SCCF Capacity Development grant holder

If you are a Small Charities Challenge Fund Capacity Development grant holder, this page is for you.

Simply select the + sign on the right-hand side to expand the sections and read further and don’t miss the guidance and templates you can download in each section. These are designed for you to read and share with your colleagues and partners. Quarterly reporting information will be added early next year.

Please note that additional guidance items are available in our shared box folder, if you require access or have any urgent enquiries, please contact your Performance and Risk Manager.


SMILE is our online system which you will use to report and evaluate your project and plays a vital role in the management of your grant. You can access the portal via the same login details used when you made your application. If you have any questions, please contact our SMILE support team (opens in a new window).

Grant set-up

Following successful due diligence assessments, the next stage is grant set-up where you will work closely with your assigned Performance and Risk Manager (PRM) and 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 and budget meetings
  2. Documentation approval
  3. Accountable Grant Arrangement (AGA) signature
  4. Communications and branding webinar
  5. Project implementation.

The design meeting is the first step, within which you will meet with your PRM to discuss the feedback and technical design of your project. Outlined below are the key topics for discussion during the design meeting:

  • Logframe
  • Risk register
  • Social inclusion
  • Value for money
  • Monitoring plan
  • Workplan
  • Delivery chain map.

Note that you are not expected to submit any documents before the meeting, however we ask that grant holders review the below guidance prior to the design meeting.

Following the meeting, you will be required to share revised documentation and respond on any key actions or recommendations within two weeks.

Once the project design (and supporting documentation) has been signed off, a meeting will be set up with our FRT to develop and align the budget to the agreed project design and workplan. It is important to note that special conditions outlined in the financial management assessment (FMA) report will also be discussed and those required before Accountable Grant Arrangement (AGA) signature must be met. The FMA report and special conditions will be uploaded onto SMILE making it clear when these are required by. An example might be that you are required to have a procurement policy in place before the accountable grant arrangement is signed.

Once all documents are signed off, an accountable grant arrangement (AGA) is drafted and agreed. This must be signed at least two weeks prior to the intended start date, and our Grant Officers will support with this process. Once the accountable grant agreement is signed the project implementation can commence on the agreed start date.


Financial reporting

Grant holders will have set annual budget allocation (as outlined in the Accountable Grant Arrangement (AGA) and any changes to budgets must be discussed with the fund management team. The guidance below outlines the UK Aid Direct approach to budget revisions and procedures. By default, grant holders will receive payment in arrears, however requests for advance payment can be submitted for review (please note there are fixed criteria to be eligible for advance payments).

Following approval of the project budget during the grant set-up stage, grant holders will be required to submit financial claims and forecasts on a quarterly basis following the standard UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) financial year, from 1 April to 31 March. These should be submitted via the SMILE portal alongside quarterly narrative reports. There are two opportunities every quarter to submit: the first or the second month of each quarter. The deadlines for submission are outlined below:

Financial claims calendar 2021/2022

Claim periodFinal claim deadlineEstimated payment date
Quarter 1
(April - June)
16 April12 - 15 May
14 May12 - 15 June
Quarter 2
(July - September)
16 July12 - 15 August
13 August12 - 15 September
Quarter 3
(October to December)
15 October12 - 15 November
12 November12 - 15 December
Quarter 4
(January to March)
17 January 12 - 15 February

When submitting a financial claim, please ensure that all spend at individual transactional level is reported, with information being gathered from implementing partners (if applicable). It is important that we can understand where the money has been spent.

Once submitted, the claim is processed by our fiduciary risk team and once approved, payments are usually *made within approximately 30 days. If there are issues with your claim the Performance and Risk Manager may need to contact you to address and resolve the issues before the payment can be made. *see calendar

Narrative reporting

SCCF Capacity Development grant holders are required to report on progress on a quarterly and annual basis.

Within the quarterly narrative report you are required to analyse and assess project progress against targets and provide updates on key elements. There is a strong focus on learning and reflection to assess performance, inform future programming and encourage effective delivery. Further guidance on quarterly narrative reporting will be available in due course.

The reporting deadline for quarterly narrative reporting aligns with financial claims as illustrated below:

Claim periodFinal claim deadlineEstimated payment date
Quarter 1
(April - June 2021)
16 April12 - 15 May
14 May12 - 15 June
Quarter 2
(July - September 2021)
16 July12 - 15 August
13 August12 - 15 September
Quarter 3
(October to December 2021)
15 October12 - 15 November
12 November12 - 15 December
Quarter 4
(January to March 2022)
17 January 12 - 15 February

Alongside this, SCCF Capacity Development grant holders are required to submit an annual report at the end of the first year of implementation according to the anniversary of the project start date.

The annual report is an opportunity to reflect on key achievements, challenges and learning from the past year and assess overall project progress to ensure the project is on track to meet its objectives. Further guidance on the annual reporting process will be available in due course.

Lastly, SCCF Capacity Development grant holders will be required to submit a project completion report (PCR) within three months of the end of the project. The PCR is an opportunity to evaluate project performance, draw conclusions on how interventions have worked (or not), reflect on lessons learned, and consider recommendations for future programming. Further information about the PCR process will be available in due course.

Risk management

SCCF Capacity Development grant holders are required to identify, manage and record any risks that could impact on the implementation or results of projects. Grant holders are required to use the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) standard risk register template when reporting risks on a quarterly basis.

Please review the UK Aid risk webinar and risk podcast below, for guidance on best practice risk management and reporting, as well as the guidance and template.

International Aid Transparency (IATI)

SCCF Capacity Development grant holders are required to publish project data to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) platform within six months of the start date of the signed Accountable Grant Agreement. The IATI platform aims to improve aid transparency to increase aid effectiveness. FCDO requires all projects to publish certain elements of data to the registry.

If you have any questions related to IATI publishing, please contact our team (opens in a new window).


The UK government hosted the Safeguarding Summit in March 2018 where the former Department for International Development (DFID), now Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), 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 ensure FCDO’s safeguarding and due diligence standards are met.

The FCDO standards cover policies and processes across six key areas:

  • Safeguarding
  • Whistleblowing
  • Human resources
  • Risk management
  • Codes of conduct
  • Governance.

At grant set up stage, each grant holder is required to submit a UK Aid project specific safeguarding action plan. This plan should outline what safeguarding measures will be implemented at different stages of the project lifecycle, and what mechanisms will be used to implement these measures.

It is your responsibility as a grant holder to report safeguarding incidents or concerns to FCDO, as soon as you become aware. This can be done by contacting MannionDaniels directly by emailing UK aid safeguarding (opens in a new window) or by contacting FCDO (opens in new window) directly.


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 Ethicspoint, 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 their website (opens in a new window).


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.

You will also be invited to attend a webinar where the communications team will talk through the process of announcing your grant. They will also provide guidance on UK aid branding.

Only after an organisation has signed their grant agreement should a project be publicised.

For this grant type, the communication of your grant award should only happen once the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or UK Aid Direct have confirmed the announcement can go ahead.

Our communications team will keep you updated with this and if you have any questions, please contact the team (opens in a new window).