Compliance Advisor - Edinburgh, UK

Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Organization: Mercy Corps
Closing date: 23 May 2021

Location: Edinburgh
Position Status: Full-time, open term - starting early July 2021
Reporting to: Mercy Corps Europe Director of Compliance Governance and Risk
Salary: circa 36K + benefits
Closing Date: apply with CV and Cover Letter before 23 May 2021
Travel: Up to 20%

Candidates must have the right to work in the UK at the time of appointment.

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

Mercy Corps Europe (MCE) has grown rapidly both in terms of the volume of activity and its complexity. With offices in Edinburgh, London and The Hague, we now attract over £120m in income annually, and employ more than 100 domestic and expatriate field team members. The breadth and impact of our programmes makes Mercy Corps a unique and truly rewarding place to work. Our teams are proud of what we achieve in the field and we are always looking for talented individuals who share our passion and commitment. Mercy Corps Netherlands (MCNL) was established in December 2017. It operates in collaboration with its sister organisations, Mercy Corps Global (MCG) and MCE as one global organisation. All three entities share the same mission, vision, core values and charitable objectives, as well as operational resources for the support and implementation of programme activities.

The Role

We are now looking for an experienced and technically skilled Compliance Advisor to join our European team, based in our office in Edinburgh. The role is a key part of the support team for MCE. The role will sit within the MCE Compliance, Governance and Risk team, working alongside the US based Compliance and Legal teams to ensure that the agency fulfils its responsibility to donors, the NGO community, implementing partners and other stakeholders, and is in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Each Compliance Advisor provides expert technical advice, support and training to their assigned countries/regions and in addition has responsibility for assigned compliance focus areas and related projects.

The Compliance Advisor plays a vital role in the organisation by:

  • Supporting MCNL and MCE’s programmes and finance teams in managing organisational and donor compliance of European-funded programmes;
  • Providing compliance advice and guidance to stakeholders based in over 40 countries worldwide to be compliant with donor rules and requirements and relevant Mercy Corps policies and procedures;
  • Providing training support to teams in relation to European donors and subaward compliance;
  • Communicating closely and working collaboratively with a variety of other Headquarters departments and MCG colleagues to ensure that, whenever possible, approaches are globally consistent.

This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced, ambitious legal or compliance professional who is interested in a career in the humanitarian and development sector. You will be joining the fast-growing European entity of a leading global agency, helping people in some of the world's toughest places turn the crises of natural disaster, poverty and conflict into opportunities for progress.

Essential Job Responsibilities

EUROPEAN DONOR COMPLIANCE (for an assigned portfolio of countries/regions):

  • Review and participate in negotiations of donor agreements, including highlighting main compliance issues and advising on points to negotiate with donor representatives.
  • Provide compliance advice to ensure adherence to donor grant rules and regulations, including acting as the primary compliance ‘help desk’ function for European headquarters, supporting programmes, finance, technical and colleagues in the countries and regions where we implement programmes[1][2] as required. Escalate issues as needed to MCE Director of Compliance, Governance and Risk.
  • Track, document and disseminate recurring donor compliance risks and issues.
  • Establish and monitor key donor compliance indicators across the European portfolio and develop compliance systems and exceptions requests.
  • Support donor inquiries, including responses to Donor Due Diligence.
  • Where appropriate, review donor reports to ensure donor compliance.
  • Provide advice to the Finance team in managing donor-led audits, including legal and contractual advice, seeking internal and external legal advice when required and negotiating contested findings where appropriate.
  • Working together with the global Ethics team, support with donor notifications and reporting of fraud and corruption incidents.
  • Participate and contribute to the external NGO networks and other initiatives to broaden perspectives on industry trends on compliance as well as keep up to date on changes in the donor compliance rules.


  • Advise the Programme, Finance and Country teams on the usage and implications of partnering mechanisms (including Subawards) in support of programme implementation. Provide guidance on the appropriate use of subawards and other types of agreements such as consortium agreements and/or service contracts.
  • Ensure the completion of Mercy Corps’ due diligence and pre-award compliance checks for subawards in accordance with established policies and procedures.
  • In coordination with country and headquarters team members, draft and negotiate subaward agreements and amendments based on policies and procedures. Ensure subaward agreements flow down all relevant Mercy Corps’ and prime donor requirements.
  • Develop and maintain an effective and efficient process for ensuring subawards are appropriately reviewed, approved and signed by authorised parties, including implementing partners.
  • With review and input from other stakeholders, develop and maintain subaward and amendment templates, as well as other required agreements (such as consortium agreements, MOUs), for use with Mercy Corps’s prime donors awards.
  • Provide training, via webinar or in-person, on subaward requirements and procedures.


  • As required, assist with the development and maintenance of MCE policies and procedures related to compliance and risk.
  • Create, maintain and refresh a suite of donor compliance guidance and internal tools and templates to continue to support Mercy Corps’ compliance, for example researching and developing donor requirements and issuing reference guides.
  • Develop and manage compliance resources, including comprehensive best practice guidance and training materials on main European donors.
  • Lead the delivery of compliance training or other start-up activities for European-funded programmes.
  • Participate in Complex Boards and provide enhanced compliance training and support for complex programmes, as required.
  • Attend training, conferences and/or programs as assigned, including European donors’ rules and regulations training, periodic webinars, and regional conferences.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our programmes.

Knowledge and Experience

  • Educated to Bachelors level, ideally in Law or a related subject, or equivalent experience.
  • Ideally 5+ years of experience in fast-paced work environments, with some exposure to working in a multinational organisation.
  • Minimum 3 years of experience in the legal profession or in compliance and/or grants management.
  • Experience of identifying compliance issues and providing guidance and or developing tools to improve compliance.
  • Experience managing or working with subawards and/or partnerships is highly desirable.
  • Able to conduct legal research. Some experience in drafting legal agreements would be beneficial.
  • Preference given to candidates with knowledge of European donor funding and experience working in an INGO.
  • Excellent written and spoken English. French and/or Spanish language skills are highly desirable.

Success Factors

  • Detail-oriented multi-tasker, with excellent organisation skills.
  • Strong process management skills.
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and verbal), able to work successfully in a multinational, multicultural organisation.
  • Able to build and maintain effective internal and external relationships.
  • Cooperates and works well with colleagues to maximise opportunities and communicate and solve issues.
  • Skilled in anticipating and solving problems, involving others as needed.
  • Able to cope with changing priorities, often at short notice, and work well under pressure.
  • High levels of motivation and professionalism; proactive attitude.
  • An exposure to and clear interest in international development issues is important, as is an appreciation of the complex challenges faced by teams operating in overseas environments.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Edinburgh, Scotland and may require national or international travel, sometimes on short notice to areas with limited access to medical facilities and amenities.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

How to apply:

Please apply with CV and cover letter at following link:

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