementation, COBERM has been able to successfully engage with the local civil society representatives by supporting a wide spectrum of confidence building interventions, ranging from public diplomacy, youth development and rural infrastructure/livelihoods activities, to contributing to cooperative initiatives addressing the most pressing environment and gender-related issues and challenges, among many others.  

As a result of the continued and constructive efforts, COBERM managed to position itself as an effective, trusted and impartial mechanism for a significant number of civil society actors engaged in peace and confidence building   endeavours on all sides of conflict divides.

Furthermore, COBERM has proved to be a valuable tool for the strengthening of civil society, by placing a specific focus on institutional development of local CSOs and enhancement of their knowledge in confidence building concepts and strategies. To this end, series of trainings facilitated by invited foreign experts have been conducted on regular basis with the aim to improve programmatic and operational capacities of COBERM grant recipients. 
To further enhance capacities of local civil society organizations, especially in proper financial management of projects, COBERM was periodically conducting independent external audits and certification of expenditure reports submitted by implementing partners, based on International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), with further communication of recommendations and conclusions made by international auditor with respective mini-grant recipients.

The third phase of COBERM also envisions an independent external audit assessment exercise during the last year of its implementation, with the aim to review and assess all available financial documentation produced within the framework of 14 small grants funded during 2016-2018. This exercise would require audit of 8 finished small grants and on-the-spot-check for 6 on-going small grants, with follow up as detailed below.

CSSP- Joint EU-UNDP Civil Society Support Programme.

CSSP was launched by UNDP in January 2017, under financial support from the EU. The design of CSSP is informed by best practices and lessons learned from the previous two phases of COBERM (COBERM I and COBERM II), and complements and is complemented by its third iteration in 2016 (through 2018) of efforts to promote people-to-people confidence building and peace building activities in Abkhazia.

The overall objective of CSSP is to promote an inclusive, competent, and responsive civil society. The programme was developed on the basis of a locally informed strategy and aims to:

  • Strengthen CSOs capacities to efficiently and transparently manage operations and increase their effectiveness to address local needs;
  • Promote sustainability of CSOs through enhancing civil society connectivity and cooperation;
  • Diversify CSO's sectoral engagement in people-centered and need-based initiatives.

In pursuing these aims, the programme, apart from its capacity and networking building components made up of a series of trainings and study tours, also envisages the launch of a Grant mechanism, aiming to support initiatives by civil society organizations that seek to respond to wide range of needs identified in collaboration with stakeholders and communities, as well as expand the reach and scope of civil society activities in Abkhazia. With small grant support from the Grant mechanism, we envisage that at least 20 initiatives in the range of 30,000 USD/each targeting a diverse spectrum of locally identified needs will be implemented in all 7 districts in Abkhazia as of mid-2019.

The current call, seeks to set up a roster of independent auditors that would be available periodically for short term assignments to conduct auditing of sub-projects funded under COBERM (throughout 2018) and CSSP (throughout 2018 an first half of 2019) programmes (up to 3 missions in total).

Audit Assessment modalities:

To make the exercise more coherent and supportive of capacity-building efforts being undertaken by both COBERM and CSSP programmes and to enhance its learning outcomes, the independent audit assessment of small grants implemented by the local civil society organizations will include:

  • verifications and examining of documents by means of on-the-spot checks, on the basis of supporting documents for the accounts, accounting documents and any other document relevant to the financial management of small grants, complemented by relevant recommendations on the strengthening of accounting and internal control systems used by implementing partners and their effectiveness, as well as their alignment with international standards;
  • follow up verifications of financial statements and accounts to ensure that the audit recommendations were duly considered by the small grant recipients;
  • end-of-project audit assessment of financial management of small grants to ensure that the financial reports (both interim and final) are properly and easily reconciled to the recipient institution’s accounting and bookkeeping systems, with further issuing of respective Audit Reports.

It is expected that the field work within the framework of three Audit Missions will be conducted in Gagra, Gudauta, Ochamchira, Tkvarcheli and Gali districts and in Sukhumi town.


Duties and Responsibilities

The overall objective of the assignment is to increase capacity of COBERM/CSSP grant recipients in proper financial management of granted amounts by conducting:

  • on-the-spot checks of financial records and supporting documentation relating to ongoing funding and activities, followed by the development of clear findings and recommendations made as a result of the checks, and sharing them with respective grant recipients;
  • financial audit of already completed small grant projects, complemented by a follow up on the   progress made by grantees who underwent the on-the-spot checks in implementing recommendations provided by the International Auditor, to ensure putting in place relevant grant management practices fully compliant with international standards.

The audit work entails to conduct a general assessment of the respective organization’s (COBERM and CSSP grantees) internal controls according to established international internal control standards.

In addition to the above general assessment, additional specific steps could include the following:

  • Review the expenses made by the Grant Recipient (hereinafter GR) and assess whether they are in accordance with the Grant Agreement budget and UNDP POPP on Results Management;
  • Review the process for procurement/contracting activities and assess, whether it was transparent and competitive.
  • Review the use, control and disposal of non-expendable equipment and assess whether it is in compliance with UNDP POPP on Results Management; and also, whether the equipment procured met the identified needs and whether its use was in line with intended purposes.
  • Review the process for recruiting project personnel and consultants and assess whether it was transparent and competitive.
  • Review the GR accounting records and assess their adequacy for maintaining accurate and complete records of receipts and disbursements of cash; and for supporting the preparation of the quarterly financial report.

Audit Services Required:

The scope of audit services shall be in accordance with International Standards for Audit (ISA.) The audit work should include:

  • on-the-spot checks of financial records and supporting documentation relating to ongoing funding and activities;
  • the review and verification of expenses incurred by the Grant Recipient (GR) within the frames of already completed small grants, financial audit of already completed small grant projects, complemented by a follow up on the   progress made by grantees who underwent the on-the-spot checks in implementing recommendations provided by the International Auditor, to ensure putting in place relevant grant management practices fully compliant with international standards. 

