If you are a Jo Cox Memorial Grant (Strengthening) grant holder, this guidance is for you.
Simply select the + sign on the right hand side to expand the sections and read further.
Don’t miss the guidance and templates you can download also in each section. These are designed for you to read and share with your colleagues and partners.
After you have been informed that you have been awarded a provisional grant your organisation is required to undergo a financial management assessment (FMA). This will be conducted by an experienced member of the fiduciary risk team at UK Aid Direct. This must take place before your grant is approved and any funds are released – this process is known as due diligence and will initially take place either through a face-to-face meeting at your registered office, or remotely via Skype / telephone, dependant on the type of funding applied for.
Initially, you will be asked to complete and return a self-assessment questionnaire, alongside supporting documentation such as key policies and procedures. The questionnaire explores your organisation’s governance and internal control, your ability to deliver, the financial stability, and downstream delivery partner management.
It is important to note that if you do not have all the funder requirements in place, we want to hear about it so we can make suitable recommendations.
Please note: not having everything in place does not necessarily mean you would be unable to secure funding.
After the visit or call, the UK Aid Direct team will prepare and complete an FMA report. The draft report is sent to you to fact check and then submitted to the Department for International Development (DFID) for their consideration and for grant approval.
If approved, your final FMA report will be shared with you so that – if required – you can put a plan in place to deliver against the recommendations.
Please note: these recommendations will become conditions of your accountable grant arrangement.
After your grant is approved you will be allocated a Performance and Risk Manager (PRM). They will be your point-person for UK Aid Direct and will support with the due diligence process, finalising your project design and providing guidance on your reporting requirements.
SMILE is our online system which UK Aid Direct grant holders use to report and evaluate their projects. It is useful to familiarise with the SMILE system as this will play a vital role in the management of your grant.
You can access the portal via the same login details you used when you made your application.
If you have any questions, please contact our SMILE support team.
Once you have successfully gone through the due diligence process, the next stage is grant set-up where you will work closely with your Performance and Risk Manager (PRM) and the fiduciary risk team (FRT) to ensure your project design is robust, with appropriate monitoring and evaluation measures in place to deliver results and impact.
The set-up process involves the below steps:
1. Design meeting
2. Documentation approval
3. Accountable Grant Arrangement signature
4. Branding and communications webinar
5. Project implementation
The design meeting is the first step, within which you will meet (in person or virtually) with your PRM and our FRT. In this meeting, we will review and discuss the technical design of your project alongside financial compliance. Below outlines the key topics for discussion during the design meeting:
- Results framework
- Risk register
- Beneficiary feedback mechanisms
- Value for money
- Monitoring plan
- Workplan tracker
- Delivery chain map
You are not expected to prepare anything for the meeting, rather it is intended to review your application and current project design.
In the meeting you will also be reviewing your budget and workplan, alongside any conditions outlined in your financial management assessment (FMA) report. Your FMA report will be uploaded onto SMILE containing ‘special conditions’ – these are requirements that must be met either before or during the inception period of your grant and the FMA report will clearly outline what is required and by when.
It is essential you review these conditions and act. An example might be that you are required to have a procurement policy in place before the accountable grant arrangement is signed.
Your budget and workplan will also be reviewed to discuss your financial management processes, delivery chain management and organisational capacity to deliver.
Following the meeting, you will be required to share revised documentation and answer the grant set-up questions that will now be available on SMILE.
Once your project design (and supporting documentation) has been signed off, you will move to the signing of your accountable grant arrangement. Our Grant Officers will support with this process.
An accountable grant arrangement (AGA) is drafted and agreed, following approval of your design documentation and due diligence report.
Following signature, your first disbursement will be processed which will equate to enough funding to implement your first quarter’s activities, plus a financial cushion of 10% of the project value.
At this stage, you may also be looking to formalise your partnerships with downstream partners and other stakeholders with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Guidance to download
Download: A guide to developing your Results Framework (pdf)
This is a guide to help you to complete your results framework template.
Link: Podcast with UK Aid Direct grant holders on risk
UK Aid Direct grant holders were introduced to a new risk reporting template and reporting schedule in 2018 to strengthen the risk-based approach to programme management across the UK Aid Direct portfolio.
During this podcast, four grant holders speak about their experiences with the new reporting requirements and the practicalities of managing and mitigating risk within the contexts of their diverse projects.
Download: A guide to beneficiary feedback mechanisms (pdf)
This guidance seeks to ensure that UK Aid Direct applicants and grant holders understand what the Department for International Development (DFID) means by beneficiary feedback mechanisms, and more specifically: the terms used that relate to beneficiary feedback mechanisms in UK Aid Direct guidance and templates, beneficiary feedback mechanisms and why they are a useful tool for project monitoring and learning, how to use beneficiary feedback mechanisms during project implementation, and how beneficiary feedback mechanisms can lead to greater accountability.
