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.
Update on COVID-19: A new learning page has been added to our website, designed to support you in project adaptations as necessary, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to add new resources to the page as we learn of them.
Financial guidance for Jo Cox Memorial (Strengthening) grant holders is distributed throughout this page according to what is being considered at the time. For example, under the header ‘grant set-up’ you can find the UK Aid Direct guide to budget classification and budgeting or under the header ‘reporting’, you will find the UK Aid Direct guide to the principles of reporting. However, to make things easier for you we have also grouped all the key financial guidance documents into this one section below.
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:
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).
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.
A requirement of holding a UK Aid Direct grant is that grant holders identify, manage and record any risks that could impact on the implementation or results of their projects. UK Aid Direct grant holders are required to use DFID’s standard risk register template when reporting their risks on a six-monthly basis.
Please review the UK Aid risk webinar and risk podcast for guidance on best practice risk management and reporting.
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) is a critical process, helping improve performance and achieve results.
In this M&E podcast (opens in a new window), we interviewed Community Partnership grant holders, African Initiatives (opens in a new window) 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 (opens in a new window) 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
You will also be able to submit on a quarterly basis
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:
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 safeguarding or by contacting DFID directly (opens in a new window).
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 Expolink.
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:
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.
|Claim period||Final claim deadline||Estimated payment date|
|Quarter 1 |
(April - June)
|17 April||12 - 15 May|
|15 May||12 - 15 June|
(July - September)
|17 July||12 - 15 August|
|14 August||12 - 15 September|
(October to December)
|16 October||12 - 15 November|
|13 November||12 - 15 December|
(January to March)
|18 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