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The Awards Management Unit (AMU)
Established in January 2016, the Awards Management Unit (AMU) is a global department with the responsibility for identifying, securing, and handling all funding from statutory/government donors. The department includes the following teams: Program and Award Support, Strategic Partnerships, Compliance and Policy, Business Development, and Training.
The AMU is a link between donors and country programs: providing expert technical advice to the country teams, while maintaining portfolio-level visibility to ensure consistency and compliance and manage risk. This unit ensures that donor compliance policies and procedures are implemented consistently and supports all staff working across the award management cycle for all restricted funding from global government sources.
The Purpose of the Role
As Contracts Specialist you are responsible for providing support and guidance on commercial contract implementation and risk management functions, with a particular focus on supporting project start-up and cost-effective commercial contract delivery. Operating in an advisory, capacity-building, and quality management role, the role will support project teams in ensuring cost-effective, compliant and responsible project delivery. In collaboration with the Senior Contract Specialists, the role will also be responsible for ensuring the recommendations of contract readiness implementation task group are followed, working across regions, technical units, and Airbel, and when requested providing direct support to IRC country offices.
In this role you provide support and advice autonomously but in line with parameters laid out by the Senior Contract Specialists and the Director, Awards Management, Global and in accordance with IRC and AMU systems and policies.
Scope and Authority
This position does not have budgetary or line management responsibilities.
Key Working Relationships
• Reports to Senior Contracts Specialist
• Works as part of the wider Programme and Grant Support team in AMU with close coordination with:
o Director, Awards Management – Global
o Senior Contracts & Grants Advisor, Technical Excellence
o Regional Program Support Teams
o Technical Excellence teams
o Business Development team
o Compliance & Policy team
o Finance department on matters of financial management
o Donor commercial focal points at FCDO, USAID other European donors
• Provide effective, relevant and timely advice to teams on systems and processes for managing, delivering and reporting on assigned portfolio of contracts.
• Support the creation of a strong knowledge culture of sound contract and risk management practices, taking a proactive approach to mitigate against future risks.
• Provide support to project teams during contract start-up/inception to help a smooth transition from pre-award to implementation whilst the full project team is recruited, and project management processes are developed.
• In collaboration with the Senior Contract Specialist and Senior Contracts & Grants Manager, provide effective, relevant, and timely advice to country and regional teams and Technical Excellence teams on agreed approaches for managing, delivering and reporting on commercial contracts.
• Support project teams with the resolution of contractual challenges such as performance issues, payment disputes, contract amendments, partner negotiation etc, escalating as appropriate to your line manager.
• Support Program & Award Support staff and country delivery teams to identify risks at the project level, establish targeted approaches to mitigate identified risks, and take a proactive approach to mitigate against future contract risks.
• Review and provide substantive feedback on commercial aspects of reports, collaborating with and ensuring input from relevant technical and financial staff before submission to the donor.
• Support negotiations of contracts and subcontracts in collaboration with Regional Program & Award Support Team or Technical Excellence Support Team focal point. Take a proactive approach to support implementation of remedies to deliver projects (targets, logframe, timeline, budget).
• Advise and train teams on processes and systems to ensure partnerships with local and international partners are aligned to internal policies.
• As required participate in programme management meetings of contracts alongside project team.
• Support responses to queries on donor compliance issues, referring non-routine and high-level compliance matters to the line manager and Compliance & Policy team.
• Ensure teams follow internal IRC policies and procedures (e.g., OTIS, PCM, PEERS).
• Participate in/deliver information/training sessions for regional and Technical Excellence teams on contract implementation.
• Support Senior Contract Specialists with institutionalizing the lessons learned process across the contract portfolio within IRC.
• Travel to IRC locations for limited periods as surge support for contract start-up or gap-filling during implementation, or to provide training to local teams on commercial contracts.
Experience, Skills, Knowledge and Qualifications:
• Demonstrable experience of implementing large commercial contracts funded by DFID/FCDO, USAID, and others, either for non-profit or for-profit organisations.
• Extensive knowledge of funding, regulations, and procedures for FCDO and USAID, particularly with regards to commercial contracts.
• Experience of working with other institutional donors and knowledge of their requirements, such as ECHO, World Bank, Sida, AfD, KfW, GIZ, etc., desirable.
• Contractual and financial management experience with various contract and subcontract types, including, but not limited to, cost reimbursement, time-and-materials, fixed price, framework/umbrella, and performance-based.
• Experience of working with and supporting technical experts in complex project set ups.
• Experience of managing complex consortia including NGOs, for profit organisations, and academic institutions.
• Experience of supporting start-up/inception phases of larger contracts and negotiations with donors.
• Experience of donor liaison and in providing advice and best practice on contract management, including financial management.
• Experience in building and maintaining relationships with senior staff across different teams and functions, including those based in other countries.
Skills and Knowledge:
• Understanding and practical experience of project management principles throughout the full project lifecycle (positioning to closeout).
• Excellent communication, influencing and social skills, including the ability to effectively handle a variety of relationships in a multicultural environment.
• Strong diplomatic skills, including the ability to tailor language to different audiences and needs.
• Demonstrated ability to collaborate equally effectively with colleagues in ‘remote’ and diverse teams.
• Strong attention to detail to ensure own work, and work of others is of a consistent high quality in a fast-paced, demanding environment.
• Solid organizational skills; meticulous; ability to handle multiple demands, prioritize tasks and learn quickly.
• Ability to work autonomously and under remote management.
• Good IT skills (Word, Excel, Outlook).
• Fluency in French, Spanish or Arabic highly desirable.
• Ability and willingness to travel internationally, potentially at short notice.
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Equality, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.
US Benefits: We offer a comprehensive and highly competitive set of benefits. In the US, these include: 10 sick days, 10 US holidays, 20-25 paid time off days (depending on role and tenure), medical insurance starting at $145 per month, dental starting at $7 per month, and vision starting at $5 per month, FSA for healthcare, childcare, and commuter costs, a 403b retirement savings plans with up to 4.5% immediately vested matching contribution, plus a 3-7% base IRC contribution (3 year vesting), disability & life insurance, and an Employee Assistance Program which is available to our staff and their families to support counseling and care in times of crisis and mental health struggles.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires new hires to furnish proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be considered for any in-office or hybrid positions. All IRC US offices require full vaccination to attend any in-office functions (e.g., meetings, trainings).
Commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity: IRC is committed to building a diverse organization and a climate of inclusivity. We strongly encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate that they can contribute to this goal.
Equal Opportunity Employer: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.
How to apply