Sub Recipient Management

Sub-Recipient Management

Sub-Recipient Management capacities ensure the effective oversight, management, and control of Sub-Recipient activities to deliver on planned results, and includes capacity to assess, contract, manage, monitor and evaluate SRs and their activities.


With expert knowledge about local conditions and specialised technical skills, Sub-Recipients are crucial to the successful implementation of Global Fund grants. SRs may have capacity gaps or may have limited experience in working at the scale needed to deliver as contracted; and therefore may require significant support to execute, manage and monitor their assigned role effectively. In the context of the Global Fund’s Performance-Based Funding model, this is critical, as any delays in implementation at any one of the SR or SSR levels can result in delayed disbursements to the country from the Global Fund and subsequent poor grant performance ratings. This, in turn, can lead to drastic cuts in financing.


The Global Fund defines Sub-Recipient Management capacities as including:

  • Effective systems for undertaking Sub-Recipient capacity assessments and providing technical support as needed, to ensure that any proposed Sub-Recipients have the required capacities to implement the program activities.
  • Adequate management arrangements that ensure adequate PR oversight of grant implementation at Sub-Recipient level, to facilitate effective and timely programme implementation and resource management by Sub-Recipients.


Note that Sub-recipient Management capacities are the capacities of the Principal Recipient in carrying out oversight and management of Sub-recipients; they are not capacities of Sub-recipients.



Essential Capacities required for Principal Recipients


Capacity Area and Scope



Sub-Recipient Selection – to have adequate procedures and criteria in place for transparent selection of Sub-recipients and signing of agreements.

· To have a SR selection process and procedures in place (for government and non-government entities).

· To utilise Terms of Reference for SR selection panels, with a defined role for CCM oversight for SR selection.

· To have in place and utilise SR contract templates that meet the requirements of Global Fund grants and give the PR authority to withhold disbursement to Sub-Recipients.

· Policies and procedures for selection of SRs endorsed by CCM.

· Accurate documentary record of transparent SR selection processes.

· Value for money analysis included in SR selection process.

· Up to date SR agreement forms and contracts. 



SR Capacity Assessment – to have adequate staffing and procedures to conduct Sub-recipient capacity assessments; and the capability to provide training and capacity development.

· To have tools and processes to identify priority capacity development activities of selected SRs, that adequately cover the four key functional capacity areas, and to develop costed capacity development plans, with clear indicators to show progress.

· To have processes and technical capacities to address priority capacity development activities of selected SRs.

· To have processes to monitor implementation of identified capacity development actions.

· Percentage of SRs where a capacity assessment has been conducted.

· Schedule of independent reviews of SRs.

· Availability of processes and procedures for defining capacity development plans and providing capacity development support.

· Percentage of SRs where capacity development plans have been created.

· Percentage of SRs where capacity development support is being provided.

· Availability of capacity development guidelines for SRs.

Sub-Recipient Management and Oversight – to have adequate capacities and resources for programmatic and financial oversight and management of SRs; processes for problem identification and mitigation, as well as remedial action; systems for accurate and timely disbursements; and systems to ensure availability and integrity of financial and programmatic information from Sub-recipients.

· To have SR management procedures and templates, including for monitoring the programme implementation at reviewing SR financial and programmatic reports for completeness and technical soundness.

· To have a programme of SR meetings, evaluations, oversight field visits and spot checks to support the development and implementation of SR work plans and budgets.

· To have procedures and systems to manage disbursements (from request through to payment) to ensure accurate disbursement of funds to SRs in a timely, transparent and accountable manner.

· To have a budgetary system that captures disbursements per Sub-Recipient.

· To utilise a financial and management information system sufficient to ensure the availability and integrity of financial and programmatic data from SRs, that enables the PR to adequately track SR expenditures.

· To utilise procedures and checks to ensure the safeguarding of assets held by sub-recipients.

· Documented policies and procedures for managing and coordinating SRs.

· SR financial and programme performance metrics in place.

· Consistency of forecasting projections with actual performance measured.

· Number of SR coordination meetings or workshops per year.

· Availability of guidance materials for SRs to follow.

· Percentage of SR plans integrated into overall plans.

· Frequency of SR plan reviews and updates.

· Ability to capture and integrate SR reports into management reporting, including to the CCM.

· Improvements in SR management performance indicators.

· Improvements in timeliness of SR reporting.

· Number of internal and external audits of SRs conducted.




Key Considerations when assessing Sub Recipient Management


SR Orientation

PRs should organise an induction workshop for SRs, prior to the signing of an SR Agreement, on the specifics of Global Fund-financed programmes (including the requirements and processes of financial and programmatic reporting), and provide the SRs with reporting forms and templates, and guidance on how to do M&E.

Managing SRs

To work effectively with SRs, a strong system and pertinent resources for identifying and assessing SRs and for overseeing the SRs once they have been engaged is important. UNDP has found that SR management is the highest risk element in Global Fund grant implementation, as in many situations SRs carry out the majority of programme activities.

SRs and Risk Management

Risk management of SRs is a continuing process; risk assessments and plans should be carefully documented, with responsibilities for follow-up properly assigned and monitored. These risk assessments and risk management plans should be firmly integrated within all longer-term capacity development efforts targeted towards SRs.

SRs and Financial Management

SRs that have been assessed as having weak financial management capacity should be given smaller instalments of funds more frequently or be given funds in connection with carrying out specific activities. Financial oversight of SRs should be a priority functional capacity to be included in the capacity development plan.

SRs and Human Resource Management

- The capacity of an SR to manage human resources should be a major focus during assessment, and also whether certain capacity areas hinge on the competence of a few key individuals. Additionally a common major risk with SRs is high staff turnover, therefore a potential PR's ability to manage this risk and include mitigation strategies should be considered.

Monitoring SR Activities

It is important that each responsibility contracted to an SR has an effective performance indicator against which the SR must report and for which the PR can monitor through regular reporting and spot-checking.

SR Reporting

Accurate and timely reporting is an essential instrument for risk management of SRs and SSRs, and needs to be maintained as a high priority in any capacity development plan.  It is important that the PR and the SR agree on the minimum required supporting documentation and that this be specified in an annex to the SR Agreement. Ideally, the minimum supporting documentation should be standardised for all grants and SRs.

SRs and Sub-Sub-Recipients (SSRs)

At times, the SR may decide to outsource a specific activity to another entity, which becomes a Sub-Sub-Recipient (SSR). The PR maintains overall responsibility for all SSR activities and must review and approve all SSR Agreements, as SSR appointments carry high risks. Prior to approving the SSR Agreement, the PR should ensure that the SR has performed a capacity assessment of the prospective SSR, using a methodology acceptable to the PR, and that the assessment is positive. These assessments should be used to help formulate capacity development plans.

Key Resources

Project Governance and Programme Management

The Global Fund LFA Capacity Assessment Tool Governance

Sub Recipient Management

The Global Fund Guidelines on Implementation Mapping

Capacity Development

LFA Capacity Assessment Tool Template