Capacity Assessment

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What are Capacity Assessment and Partner Scoring? Top

As mentioned in the CBPF Global Operational Manual, the analysis of the risk level of an Organization is an essential component of the CBPF accountability framework. Partner risk analysis is carried out by analyzing partner capacity which determines eligibility.

The eligibility assessment, and subsequent Partner Risk scoring, is composed of both the Due Diligence  (step 1) and the Capacity Assessment (step 2).

After successfully completing Due Diligence, prospective CBPF partners (NGOs and Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies) undergo the Capacity Assessment (CA) process. The CA is aimed at determining whether the organization has sufficient capacity in terms of institutional, managerial, financial and technical expertise. It allows the Humanitarian Financing Unit (HFU) to determine the risk level of the organization (high, medium, low or ineligible). The principle is that the higher the risk, the more stringent assurance mechanisms will apply if the organization ever gets funded by the CBPF.

Capacity assessments are coordinated by the HFU of each OCHA Country Office. Currently, every prospective partner organization is assessed at the national level. Capacity assessments should take place before an application for funding is submitted. Ineligible partners can re-apply for capacity assessment six months after having undertaken the first one, provided they can demonstrate that the elements that caused the initial rejection have been addressed.

There are three Capacity Assessment methods: the Internal Capacity Assessment (ICA) performed online, the ICA performed offline, and the External, or outsourced, Capacity Assessment (ECA).

Internal Capacity Assessment (ICA) online, on the GMS 

As of 2019, it is mandatory for HFUs to score an organization’s capacities using the online ICA Global Questionnaire, available on the GMS.
To perform an ICA, the HFU must have access to multiple documents related to the prospective partner’s organizational information, policies/manuals, reports and other relevant documents.

The ICA process, performed by HFU, includes:
1)  a desk-based review of the documents provided by the organization;
2)  interviews with the organization’s staff members; where possible or relevant visits to the implementing partner’s offices, and
3)  interviews with key informants such as previous/existing donors and partners, as well as cluster leads and members.

The ICA takes into account and, whenever possible, encompasses existing assessments such as the Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfers (HACT). An NGO’s HACT result can be used to score the 5th Category of the ICA: Internal and Financial Capacity

On conclusion of the ICA, the HFU will let the organization know of their resulting risk level (High, Medium, Low or Ineligible).

Internal Capacity Assessment offline 

Under certain circumstances, the ICA can be performed offline, outside of GMS. HFU officers are still required to enter the offline data into the platform. However, for compliance reasons, it is strongly advised to use the GMS to perform the Capacity Assessment and not perform it offline.

Externally-contracted Capacity Assessment (ECA) - "outsourced" 

The ECA follows the same ICA process and assessment method, however it is performed by an external, consulting party, contracted by OCHA country’s team.

*Please Note, the OCHA Country Office is responsible for supporting the coordination and ensuring the quality and accuracy of assessments carried out by third parties through thorough review.

Partner Scoring and Risk Levels 

The Capacity Assessment (ICA / ECA) aims to score the partners as follows:

- Non-Eligible Partners
- Eligible Partners

Based on the CA score and the Funds’ scoring table and thresholds, Eligible partners are rated as:

- High Risk,
- Medium Risk, or
- Low Risk.

Risk levels determine the minimum set of control mechanisms and operational modalities applied throughout the grant management cycle.

As a partner implements projects, its risk level will be determined by its Performance Index (PI) score and capacity assessment score. Over time, as partners receive funding and implements projects, risk ratings will increasingly be determined by partner performance. To know more about risk management of Partners over time, please refer to our article on Performance ratings and risk management.

*Please Note, the partner-based risk analysis only applies to NGO and Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies partners. These entities are not part of the UN system and do not have the legal standing of UN agencies. UN agencies are intergovernmental organizations that are accountable to UN Member States. Each UN agency has its own governance and control framework which applies also to their management of CBPF grants, they are not concerned by the Capacity Assessment step of the Eligibility process.


How to enter the Partner’s Capacity Assessment’s results in the GMS? (HFU) Top

Once their Due Diligence is approved by the HFU on the GMS, prospective partners have to undergo the Capacity Assessment process. The HFU must gather all information collected during the desk review, the field visit and/or the interviews, and then answer the different questions in the organization’s scorecard in the GMS.