Download: A guide to value for money (pdf)
This guidance seeks to ensure that UK Aid Direct applicants and grant holders understand what the Department for International Development (DFID) mean by value for money (VfM), and more specifically:
- The terms that relate to VfM in UK Aid Direct guidance and templates
- VfM and why it is a useful tool for project management and
- information on how to use VfM during project delivery.
Download: A guide to sustainability (pdf)
This guidance seeks to ensure that UK Aid Direct applicants and grant holders understand what the Department for International Development (DFID) means by sustainability, and more specifically: understand sustainability – both conceptually and in UK Aid Direct guidance and templates – and know how to address sustainability in project documentation.
Download: A guide to budget classification and budgeting (pdf)
This guidance covers the classification system of UK Aid Direct budgets and the methodologies used in calculating the expenditure of grants.
Download: A UK Aid Direct guide to Exchange Rates (pdf)
This document presents operational guidelines on the treatment of foreign currency denominated transactions and appropriate methodologies for the budgeting, recording, and management of exchange rate fluctuations.
Download: A UK Aid Direct guide to Non-Project Attributable Costs (NPAC) (docx)
This document provides guidance on calculating and reporting non-project attributable costs (NPAC), that can be included within budgeted costs and funding claims.
Download: A guide to delivery chain maps from the Department for International Development (DFID) (docx)
Delivery chain mapping is a process that identifies and captures – usually in visual form – the names of all partners involved in delivering a specific good, service or change, down to the end beneficiary. Here is a complete guide from DFID.
Download: Accountable Grant Arrangement - an example (docx)
An Accountable Grant Arrangement is agreed for each project approved for funding from DFID.
An accountable grant arrangement (AGA) is drafted and agreed, following the approval of your design documentation and due diligence report.
The AGA will have details of all the special conditions that have been highlighted in your FMA report which require actions. These are listed as they are mandatory compliance as part of your grant agreement and must be completed in their allocated timeframes.
This is an example agreement for your reference.
Download: Memorandum of Understanding - brief guide (pdf)
You may be looking to formalise your partnerships with downstream partners and other stakeholders with what is called a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). A draft MoU for your project should be sent to your Performance and Risk Manager for agreement within 30 days of your project start date and this document gives you guidance to follow.
Templates to download
Download: Results Framework template (docx)
The Results Framework template is a reporting tool used to monitor and measure the progress of the project to date.
Download: Sample budget template and non-project activity costs (NPAC) guidance notes and example (xlsx)
This is an example of a completed budget template and non-project activity costs (NPAC/overheads), with guidance.
Download: Risk register template (xlsx)
This template needs to be downloaded and completed. It will then need to be uploaded and submitted – through the SMILE system – as part of your reporting.
Between being provisionally awarded a grant and your accountable grant arrangement being signed, the communications team at MannionDaniels will get in touch with you to request images and copy for use on this website, for social media posts, and for sharing with our colleagues at DFID.
You will also be invited to attend a communications and branding webinar which is designed to help you understand what we can help you with, how you can prepare for announcing your grant, and for UK aid branding guidance.
Only after an organisation has signed their accountable grant arrangement should a project be publicised.
Communicating a grant award should only happen once the Department for International Development (DFID) or UK Aid Direct has announced it.
Your communications team will keep you updated with this and if you have any questions, please contact the team.
Guidance to download
Download: Communications Handbook (pdf)
Our Communications Handbook provides information on announcing your project, branding your project, using images and film, and general communications support.
Download: Facebook grant holder group guidance (pdf)
Feedback from grant holders has told us that more opportunity to network within the UK Aid Direct community would aid the sharing of knowledge, resulting in the development of stronger, more effective grant holders who are able to deliver better outcomes.
With this in mind we have established a private Facebook group.
Read the guidance here and if you are happy, then follow the link to the consent form to receive an invitation to join the group via email.
Templates to download
Download: Beneficiary film and photo consent form (docx)
To take and retain film footage or photographs it is important you have the beneficiaries permission. Here is a template you could use if appropriate.
Download: Case study template (docx)
Here is a template to use when gathering case studies relating to your project.
Download: Press release template (docx)
Here is a sample press release template you can adapt for your project to send out to the regional press.
Asset management and disposal
As part of your project you are likely to be purchasing equipment or supplies. The guide below will help you to manage these in line with DFID’s requirements.
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
Monitoring and evaluation (M & E) is a critical process, helping improve performance and achieve results.
