Technical Reviews

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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. Implementing Partners are asked to prepare full proposals (if concept notes were initially requested) for conducting a Technical Review.
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 has to be dedicated to ensure that substandard projects are improved or rejected.
The technical review stage also includes financial review by FCS Finance so that programmatic and financial feedback can be compiled by the HFU and shared with the applicant jointly.

How do I conduct a Technical Review Top

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

Role: HFU

During the Technical Review stage, Cluster Coordinators, Specialists (such as gender advisors) and FCS Finance also have the ability to view the project proposal for their review. If HFU or any of these groups, comments that revisions to the project proposal is needed, HFU will send back the project proposal to IP for the project proposal to be redrafted.
If based upon HFU or any other groups (CC, FCS Finance, Specialist) comments the project proposal is to be rejected, HFU will make the decision to reject the project proposal and send it to 'TR Non-recommended'.

Role: FCS Finance
The FCS Finance receives the project proposal from the HFU after the project proposal has been reviewed by HFU and the Cluster Coordinator. After completing their evaluation FCS Finance has to approve the budget before the project proposal can move to the GA preparation stage.

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

Cluster Coordinator:

After the Cluster Coordinator and Specialists have reviewed the project proposal, the Cluster Coordinator will click on the Return to HFU button.
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, the HFU will click on the Send to FCS Finance for TR button

On clicking the Send to FCS 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 FCS Finance.

FCS Finance: 

After reviewing the project, FCS Finance will click on the Budget Cleared button.

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.

How many rounds of Technical Review Top

The Technical review is no longer limited to three rounds but instead now goes back & forth with the HFU being in control of the number of review rounds between HFU-Implementing Partner-Cluster Coordinator-Specialist-FCS Finance. The HFU controls the entire mechanism in the field and ensures the project proposal is submitted to FCS Finance when finalized by other concerned parties. On this basis, FCS Finance may (or may not) clear a project and either move it to the next stage (or send it back). The number of rounds will not be counted or documented in the GMS. Three back-and-froths with IPs are still advised as a maximum; however, the system will no longer ‘number them’ as it did in the past with TR1, TR2 and so forth…

How to conduct a Financial Review Top

Both HFU and FCS Finance will have the opportunity to review the budget of an Implementing Partner's project at each Technical Review stage.

TR Recommend versus Nonrecommend Top

A project proposal is not recommended or non-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 FCS Finance. After the last user group FCS Finance provides their comments, which allows HFU to review all comments made by the respective user groups involved in the technical review and based upon these comments, 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.

Tips to build a good budgetTop

Checklist to review the budget:

  1. The budget should be submitted through GMS
  2. 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, eg. Kg, tonnes, 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 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).
  8. Provide details in the budget narrative for contract so that the object of the contract results clearly identified.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.).
  13. Provide the list33 of items included in kits whose individual value is equal to or less than US$50.
  14. Provide list of items and estimated cost per item for kits whose individual value is greater than US$50.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.).

Address 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 specialised 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.

Withdraw a projectTop

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

<What Next?> Top

After a successful round(s) of Technical Review, an Implemeting Partner may be offered the project, at which time HFU will notify them of such. If a project is offered, the preparation of the Grant Agreement associated with the project will be drafted, requiring signatures of the Humanitarian Coordinator, the Implemeting Partner and the OCHA Exectuive Officer.