*Please Note, in case of an ECA, HFU officers must enter the results of the CA and subsequent Risk Level in the GMS. The technical process is the same.

Accessing the organization’s CA scorecard in the GMS 

CA results must be compiled and saved in the organization’s scorecard in the GMS. To access it, go to the GMS homepage -> Risk Management -> Capacity Assessment

Filter the Partner you wish to assess using the menu options of the page and click on [Filter Partners].

Fields Description:
Partner Type (dropdown list): List of partner types in the pooled fund. (International NGO, National NGO, Others, UN Agency)
Scoring Type (dropdown list): List of scoring types available for the pooled fund. By default, the “Active”-template is automatically selected. The inactive CA templates are marked "In-Active" in the dropdown list.

You can click on the [Clear Filters] button to remove the selected filters.

The selection appears below, as a list:

Fields Description:

  • Check box: Allows selecting multiple partners for a common action like print selected partners score or Export score overview.
  • Score this partner : Clicking on the rainbow icon/barometer will open the scoring page.
  • Risk level: Displays the risk level given to the partner. If a risk level is not available, it shows as “Pending”.
  • Partner Name: Name of the partner
  • Partner Type: Displays the partner type.
  • Update Details: Displays the user details who have worked on this project.
  • Category Codes (e.g. A,B,C,D,E ): Displays the scoring received in the individual categories of the scorecard.
  • Total: Displays the total scoring for the project

In the list organizations, partners which have not undergone the Capacity Assessment are shown with a Risk Level labeled ‘Pending’, in red. Click on the rainbow icon/barometer  of the organization you wish to rate to access the scoring page.

*Please Note: When the user selects an inactive template, the system shows a “read only icon”  instead of the standard rainbow/barometer icon, indicating that the score cannot be updated.


Assessing the Partner’s Capacities with the CA Scorecard: 

The CA scorecard is composed of three sections:
- Information
- Questionnaire
- Version History

Its top section is an ‘Information’ section, where you can enter the type of Capacity Assessment used and see all CA-related information. 

Fields Description:

  • Partner Type: States the Partner type of the selected organization.
  • Partner Name: States the name of the selected organization.
  • CA type: Choose among the different options which type of CA you wish to perform. Please refer to the first section of this article to learn more about the different CA types.
  • Total Score: The CA score will be automatically calculated once the online questionnaire has been filled out on GMS.
  • Risk Level: The Partner’s Risk Level will be entered by the HFU at the completion of the CA questionnaire, based on each fund’s country risk scale. Updated By: the name of the person entering the data and completing the CA will be automatically shown in this field.
  • Updated Date: the date of CA completion will be automatically saved in this field.
  • Number of questions pending: this field reminds you of the number of unanswered questions in the scorecard. All questions must be answered to complete the online CA and receive the appropriate total score.
  • Create Version: Select the Create Version checkbox to re-assess or update the Capacity Assessment results of the organization (please see section How and when to update the CA to learn more about this option).
  • On the right-hand side: Country’s scoring table template. It determines the Partner’s risk level, according to the CA score. The CA score ranges are country-specific and can differ from one fund to another.


The Active Global Questionnaire for ICA is composed of 5 categories:

A. Due Diligence and Registration (Questions on organizations' approval of due diligence and registration validity - if due diligence and registration are not fulfilled, the rest of the questionnaire will be excluded)
B. Governance and Institutional Capacity (Questions on organizations' institutional capacity, management structures and internal policy documents)
C. Programmatic Response Capacity (Questions on organizations’ capacity on assessments, response and monitoring)
D. Coordination and Partnership Capacity (Questions on organizations' capacity in coordination mechanisms and working with other partners)
E. Internal and Financial Capacity (Questions on organizations' internal financial policies, recording systems and reporting capacity - (Note: if partner has undergone the HACT assessment the score of this category will use HACT results)

Based on the answers given on the online questionnaire, the system automatically calculates the Capacity Assessment total score. You can also add comments if necessary.