In this M&E podcast, we interviewed Community Partnership grant holders, African Initiatives on their approaches to data collection and effective beneficiary feedback mechanisms for their projects in northern Tanzania. We asked how they ensured high quality, consistent data and how they use it to inform programming. The importance of community-led feedback, data disaggregation and intersectionality is highlighted, as well as behavioural change monitoring and some overall advice for new and existing grant holders.
On our grant holder SoundCloud channel you can also listen to further podcasts on managing risk, as well as partnerships.
Throughout the life of your UK Aid Direct grant you will be required to report back on the progress made at different stages. This section provides an overview of the reporting requirements, and links to further guidance and templates.
As a Jo Cox Memorial (Strengthening) grant holder, you will be required to report progress every six months. This involves submitting
- both narrative reports related to your progress against targets
- alongside your financial report
You will also be able to submit on a quarterly basis
- your financial claim
Further information on this process can found in the Financial Claims section further down this page. You can also speak to your Performance and Risk Manager for guidance on the reporting process.
The UK government hosted the Safeguarding Summit in March 2018 where the Department for International Development (DFID) announced that they would put in place new, enhanced and specific safeguarding standards for UK charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
As part of your due diligence assessment you will be required to meet these safeguarding standards. Once you are awarded a grant it will be your responsibility to work with your partners to ensure DFID’s safeguarding and due diligence standards are met.
The DFID standards cover policies and processes across six key areas:
- Human resources
- Risk management
- Codes of conduct
You can use the guidance below to provide your partners with details of the new standards. It includes how they will be used in enhanced due diligence assessments (DDAs) to assess an organisation’s ability to protect from sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, the children, young people and vulnerable adults they work with as well as their own staff and volunteers. Your Performance and Risk Manager (PRM) will also be able to advise you on this.
It your responsibility as a grant holder to report safeguarding incidents or concerns to DFID, as soon as you become aware. This can be done by contacting MannionDaniels directly by emailing UK Aid Direct or by contacting DFID directly.
Download: Guidance on enhanced due diligence safeguarding (pdf)
This guidance provides details of the Department for International Development’s Safeguarding standards and how they will be used in enhanced due diligence assessments (DDAs) to assess an organisation’s ability to protect from sexual exploitation and abuse and harassment of children, young people and vulnerable adults, as well as staff and volunteers.
Link: UK Aid Direct webinar
This safeguarding webinar covers DFID’s due diligence assessments (DDAs) in more detail, as well as best practice from across our portfolio of grant holders. Hear also from two of our grant holders, Railway Children and Hope and Homes for Children; about their experience rolling out and developing their safeguarding policies and procedures.
UK Aid Direct has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and fraudulent behaviour that may lead to misuse of grant funds and is committed to creating an environment in which you feel able to report fraud directly to your Fund Manager.
MannionDaniels has engaged Expolink, a whistleblowing and fraud service provider to support you with this. It is an anonymous, free-to-call and confidential service. To report an incident concerning suspected misuse of funds, visit this website link.
On UK Aid Direct we follow the DFID standard financial year, from 1 April to 31 March.
You will claim funds on a quarterly basis.
All payments will be made in ‘advance’ of spend and you will be provided with a working capital allowance, plus your first quarter budgeted spend (with your first disbursement) which will be processed for payment by our fiduciary risk team as soon as your Accountable Grant Arrangement (AGA) has been signed.
The amount of working capital provided depends on your project length:
- One-year programmes will receive 10% of your total project budget in working capital with first disbursement
- Projects over one year – and up to two years – will receive 20% of your total project budget in working capital with first disbursement
You will be reporting on SMILE on a six-monthly basis, however, will be required to submit financial claims (on SMILE) on a quarterly basis. This means that every other quarter, you will submit a claim without your narrative report.
There are two opportunities every quarter to submit: the first or the second month of each quarter.
The deadline for submission is outlined below, and please note that if this deadline is missed there is no opportunity for us to process your claim until the following quarter.
Financial reporting claims calendar 2018/2019
|Claim period||Final claim deadline||Estimated payment date|
|Quarter 1 |
(April - June)
|18 April||12 - 15 May|
|16 May||12 - 15 June|
(July - September)
|17 July||12 - 15 August|
|15 August||12 - 15 September|
(October to December)
|17 October||12 - 15 November|
|14 November||12 - 15 December|
(January to March)
|17 January||12 - 15 February|
When submitting your claim, please ensure that all spend at individual transactional level is reported, with information being gathered from your implementing partners (if applicable). It is important that we can understand – from your claim and financial report – where the money has been spent.
Once submitted, your claim is processed by our fiduciary risk team and once approved, payments are usually *made within approximately 30 days.
*see calendar in Guidance documents to download below