Contracts Specialist

International Rescue Committee


Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

The International Rescue Committee UK is part of the IRC global network, which has its offices in New York, London, Berlin, Bonn, Brussels, Stockholm, Geneva, Nairobi, Bangkok, and Amman. The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief, relocating refugees and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through over 20 regional offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees resettle in the US and become self-sufficient.

The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.

The Awards Management Unit (AMU)

Established in January 2016, the AMU is an international unit with the responsibility for identifying, securing, and handling all funding from statutory/government donors. The unit is organised into five pillars: Strategic Partnerships, Programme and Grant Support, Compliance and Policy, Programme Development, and Training.

The AMU is a bridge between donors and country programmes: providing expert technical advice to country programmes, while maintaining portfolio-level visibility to ensure consistency and compliance and manage risk. This unit ensures that donor compliance policies and procedures are implemented consistently and supports all staff working across the grants management cycle for all restricted funding from global government sources.

The unit operates within a matrix management system across teams in Germany, the US, and the UK, driving functional integration between all relevant units and staff, in collaboration with the Deputy Vice President AMU in relation to overarching issues with commercial contracts.

The Purpose of the Role

As Contracts Advisor you are responsible for providing support and guidance on commercial contract implementation and risk management functions, with a particular focus on supporting project start-up and cost-effective commercial contract delivery. Operating in an advisory, capacity-building, and quality management role, the role will support project teams in ensuring cost-effective, compliant and responsible project delivery. In collaboration with the Senior Contract Specialists, the role will also be responsible for ensuring the recommendations of contract readiness implementation task group are followed, working across regions, technical units, and Airbel, and when requested providing direct support to IRC country offices.

In this role you provide support and advice autonomously but in line with parameters laid out by the Senior Contract Specialists and the Director, Awards Management, Global and in accordance with IRC and AMU systems and policies.


Contract management

  • Provide effective, relevant and timely advice to teams on systems and processes for managing, delivering and reporting on assigned portfolio of contracts.
  • Support the creation of a strong knowledge culture of sound contract and risk management practices, taking a proactive approach to mitigate against future risks.
  • Provide support to project teams during contract start-up/inception to help a smooth transition from pre-award to implementation whilst the full project team is recruited, and project management processes are developed.
  • In collaboration with the Senior Contract Specialists and Senior Contracts & Grants Advisor, provide effective, relevant, and timely advice to country and regional teams and Technical Excellence teams on agreed approaches for managing, delivering and reporting on commercial contracts.
  • Support project teams with the resolution of contractual challenges such as performance issues, payment disputes, contract amendments, partner negotiation etc, escalating as appropriate to your line manager.
  • Support Program & Grant Support staff and country delivery teams to identify risks at the project level, establish targeted approaches to mitigate identified risks, and take a proactive approach to mitigate against future contract risks.
  • Review and provide substantive feedback on commercial aspects of reports, collaborating with and ensuring input from relevant technical and financial staff before submission to the donor.
  • Support negotiations of contracts and subcontracts in collaboration with RPST or Technical Excellence Support Team focal point. Take a proactive approach to support implementation of remedies to deliver projects (targets, logframe, timeline, budget).
  • Advise and train teams on processes and systems to ensure partnerships with local and international partners are aligned to internal policies.
  • As required participate in programme management meetings of contracts alongside project team.
  • Support responses to queries on donor compliance issues, referring non-routine and high-level compliance matters to the line manager and Compliance & Policy team.
  • Ensure teams follow internal IRC policies and procedures (e.g., OTIS, PCM, PEERS).

Capacity building

  • Participate in/deliver information/training sessions for regional and Technical Excellence teams on contract implementation.
  • Support Senior Contract Specialists with institutionalizing the lessons learned process across the contract portfolio within IRC.

Other duties

  • Travel to IRC locations for limited periods as surge support for contract start-up or gap-filling during implementation, or to provide training to local teams on commercial contracts.

Key Working Relationships

  • Reports to Director, Awards Management, Global
  • Works as part of the wider Programme and Grant Support team in AMU with close coordination with:
  • Senior Contract Specialists
  • Senior Contracts & Grants Advisor, Technical Excellence
  • Regional Program Support Teams
  • Technical Excellence teams
  • Business Development team
  • Compliance & Policy team
  • Finance department on matters of financial management
  • Donor commercial focal points at FCDO, USAID other European donors.



  • Demonstrable experience of implementing large commercial contracts funded by DFID/FCDO, USAID, and others, either for non-profit or for-profit organisations.
  • Extensive knowledge of funding, regulations, and procedures for FCDO and USAID, particularly with regards to commercial contracts.
  • Experience of working with other institutional donors and knowledge of their requirements, such as ECHO, World Bank, Sida, AfD, KfW, GIZ, etc., desirable.
  • Contractual and financial management experience with various contract and subcontract types, including, but not limited to, cost reimbursement, time-and-materials, fixed price, framework/umbrella, and performance-based.
  • Experience of working with and supporting technical experts in complex project set ups.
  • Experience of managing complex consortia including NGOs, for profit organisations, and academic institutions.
  • Experience of supporting start-up/inception phases of larger contracts and negotiations with donors.
  • Experience of donor liaison and in providing advice and best practice on contract management, including financial management.
  • Experience in building and maintaining relationships with senior staff across different teams and functions, including those based in other countries.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Understanding and practical experience of project management principles throughout the full project lifecycle (positioning to closeout).
  • Excellent communication, influencing and interpersonal skills, including the ability to effectively manage a variety of relationships in a multicultural environment.
  • Strong diplomatic skills, including the ability to tailor language to different audiences and needs.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate equally effectively with colleagues in ‘remote’ and diverse teams.
  • Strong attention to detail to ensure own work, and work of others is of a consistent high quality in a fast-paced, demanding environment.
  • Solid organisational skills; detail-oriented; ability handle multiple demands, prioritise tasks and learn quickly.
  • Ability to work autonomously and under remote management.
  • Good IT skills (Word, Excel, Outlook).
  • Fluency in French, Spanish or Arabic highly desirable.
  • Ability and willingness to travel internationally, potentially at short notice.

Assignment Duration: 6 months with possible extension

IRC UK is committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination for all applicants and employees. IRC-UK seeks to ensure we achieve diversity in our workforce regardless of gender, race, religious belief, nationality, ethnic/national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability. IRC-UK welcomes applications from all candidates, including underrepresented groups and refugees who have the right to work in the UK.

IRC UK will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable adjustments to participate in the job application and/or interview process, and for essential job functions if appointed to a role. Please contact us if you may need such adjustments.

How to apply

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