Assigning a Risk Level to the Implementing Partner 

Based on the CA Total Score obtained at the completion of the online questionnaire , and according to the fund’s country-specific scoring table template  provided both at the top and the bottom of the page, the HFU must assign the respective risk level to the organization and save it manually on the GMS.

Example: In our example, the partner received a CA total score of 76.75. According to the country CA scale provided in the table on GMS, this score is within the 71 to 90.99 score range, corresponding to ‘Medium’ risk. Therefore, the Partner has a Medium Risk Level.

Enter the relevant Risk Level from the drop-down list, and click on [Save].

*Please Note, you can partially fill in the CA Questionnaire, save it and come back to it afterwards. Simply click on [Save and Stay], or [Save and go back to the list] to save the answers entered.

While one can save the answers partially in the Capacity Assessment Form, the system will not allow assigning a risk level in case all the questions are not answered.

Once all questions have been answered and the Risk Level has been saved, the ‘Information’ Section is automatically updated with the new information:

GMS FOCUS: what is the Adapted CA Score?  

The Adapted CA score is displayed next the CA score automatically calculated at the completion of the CA Questionnaire on GMS.

The adapted CA score was introduced to harmonize the CA scores and to facilitate the comparison of partners’ risks between funds.
It is calculated by means of a ‘multiplier’.  The ‘multiplier’ is specific to each Fund; it translates the CA country score into its weight equivalence at the global level without changing the risk level

It is the adapted CA score which is used in the calculation of the Partner Performance Index.

For instance:
Lebanon’s HIGH Risk range is scored between 31 and 70.99, and the global HIGH Risk range is scored between 50 and 69.99.

Partner Z is scored 31/100, which is considered Eligible/-HIGH Risk according to Lebanon’s range. A score of 31 would be considered ineligible at Global level without the multiplier concept

However, with the multiplier concept, the equivalent score at the global level is 50/100, which is considered as Eligible - HIGH risk. Partner Z’s Adapted CA score is hence 50/100 and reflects  the correct Risk Level on the global template.



The Documents’ tab: 

The documents’ tab enables HFU to upload the organization’s CA related documents on the GMS. To do so, click on [Add documents].




When and how to re-assess the organization’s capacitiesTop 


As per the CBPF Operational Handbook, eligible partners that have not implemented CBPF-funded projects for more than three consecutive years will be required to undergo a new capacity assessment.

In this case, HFU officers must create a new version of the CA.

*Please note, a partner’s capacities’ will be assessed for every project submitted and implemented in the GMS, through the Partner Performance Index (PPI). To learn more about the PPI and risk management, please refer to our dedicated article: Partner Performance Index.


To re-assess the capacities of the organization, you will have to create a new CA version. Make sure the first version is saved on the GMS before proceeding with the new one.

To create a new version, go to the organization’s current CA scorecard, and click on [Create Version], then [Save & Stay].

Upon clicking on [Save and Stay], you will be prompted to add a title to this newly created version. Insert a title in the pop-up window and click on [Save].

Recommendation: we recommend you name the version based on the information of the last updates done on this scorecard, e.g. NGO CA – 22/05/2020.

The current CA will hence become a version stored at the bottom of the CA scorecard, and you can now proceed with updating the scorecard based on the new CA’s information. To do so, follow the same procedure as described in the section above .

After answering the Questionnaire, generating a new CA score and assigning the correct risk level (if the new score implies a change of risk level), click on [Save and Stay], or [Save and Go back to the List].

All Capacity Assessment versions are saved in the bottom section of the Partner’s scorecard: ‘Version History’.

GMS Tip: how to extract and download the CA information of one or multiple implementing partners? 

To extract Capacity Assessments’ data, go to the Capacity Assessment page of the GMS (risk management> Capacity Assessment).

Filter the partners which CA data you wish to extract by using the available filter options, select the partners you wish to extract by checking the boxes. You can tick all boxes at once by ticking the box on the top of the list. (as in the screenshot).

Click on the Print Selected partners score icon  to print the partners score after selecting the desired partner from the filtered list.
Click on the Export Score Overview icon to export the scoring details after selecting the desired partners from the filtered list