Finance:

  • The audit work shall cover the adequacy of the accounting and financial operations and reporting systems, taking into account the local context and realities. These include budget control, cash management, certification and approving authority, receipt of funds, and disbursement of funds, recording of all financial transactions in expense reports, records maintenance and control.

Procurement:

  • The audit work shall cover the competitiveness, transparency and effectiveness of the procurement activities of the project in order to ensure that the equipment and services purchased meet the requirements set in the UNDP micro capital grant agreements, and should include the following:
  • As applicable, procurement thresholds, call for bids and proposals, evaluation of bids and proposals and approval/signature of contracts and purchase orders
  • Evaluation of the procedures established to mitigate the risk of purchasing equipment that do not meet specifications or is later proven to be defective.

Asset Management:

  • The audit work shall cover equipment (typically vehicles and office equipment) purchased for use of the GR. The procedures for receipt, storage, and disposal shall also be reviewed. Auditors should review the statement of assets and equipment, description of the inventory should be included.

 Cash Management:

  • The audit work shall cover all cash funds held by the GR and review cash flow reconciliation.

General Administration:

  • The audit work shall cover recruitment practices, travel activities, vehicle management, shipping services, office premises and lease management, office communications and IT systems, and records maintenance.

Preliminary Activity Timeframe:

  • The number of small grants to be audited per one Mission will be up to 14-20 with most of the budgets ranging from USD 20,000 to USD 50,000 per each. However, each mission will have its own specific timeframe, the below is just a general forecast.


Competencies

Core Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and 
  • adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.

Functional Competencies:

Interpersonal and communication skills:

  • Strong communication skills and proven ability to collaborate with a multitude of partners
  • Flexibility, diplomatic skills and tact
  • Experience in working in a multi-cultural environment

Professional skills:

  • Good analysis and judgment;
  • Teamwork, proven management and results-orientation.

Technical aptitude:

  • Strong written and oral presentation skills
  • Strong computer skills.


Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • Master’s degree in finance, economics or another related domain;
  • Official certification of auditor is a requirement.

Experience:

  • Substantive international experience (at least 7 years) in the field of Finance;
  • Substantive experience (at least 5 years) in provision of financial audit for different kinds of projects, preferably development projects;
  • Familiarity with post-Soviet transitional context;
  • Ability to work in very sensitive political environments

Language:

  • Fluency in English and Russian

Evaluation:

The applications will be evaluated based on cumulative analysis, combination of technical and financial criteria. The technical evaluation stage encompasses desk review and interview of applicants. Auditors not meeting any of the minimum technical qualification requirements will be automatically excluded from the list of candidates for further technical evaluation. Maximum obtainable score is 100, out of which the total score for technical criteria equals to 70 points (70%) and for financial criteria 30 (30%). Candidates who pass 70% of maximum obtainable scores of the desk review (i.e. 50 x 70% = 35 points) as a result of a desk review of applications will be invited for the interview and requested to provide auditing methodology. Those candidates who pass 70% of maximum obtainable scores of the technical criteria (i.e. 70 x 70% = 49 points) will be considered as short-listed candidates.

Financial Proposal:

The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount. The payment terms around specific and measurable (qualitative and quantitative) deliverables should be accompanied by the proposed number of installments. All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal. This includes all travel to the duty station/repatriation travel. 

The timetable and duration of Audit Missions:

It is envisaged that the Audit Missions will take place in July 2018 (1st mission), November 2018 (2nd mission), and in April (3rd mission) 2019.
NOTE: UNDP will provide support with travel to and from Sukhumi as well as support with entry and logistics.

Tentative activity timeframe:

NOTE: The number of small grants to be audited per one Mission will be up to 14-20 with most of the budgets ranging from USD 20,000 to USD 50,000 per each. However, each mission will have its own specific timeframe, the below is just a general forecast.

  • Familiarization with content of projects to be audited - up to 5 days (home based)
  • Meeting with UNDP and COBERM/CSSP teams and travel to Abkhazia - 3 days
  • Conduct 3 audit missions in Abkhazia:
    • Audit mission #1: End-of-project audit of 9 small grants with average budgets of USD 50 000 (COBERM) and on-the-spot check of 5 small grants (COBERM) - Audit mission #1: up to 18 days;
    • Audit mission #2: On-the-spot check of 20 small grants of up to USD 30 000 each (CSSP), and of 5 small grants up to USD 50,000 each (COBERM) - Audit mission # 2: up to 16 days;
    • Audit mission #3: End-of-project audit of 20 small grants up to USD 30,000 each (CSSP) - Audit mission #3: up to 18 days.
  • Debriefing with UNDP and travel from Abkhazia and departure - 3 days;
  • Elaborate conclusions and recommendations - Up to 10 days (home based).

Deliverables: 

  • Conduct on-the-spot checks of financial records and supporting documentation relating to ongoing Grant Projects being implemented under COBERM and CSSP programmes in Abkhazia, according to the provisions of Micro Capital Grant Agreement;
  • Elaborate clear findings and recommendations made as a result of the checks, and share them with respective grant recipients;
  • Conduct financial audit of already completed small grants under COBERM, complemented by a follow up assessment of   progress made in implementing recommendations made as a result of the previous on-the-spot checks, to ensure putting in place relevant grant management practices compliant with international standards;
  • Prepare draft Audit Reports and discussing them with management of each respective CSO;
  • Finalize and share the Audit Reports with COBERM/CSSP grant recipients.
  • Prepare a mission report for UNDP.

 


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.


If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact erecruit.helpdesk@undp.org.

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme