Call for Lead Consultants and Risk Assessors for USAID LOCAL

Website IntraHealth International

Background

The USAID Leading Organizational Capacity and Localization Development (USAID LOCAL) Activity, managed by IntraHealth International, is a five-year United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project. The goal of USAID LOCAL is to strengthen organizational capacity of USAID/Zambia local implementing partners (LIPs) to manage, implement and monitor programs that effectively and efficiently deliver sustainable quality development outcomes and impact, and fully influence local development agendas.  Under Component 1, USAID/IntraHealth collaborates with local partners, including the government of Zambia, on risk identification and mitigation and supporting best practices in organizational management.

USAID LOCAL will be conducting a set of risk assessments for seven Local Authorities (LA) in Chililabobwe, Chisamba, Kawambwa, Mbala, Mpika, Mpongwe and Serenje districts and one District Education Board Secretary’s (DEBS) Office in Mpika. The purpose of the risk assessment is to identify, assess, rank, and propose measures to mitigate fiduciary risks of public finance management systems of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development’s LAs in the above-mentioned districts. Further, the assessment will identify risks and propose mitigation measures in the Mpika District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) office, District Education Resource Centre and a selected sample of Zonal schools within Mpika district.

The following four consultancies are sought to initiate work in late May or early June to finalize the design of the assignment. After completion of the field work, the core consultants will be responsible for reporting and responding to suggestions for finalization of the deliverables.

Scope of Work for Consultants

LARA Senior Team Advisor  (1)

The Local Authorities Risk Assessment (LARA) Senior Team Advisor (STA), based in Lusaka, is a short-term consultancy over a six-to-eight-month period. The STA is the lead country level technical expert responsible for providing leadership, oversight and direction on the LA and DEBS risk assessment assignment. The STA is responsible for the smooth delivery of the multi-site assessment on time at a high level of technical quality across all administrative areas.

The STA reports to the Chief of Party and will supervise the three LARA Team Leaders throughout the duration of the assignment.  In addition, the STA will propose the finalization of the sampling methodology in collaboration with the International G2G Risk Assessment Advisor and IntraHealth managers. The STA will review all the deliverables from the three teams conducting fieldwork which include completed questionnaires, preliminary findings, a heat map of risks identified, and proposals for remediation of the risks per site. The STA will lead review of the reports and collaborate with the International G2G Risk Assessment Advisor and editors to finalize the reports after a review by USAID, the primary client.

LARA Team Leaders (3)

The assessment team will include three LARA Team Leaders. The three teams will work in parallel over a 2 to 3-month period to generate the data for the eight risk assessments, and issue draft reports for each site. The LARA Team Leaders (TLs) will lead the performance of the assessments per the established schedule and methodology and serve as point of contact with the corresponding Local Authority and harmonious processes within their teams.  Each TL will lead a three-person team including two risk assessors (RAs), who are specialized consultants (see below), and assume overall responsibility for up to three sites in the LAs/DEBS field portion of the study. The TLs will ensure the quality of data collection, data review, accuracy of findings, and report quality of each site assessment according to the approved methodology and tools within the planned time frame (estimated at two to three weeks per site). Each TL will accompany the team to the field sites and manage the daily activities including the validation sessions with the Local Authority or DEBS Office. The TL will submit a team report for each site, according to specifications, including preliminary findings, a heat map of risk, and proposed mitigation measures. The team leaders will work under the technical direction of the LARA Senior Technical Advisor (STA) and overall supervision of the Chief of Party and International Senior G2G Advisor.  The TLs will respond to feedback and suggestions for follow up. Strong report writing and documentation skills are required.

