Technical Review

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What is a Technical Review Top

The objective of the technical review process is to ensure that proposals are of the highest possible quality before final approval by the HC.
The review committees are comprised of groups of technical experts, per sector/cluster, that review project proposals according to their technical merit and the appropriateness of budget provisions. Sufficient time and effort have to be dedicated to ensure that substandard projects are approved or rejected.
The technical review stage ends with the financial review by Finance HQ so that programmatic and financial feedback can be compiled by the HFU and shared with the applicant for their consideration.

How do I conduct a Technical Review Top

Role: Cluster Coordinator
The Cluster Coordinator has the ability to make comments conveying their evaluation of the project proposal. If revisions are suggested, the Cluster Coordinator will send the project proposal to the HFU, for HFU to send the project proposal to the IP for re-draft (TR Draft by IP)
If based upon the Cluster Coordinator’s evaluation, the project proposal is recommended as is, the project proposal is sent to the HFU with proper comments (Under TR by HFU).

Role: HFU

During the Technical Review stage, Cluster Coordinators, Specialists (such as gender advisors) and Finance also have the ability to review the project proposal. If the HFU or any of these groups, adds comments to the project mentioning that changes in the project proposal are needed, the HFU will send back the project proposal to the IP for the project proposal to be re-drafted.
If based upon the HFU or any other group (CC, Finance, Specialist) comments that the project proposal is to be rejected, the HFU will take the decision to reject the project proposal on the GMS and send it to 'TR Non-recommended'.

Role: FCS Finance (or HFU Finance)
The FCS/HFU Finance receives the project proposal from the HFU after the project proposal has been reviewed by the HFU and the Cluster Coordinator and after all comments (if any) have been addressed by the IP. After completing their evaluation, FCS/HFU Finance can either send the project back to the HFU (TR HFU) if there are additional comments to be addressed by the IP, OR proceed with clearing the budget before the project can move to the GA preparation stage.

Shown below are the screenshots of a project proposal undergoing a Technical Review

Cluster Coordinator:

The Cluster Coordinator and Specialists must review the project proposal, and leave comments under each tab in their respective comment's section.

Once reviewed and commented, the Cluster Coordinator can return the project proposal back to HFU by clicking on [Return to HFU].
On clicking the Return to HFU button, the Cluster Coordinator will be prompted to type in ‘Comments for project in "Under TR review"’. Click the Yes button to submit the TR reviewed project to HFU.


After reviewing the TR reviewed project from the Cluster Coordinator, including all saved comments, the HFU can either:

  • Send the project proposal back to the Partner for re-draft by clicking on [send to IP for re-draft]; OR
  • Send the project proposal to Finance review by clicking on [Send to HFU Finance for TR].

Upon clicking on [Send to Finance for TR] button, the HFU will be prompted to type in ‘Comments for project in "Under TR HFU"’. Also check the checkbox wherein the HFU is held accountable for the reviewing of the project. Click the [Yes] button to submit the project proposal for Technical review to Finance.

FCS/HFU Finance: 

After reviewing the project, FCS/HFU Finance can either :

- Leave comments if changes are required from the Partner and send it back to the HFU so that they can transfer to the partner for revision, by clicking on [return to HFU].

- Clear the budget by clicking on [Budget Cleared].

On clicking the [Budget Cleared] button, the FCS Finance will be prompted to type in ‘Comments for project in "Under TR Finance”’. Click the [Yes] button to submit the project proposal to the HFU.


TR Recommended versus Non-recommended Top

A project proposal is not recommended until it goes through the full technical review cycle of being reviewed and commented on by the Cluster Coordinator, (the advisor of cross cutting issues or Specialist if applicable), HFU and Finance. After Finance (the last user group involved in the Technical Review) provides their final comments, the HFU will determine:

  1. If the project is to be non-recommended
  2. The project proposal based upon comments made needs further revisions for further consideration
  3. The project proposal is good as is and is recommended


GMS Tip : How to build a good budget

Checklist to review the budget:

  1. The budget should be submitted through GMS
  2. In the 'Remarks' section, provide details on budget line description, unit quantity, unit cost, duration, time units (months, days or lump sum), percentage charged to the fund and the total per budget line
  3. The meaning of a "unit" should be indicated in the description, e.g. Kg, tons, boxes, assisted people etc.
  4. Itemize each national and international staff, consultants and other personnel by function and provide unit quantity and unit cost by monthly or daily rates for each staff position.
  5. Provide unit or quantity (e.g., 10 kits, 1000 metric tons) and unit cost for commodities, supplies and materials to be purchased. The budget narrative should be used to account properly for specifying the applicable unit of reference (length, volume, weight, area, etc.).
  6. Provide technical specifications for items whose unit cost is greater than US$10,000.
  7. Provide breakdown of costs for items whose total cost is greater than US$10,000. The breakdown of costs can be added through the GMS icon respective to each budget line or added as an Excel document in the Documents tab of the project under ‘Budget document’ type.
  8. Provide technical specifications for those items whose unit costs can greatly vary based on those same specifications (e.g., for generators, a reference to the possible range of power would be sufficient to properly evaluate the accuracy of the estimated cost).
  9. Provide details in the budget narrative for contract so that the object of the contract results clearly identified.
  10. Itemize general operating costs (e.g. office rent, telecommunications, internet, utilities) for project implementation providing quantity and unit cost. A lump sum for operating costs is not acceptable.
  11. Cost-shared staff positions whose existence is intended to last the entire duration of the project should be charged for the entire period and charged in percentage against the project (half of the cost of a guard, in a 12 months project, should be budgeted at 50% of the monthly salary for 12 months). Durations shorter than the project are acceptable only if the position is not intended to last for the entire duration of the project. When recording expenditures, the partner will retain the possibility to do it, within the budgeted amount, according the modalities that better suits its preferences (charging 100% of the guard for 6 months). This should be calculated as a percentage against the overall amount of the shared cost and charged in percentage to the project.
  12. It is preferable to charge shared costs for the entire duration of the project. When recording expenditures, the partner will retain the possibility to do it, within the budgeted amount, according the modalities that better suits its requirements (e.g.: to cover half of the rent of an office in a 12 months project, the partner should budget the rent for 50% of the monthly cost for 12 months period. Then the partner retains the possibility to pay the full rent of the office for 6 months with the allocated budget).
  13. Estimates can be accepted in travel, as long as the calculation modality of the estimate is described reasonably in the budget narrative (e.g., providing estimates on the number of trips and average duration in days, daily subsistence allowance (DSA) rates, etc.).
  14. Provide the list33 of items included in kits whose individual value is equal to or less than US$50.
  15. Provide list of items and estimated cost per item for kits whose individual value is greater than US$50.
  16. Provide the list of items for globally standardized kits (this does not include standard kits agreed upon in each country) like Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) kits, Interagency Emergency Health Kit (IEHK2011), etc.
  17. In the case of construction works, only the labor costs and known essential materials shall be budgeted and itemized, providing unit/quantity and unit cost. The budget narrative should explain how construction costs have been estimated on the basis of a standard prototype of building (latrine, health post, shelter), type of materials (wood, prefabricated, brick/cement/concrete) and formula or rationale used to estimate construction costs (e.g. per square foot or meter, previous experiences, etc.).


Addressing Technical Review comments Top

Viewing Comments:

A user can view comments that have been made on the project proposal by clicking on the 'More Comments' hyperlink to review 'Workflow Status Comments'.

Or at the bottom of each project proposal tab, view the comments trail provided within. The comments trail will provide you with who made the comment, the date and time stamp of the comment, the workflow project status in which the comment was made, and the comment itself.

 How to include specialized comments (gender, environment and other cross cutting issues) Top

Advisor cross cutting issues / Specialist

The Advisor of cross cutting issues or Specialist receives the project proposal within the Technical Review phase. The Advisor cross cutting issues or Specialist will have the ability to make comments on the project proposal and send it back to HFU. HFU can send the proposal back to the partner for re-draft if needed. Once the re-draft is completed, it can be sent to FCS Finance for budget clearance.
The Advisor cross cutting issues or Specialist can repeat this same process if further project proposal comments and revisions are needed.

Withdrawing a projectTop

If an Implementing Partner wishes to withdraw their project proposal during the Technical Review, they will have to contact HFU to have their project proposal withdrawn.