Senior Commercial Contracts Specialist

NGO Jobs / UN Jobs Vacancy

Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Organization: International Rescue Committee
Closing date: 13 Jan 2021


Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

The International Rescue Committee UK is part of the IRC global network, which has its offices in New York, London, Berlin, Bonn, Brussels, Stockholm, Geneva, Nairobi, Bangkok and Amman. The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through over 20 regional offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees resettle in the US and become self-sufficient.

The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.


IRC UK were established in London in 1997 to support the organisation’s global activities and particularly to diversify its donor base and be able to better advocate with European policy makers on behalf of the people we serve. Since its establishment IRC-UK has grown rapidly and is now acknowledged for its high-quality project management, technical expertise in governance and rights and economic recovery, and innovative thinking on early recovery and gender based violence. IRC UK comprises approximately 120 staff.

The Awards Management Unit (AMU)

Established in January 2016, the AMU is an international unit with the responsibility for identifying, securing, and handling all funding from statutory/government donors. The unit is organised into five pillars: Strategic Partnerships, Programme and Grant Support, Compliance and Policy, Programme Development, and Training.

The AMU is a bridge between donors and country programmes: providing expert technical advice to country programmes, 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 grants management cycle for all restricted funding from global government sources.

The unit operates within a matrix management system across teams in Germany, the US and the UK, driving functional integration between all relevant units and staff, in collaboration with the Deputy Vice President AMU in relation to overarching issues with commercial contracts.

The Purpose of the Role

As Senior Commercial Contracts Specialist you are responsible for providing support and guidance on commercial contract implementation and risk management functions, with a particular focus on supporting cost-effective commercial service delivery. Operating in an advisory, capacity-building, and quality management role, the role participates in review of applicable policies, procedures, and resources to ensure they are conducive to cost-effective and responsible project delivery. The role will be also responsible for ensuring the recommendations of contract readiness implementation task group are followed, working across regions, the countries, and technical units, and when required providing direct support to IRC country offices. This pivotal role will contribute to ensuring that IRC is ready to deliver on our ambitious strategic goals, and significantly increase the scale, reach and effectiveness of our work, whilst reducing the organisation’s risk exposure on commercial contracts.

Scope and Authority

In this role you provide support and advice autonomously but in line with parameters laid out by the Frameworks and Global Grants Director and in accordance with IRC and AMU systems and policies.

The role facilitates two-way communications about contract implementation issues, compliance, training, donor relations to enhance organisation-wide contract readiness, and work across teams to build capacity.

Key Working Relationships

  • Reports to AMU Frameworks and Global Grants Director
  • Works as part of the wider Programme and Grant Support team in AMU with close coordination with:
    • Senior Contracts & Grants Advisor, Technical Excellence
    • Regional program support teams
    • Technical Excellence teams
    • Business Development team
    • Compliance & Policy team
    • Finance department on matters of financial management
    • Donor commercial focal points at FCDO, USAID other European donors


Contract management

  • Promote a strong knowledge-culture of sound contract and risk management practices aligned with organisational policies, procedures, and best practices and client regulations and expectations.
  • Act as contracts implementation focal point within AMU and work with colleagues in established task groups to define the AMU service offering on commercial contracts.
  • In collaboration with Senior Contracts & Grants Advisor, provide effective, relevant, and timely advice to country and regional teams and Technical Excellence teams on systems and processes for managing, delivering and reporting on commercial contracts.
  • In collaboration with Business Development, CRRD Regions, and Regional Grants Directors ensure sufficient support and linkages between bid development team and implementation team, to ensure commercial contracts practical implementation and risk management considerations, particularly around payment by results (PbR).
  • Support Program & Grant Support staff and Country delivery teams identify risks at the project level, establish targeted approaches to mitigate identified risks, taking a proactive approach to mitigate against future contract risks.
  • For larger contracts, support the creation of bespoke contract implementation guidance.
  • Lead on creation of PbR management tool to ensure successful delivery of PbR contracts.
  • Support and provide guidance to Technical Excellence and Country teams on suggested management structures for delivering specific contractual requirements.
  • 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.
  • In collaboration with Compliance & Policy review new contracts (and amendments) to ensure compliance with IRC systems and shared understanding of deliverables.
  • Ensure systems and structures are in place to analyse risks, strengths/weaknesses and gaps throughout the project lifecycle, with particular attention to key performance indicators (KPIs) and any PbR requirements (PbR).
  • Support negotiations of contracts and subcontracts under supervision of relevant Director.
  • Take a proactive approach to support implementation of remedies to deliver projects (targets, logframe, timeline, budget).
  • Develop internal organisation working processes, tools and guidance for teams and AMU related to commercial contracting, as relevant.
  • Ensure communication and coordination processes are in place with the AMU Business Development and Compliance & Policy teams to provide input and feedback on lessons learned at design and proposal development stages.
  • Advise and train teams on process and systems to ensure partnerships with local and international partners are aligned to internal policies (PEERS).Supports the continual improvement process for contract and risk management by developing, refining, and adapting policies, procedures, resources, and quality standards to meet evolving requirements.

Capacity building

  • Build organisational capacity on managing consortia for implementing large, complex commercial contracts, including providing training on contractual requirements.
  • Work with Project Cycle Meeting (PCM) team to ensure onboarding of PCM across contract delivery teams, amended to contracts as necessary, supported by the creation of a standardised contract kick-off workplan.
  • Participate in/deliver information/training sessions for regional and Technical Excellence teams on contract implementation.
  • Support with coordinating a capacity building programme for contract and risk management, through knowledge management, development and delivery of corporate trainings, dissemination of relevant information, on-the-job training, and mentorship.
  • Lead on lessons learned for implementing commercial contracts, and support institutionalising lessons learned process across contracts within IRC.

Other duties

  • Travel to IRC locations to undertake capacity building, training and assessment (subject to Covid-19).
  • Participate in organisation’s contract management initiatives and task groups.
  • Contribute to meeting AMU’s priorities and delivery of specific projects, as assigned.
  • Liaise with other IRC departments and teams.
  • Proactively disseminate the services provided by Awards Management Unit.



  • Demonstrable experience of implementing big 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.
  • 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.
  • Experience working on and/or leading organisational change projects.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Understanding and practical experience of project management principles throughout the full project lifecycle (positioning to closeout).
  • Excellent communication, influencing and interpersonal skills, including the ability to effectively manage 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 organisational skills; detail-oriented; ability handle multiple demands, prioritise tasks and learn quickly.
  • Ability to work autonomously and under remote management.
  • Good IT skills (Word, Excel, Outlook).
  • Fluency in French or Spanish desirable.

The deadline for applications is midnight between Wednesday 13th / Thursday 14th January.

Candidates must have the right to work in the UK.

IRC UK is committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination for all applicants and employees.

IRC-UK seeks to ensure we achieve diversity in our workforce regardless of gender, race, religious belief, nationality, ethnic/national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability.

IRC-UK welcomes applications from all candidates, including underrepresented groups and refugees who have the right to work in the UK.

IRC UK will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable adjustments to participate in the job application and/or interview process, and for essential job functions if appointed to a role. Please contact us if you may need such adjustments.

If you have any questions or need assistance with the online recruitment process, please contact the UK HR team at

How to apply:

Please apply on the IRC website:

Apply to Job


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