Some donors – particularly the EU – ask for a Steering Committee to be established at the start of the project. The Committee’s role is to provide oversight as well as strategic advice to implementing organisations. Often it will include representatives from key beneficiary groups in addition to the Contracting Authority and consortium partners.
The donor is often referred to as the Contracting Authority which is responsible for disbursing the funding and ensuring proper accountability over the project lifecycle.
Projects that are funded by multiple donors are still likely to have one main funder who requires adherence to a specific set of rules aimed at ensuring proper stewardship and accountability.
Donors encourage applications from consortia formed for the purposes of the contract.
In some cases, the other partners may be “jointly and severally liable” which means that responsibility for delivery is borne equally by the consortium members.
The value of a consortium-based approach is that it brings together organisations with complementary skills and experience, thereby ensuring that the key workstreams benefit from each member’s expertise and credibility in the given subject area.
Where more than one organisation is involved in a grant application, the bidding process requires that one member of the consortium is nominated as the “lead”.
Generally, it is the lead partner which coordinates the preparation of the proposal, drives the project design and, in the event of a successful bid, signs the contract with the donor.
The lead will, therefore, manage the contract, reporting on delivery against KPIsand making formal applications for contract amendments when/if necessary.
US donors often refer to organisations other than the lead partneras “sub-grantees” and US budget templates provide room for presenting distinct budget allocations for these organisations (with a separate margin ormanagement overhead).
In EU parlance, sub-grantees are third parties that receive financial support through designated sub-granting programmes (see “Support to third parties”).
For the application process, this usually means that they need to mandate the lead partnerto act on their behalf.
For the purposes of implementation, co-applicants generally sign a legally binding agreement with the lead partner that stipulates their role and budgetary allocation whilst also reflecting the contractual obligations between the lead partner and theContracting Authority.
In principle, the advantage of including associates in a bid is that they demonstrate the applicants have strong links to local actors who have the potential to strengthen the credibility or broaden the outreach of an action.
However, the fact that such organisations are unable to receive project funding generally means that this status is of interest only to state-funded institutions or organisations benefiting from other grant programmes in the same thematic area.
The EU definition of associates is woolly. Associates are organisations or individuals who “play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs”.
EU guidelines go into some detail about affiliated entities.
These are organisations that have a “structural link” with the lead applicant or a co-applicant although it is stipulated that this link should not be limited to the action or established for the purposes of the action.
They may be entities controlled by the applicant (daughter companies); entities controlling the applicant (parent companies); entities under the same control as the applicant (sister companies); or members of the applicant’s network, federation or association (if the applicant has this status).
Affiliated entities are permitted to declare eligible costsassociated with the implementation of the action.
A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which collectively comply with the eligibility criteria.
Structural links can be established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the project.
The example usually given in guidelines for applicants is “an association formed by its members”.
The entities which make up a sole applicant are generally treated as affiliated entities for the purposes of the project andbudgetdesign.
Key personnel named in a bid are usually referred to as “Key Experts”.
As a rule, they have management roles as well as providing technical assistance for specific components of a project.
Key Expert CVs are presented as part of a bid and are scored against prescribed criteria. In some cases, they can account for a significant percentage of the available points and it is, therefore, important for bidders to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Terms of Reference as exactly as possible.
For EU bids, Key Experts need to be exclusive to the applicant; this is not always the case with other donors.
In addition to the Key Experts, bidders are generally asked to demonstrate that they can deploy a range of other skills and expertise in the form of Non-Key Experts – individuals who work on the project on an ad hoc basis, for short periods of time.
While the overall number of working days for these experts may well be defined in the Terms of Reference, there is no requirement for their CVs to be presented as a part of the bid.
However, it is common for applicants to provide short biographies of Non-Key Experts in the Technical Offer, thereby giving evaluators an insight into the range of consultants who can be called upon and the breadth of their experience.