Close to seven years into the crisis, the scale, severity, and complexity of needs across Syria remain deep and far-reaching. Over half of the country’s population have fled their homes: 5.5 million people have sought refuge in the region and beyond, and 6.1 million people are internally displaced. 13.1 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, 5.6 million people face acute humanitarian needs. Millions of people have fallen into poverty, forced to resort to harmful coping strategies and faced with increasing protection risks. If hostilities continue in some parts of the country, humanitarian needs are expected to deepen in these areas during 2018. In 2018 with no end to the conflict in sight, humanitarian needs are expected to continue to grow in scale, severity, and complex. Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) 2018 is expected to play a role in bridging Humanitarian assistance and Development by strengthening Resilience of the affected population in Syria. The role of Resilience is expected to grow faster in the given situation on the ground to accelerate the transition from immediate Humanitarian assistance to IDPs and affected population to more sustainable and recovery-oriented support, including support to potential returns of IDPs as well as refugees.
The priorities of UNDP Syria are, as stipulated in the Country Programme Document 2016-2017, which is to be extended till end/2019, to enhance the resilience and socio-economic stabilization of individuals and communities through restoring the disrupted livelihoods of the affected communities; and restoring, rehabilitating and maintaining sustainable basic services and infrastructure in damaged areas and host communities. Embedded in each priority is an institutional crisis response capacity development component for key national and local partners. Mindful of the scale of the crisis, the scaled-up, targeted, and rapidly responsive interventions of UNDP Syria would strive to mitigate displacement and movement of refugees, including forced, illegal, and unsafe migration and the trafficking of refugees, and to support potential returns of the IDPs.
To support UNDP Syria in programmes/projects implementation, execution of programme finance services, to ensure compliance with UNDP rules and regulations, ensure effective utilization of financial resources, compliance with audit policies, and to establish internal procedures and streamline solutions to a wide spectrum of complex audit issues an Oversight and Program Support Unit (OPSU) is established in order to play all these functions in a more effective and efficient way and to achieve the expected development results. This implies a close collaboration with the Operations, Programme and Field coordination/project teams in the Country Office (CO), UNDP HQ and Government officials, leading to a successful CO performance in audit exercise, and the resolution of complex programme financial management-related issues and delivery information.
This will help streamline management in the office and enhance staff’s accountability. The OPSU will be responsible for facilitating adherence to accountability standards and procedures by programme units and projects as outlined in POPP, monitoring, evaluation and oversight, reporting on effective use of programme resources by projects, and delivery, supporting the strategic programme planning, management, reporting and similar activities requiring office-wide process.
Under the overall guidance and the direct supervision of the Country Director, the Oversight Specialist will be responsible for leading and coordinating the overall work and day-to-day management of the Oversight and Programme Support Unit (OPSU), a stand-alone unit within the country Office structure directly reporting to the Country Director. The unit will consult with the Deputy Country Director and corporate bodies, such as the Regional Hub, RBAS, as well as the Office of Audit and Investigation (OAI) as and if necessary. The overall aim is to ensure of quality assurance, accountability and oversight for the results as stipulated in Country Programme Document. S(he) will have responsibility and accountability for the effective and efficient provision of all service lines the Unit is offering to the Country Office and – in extension – to all projects implemented and overseen by the Office.
The Oversight Specialist will supervise the staff of the OPSU and will be responsible for fostering collaboration within the Unit, and for working in close collaboration with the Partnership, Advocacy, Results and Communication (PARC) unit, Programme and Operations units and other relevant colleagues. The focus of the Unit is to provide coordinated, systematic, client-oriented and timely services for the benefit of the Country Office overall.
- Ex-ante quality assurance of programmes, projects and outputs and post-facto oversight of project procurement, HR and finance processes;
- Improved risk management and audit opinion and rating for audits for CO and projects;
- Dedicated strategic/management support to Country Director;
- Overall management of the Unit, including supervision/mentoring of staff;
- Facilitates knowledge building and knowledge sharing as required by the organization.
Ex-ante quality assurance of programmes, projects and outputs and post-facto oversight of project procurement, HR and finance processes:
- Lead risk analysis of programmes, projects and outputs;
- Coordinate LAPC quality assurance, including advice on implementation modalities and programme design;
- Ensure projects are prepared and monitored according to POPP, UNDG guidelines for joint programmes and locally approved guidelines/SOPs;
- Inspect and review the management of various programmes, projects and field activities to ensure conformity with established regulations, rules and procedures;
- Lead and undertake cross-practice capacity risk assessments;
- Provide advice and clearance for agreements under DIM projects with a view on programmatic and results value vis-à-vis risk management;
- Provide ex-ante clearance for financially substantive or high-risk contracts for DIM/NIM projects and DIM agreements including micro-capital grants (MCGs);
- Review CO SOPs and advise improvement to further streamline processes that ensures smooth delivery of the country programme;
- Lead post-facto oversight for critical operations such as payments, procurement processes and human resources undertaken by projects;
- Review all financially substantive (direct) payments from a risk management perspective;
- Act as CO focal point for Risk Management and contribute to the inter-agency level Risk Management System to be set up at CO.