Deliverables Summary

  1. USAID G2G document review.
  2. Review and update Risk Assessment Tool from USAID/IntraHealth.
  3. Detailed site assessment sampling methodology within 10 days after start.
  4. Participate in first site visit (70 km from Lusaka) and/or after-action review workshop.
  5. Complete field work at eight sites across all administrative areas (see below).
  6. Coordinate and deliver technical assistance to ensure quality of the assessment.
  7. Complete set of primary data (questionnaires and site testing results) per site (seven LAs and one DEBS/Resource Center).
  8. Prepare, review and finalize each (8) district level risk assessment report, including: Heat map of risks identified per site; Transaction testing information per site; Summarize main findings/risk per site; Propose risk mitigation measures for each material risk identified; For the Mpika DEBS site, document all findings of the Mpika DEBS Office, District Resource Center and a sample of Zonal school assessments.
  9. Finalize reports for each LA (7) or DEBS (1), responding to reviewer comments from USAID and IntraHealth.
  10. Develop final risk mitigation plans (RMP) for each assessed site (7 LA and 1 DEBS) responding to all comments from USAID and IntraHealth.

Qualifications

  • Minimum of master’s degree in a relevant field, such as public administration, public finance, management accounting/audit, international development and donor compliance, or business administration/technology.
  • 15 years’ experience required (STA) or 10 year’s experience required (TLs) in public sector audit and/or development cooperation projects and/or consultancies with increasing responsibilities and accountability.
  • Minimum of ten years’ experience (STA) or five years’ experience (TLs) in international development including both the public and NGO sector. Previous work experience with Zambian Local Authorities and experience conducting USAID G2G risk assessments or donor audits is an added advantage.
  • Very good communication and technical supervisory skills related to the subject matter (public administration, finance, procurement, logistics, audit, human resources, technology, ethics/integrity, and local governance).
  • Deep understanding of internal controls, and actual practice, in the Zambian public sector, standard operating procedures and USAID programming and compliance requirements desired.
  • Program management, process consulting and report writing skills with a client-facing orientation required.
  • Ability to multi-task and work under tight deadline requirements in a team setting, including home office and donor feedback.

Six to eight additional risk assessors will be incorporated once the core consultant team (one senior team advisor and three team leaders) is in place. Field work is expected to take two to three months.

LARA Risk Assessors (6-8)

The assessment team will include up to seven risk assessors (RAs) who are specialized consultants in areas such as finance, cash and banking, audit, procurement, human resources, information technology, and local governance for public administration in the Zambian Government.  The RAs will work with team leaders during the field work portion of the study, collect data, follow the study methodology and LARA tool (to be provided), and document findings. Each RA should have strong technical command of at least two to three of the sub-areas of the LARA tool (below). RAs should be thorough and ensure all findings are carefully documented and analyzed by the team.

The LARA tool includes specific questions, standards, control benchmarks that are appropriate for the Zambian local government public administration.  The sub-areas include:

  •  Budget (budget formulation and control, calendar, communications, variance analysis, validation of SOPs, budget transfers, donor funds),
  • Cash & Treasury Management (cash management, cash flow, forecasting, bank accounts, governance, bank reconciliations)
  • Accounting and Reporting (system, standards, SOPs, journal entry controls, financial reporting, reconciliation of ledgers, CoA, payment SOPs and controls, asset management and control);
  • Procurement (functional control, documentation, staffing, planning, bidding SOPs, evaluation, advertisement, award SOPs, review/resolution of complaints, contract management, oversight, integrity);
  • Human Resources & Payroll (policies, SOPs, hiring, training, payroll records, fraud controls, payments);
  • Internal Control (codes of conduct, integrity policies, management commitment and ethics, enforcement, risk management, employee incentives and retention);
  • Information Technology (policies, SOPs, IT audits, access, backup, IT security, incident management, threats).

One cross-cutting risk assessor in D&G is sought with strong thematic knowledge of and expertise in USAID D&G programs to evaluate high-level risks associated with democracy, governance, and the political economy of international development cooperation.

Requirements include advanced degree, practical experience conducting assessments with international partners, and strong documentation and communication (writing and speaking) skills.

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