Improved risk management and audit opinion and rating for audits for CO and projects:
- Focal point for and support CO/DIM/NIM audit exercises and follow up on audit recommendations;
- Monitor the implementation of recommendations and guide office on the actions required to implement outstanding audit recommendations;
- Provide guidance and technical advice on audit key areas and oversight functions to CO management, projects and CO staff and other staff involved with project activities;
- Undertake preventive actions and/or apply proactive approach to assure that UNDP resources are adequately safeguarded and used for intended purposes and further avoid similar problems and recurring audit issues through:
- Identifying the potential causes of non-compliance based on recurring audit findings and observations from various audits and internal reviews conducted;
- Carrying out or commission spot checks, programme monitoring and scheduled pre-audit preparations;
- Conducting pre-audits, independent monitoring and oversight in a systematic way;
- Carry out periodic spot-checks and internal reviews of selected projects, programme areas units in CO including engagement through third party monitoring (TPM) agents;
- Develop risk-based audit plans for projects and CO annually and submit to senior management for their review, approval;
- Provide substantive inputs/support to develop systems to foster improvements in the application of internal control systems and in the maintenance of compliance standards;
- Trouble shoot and provide rapid objective solutions for perceived problems, and to provide practical and immediate assistance in eliminating control deficiencies;
- Document and evaluate systems and controls to determine their adequacy and effectiveness, ensuring compliance with policies and procedures, accomplishment of management objectives, reliability and integrity of information and economical use of resources.
Dedicated strategic/management support to Country Director/Senior Management:
- Prepare working papers, reports and presentations on audit, programme management and other strategic issues to the CD/Senior Management;
- Provide support to CD concerning interactions/liaison with donors and partners in co-operation with the PARC Unit, including preparation of inter-agency reports;
- Provide support to CD, and undertake any specific tasks requested by the CD/Senior Management;
- Provide quality briefs and options to senior management on issues related to the nexus between Programme/Operations and Main Office/Area Offices in close cooperation with respective teams;
- Review the CO and project internal processes using preventive approach and support senior management in the management oversight function;
- As delegated, review and approve FACE forms, payment vouchers - direct payments, reimbursements and cash advances;
- As delegated, perform functions of Approving Manager Level 2 in Atlas and review and clear approval requests for Senior Manager level;
- Advise the CD/ senior management about any suspected misconducts in operations of programme and project activities, and if required conduct preliminary fact-finding work into allegations of wrongdoings and prepare reports with appropriate recommendations for CO management review and actions.
Overall management of the Unit, including supervision of staff:
- Manage day-to-day operations of Unit;
- Define the service lines and priorities of the Unit in coordination with the senior management;
- Develop and implement Unit’s strategy/annual workplan;
- Define the Unit’s modus operandi, develop procedures and mechanisms to effectively implement agreed priorities and regular functions;
- Ensure compliance of Unit’s activities with UNDP rules, regulations and policies;
- Ensure proper staff performance appraisal and promote personal and professional capacity development;
- Undertake mentoring/coaching/capacity development of staff, including national programme/project/area officers, to ensure requisite programme implementation capacity;
- Liaise with other unit heads in cross-practice activities, coordinate equitable workload distribution.
Facilitates knowledge building and knowledge sharing as required by the organization:
- Provide guidance and technical advice on audit and oversight functions to the Country office management, implementing agencies/responsible parties and other staff involved with project work to ensure compliance with UN/UNDP rules, regulations, and policies of financial activities, financial recording/reporting system;
- Support analyses of lessons learned through M&E and other processes, and prepare knowledge products to be disseminated within UNDP;
- Support provisions of training on appropriate accountability, oversight, and monitoring strategies and implementation of corporate guidance in projects (Internal Control Framework, Delegation of Authority, Audit exercises, etc.);
- Identify training needs, develop training programmes and materials, and conduct workshops with respect to improving the programme performance and management of activities undertaken by UNDP Syria CO and to perform other related duties as determined by the Country Director;
- As required, in consultation with concerned units and staff, develop written uniform and harmonized standard operating procedures on main business processes, procedures and templates across all implementation modalities, including sub-offices and project offices.
- Ability to make new and useful ideas work.
- Ability to persuade others to follow.
- Ability to improve performance and satisfaction.
- Ability to listen, adapt, persuade and transform.
- Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement.
Financial Reporting and Analysis:
- Ability to evaluate financial data, derive relevant findings and present them in a meaningful manner.
- Ability to perform administrative and procedural activities to ensure that quality requirements and goals are fulfilled.
- Ability to identify and execute opportunities to improve operational efficiency.
Internal Reporting and Accountability:
- Ability to create internal reporting and accountability processes and standards.
- Ability to apply a systematic approach to adapt, control and effect change.
- Ability to identify and prioritize risks, and organize action around mitigating them.
- Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge.
- Advanced (Masters) University Degree in Business or Public Administration, Finance/Accounting or a relevant discipline or a professional accounting qualification certificate from an internationally recognized institute of accountancy;
- Those with professional accounting qualifications or certification from an internationally recognized institute of accountancy will have a distinct advantage;
- A first-level university degree in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
- At least 5 years progressively responsible experience in the oversight area or related areas such as finance, accounting, monitoring and evaluation, business administration, or management advisory services;
- Experience in auditing, consulting or reviewing procedures for programme/project implementation, risk management within the UN system or in the private sector is preferred;
- Advanced user of computers and office software packages and experience in handling of web-based management systems;
- Experience with working in a multi-national setting with people from different cultural backgrounds.
- Excellent proficiency in English and Arabic.
Important applicant information
All posts in the GS categories are subject to local recruitment.
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Contract Duration: 1 Year with possibility for extension