Consultancy - Country Programme Documents (CPDs) Quality Review Consultant, Programme Effectiveness Team (PET), DAPM NYHQ (remote-based)

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Consultancy Title: Country Programme Documents (CPDs) Quality Review Consultant

Section/Division/Duty Station: Programme Effectiveness Team (PET)/ DAPM, NYHQ (remote-based)

Duration: estimated 19th October 2023 – 18 April 2024 (6 months)


If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world's leading children's rights organization would like to hear from you. For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF has over 12,000 staff in more than 145 countries.


Purpose of Activity/Assignment:

UNICEF’s annual Quality Review of Country Programme Planning processes (CPPs) and Documents (CPDs) provides the organisation with a robust external assessment of the quality of the design processes and of the final documents that best articulate the goals, results, and logic of Country Programmes (CPs). Each year, the exercise assesses all CPDs submitted to the Executive Board, using a standard approach. The review is:

  • An essential data source for institutional reporting. The results of the Quality Review directly feed several indicators of the Executive Director’s Annual Report, which are in turn used to report on an additional host of indicators by offices such as Programme Division (PD), Emergency Operations (EMOPS) and other Divisions and teams.
  • A critical input informing the ongoing update of existing guidance: review findings, identify good practices and common areas of challenge across multiple country offices and/or specific quality criteria. It therefore is one of the most influential sources of information on what aspects of global guidance (and/or quality assurance practice) should be updated to best reflect the organisation’s perception of quality in programme design. HQ Content Owners, Regional Directors and Regional Planning Chiefs use the findings to adapt capacity development efforts.
  • An important reference for country offices drafting new programmes: the Quality Review also provides UNICEF staff in country offices with a rich set of good practices, tips and hints for how to prepare and finalize documents that satisfy institutional requirements.

UNICEF introduced a new modality of developing Country Programmes in October 2022, referred to as Country Programme Planning (CPP), which aims at streamlining and harmonizing the process, with the ultimate goal of developing more robust, evidence-based Country Programmes that plan to achieve transformative results for children at outcome level. This new process replaces the development of Programme Strategy Notes (PSNs) and requires Country Offices to focus their strengths on sharpening the analysis of the data available and collectively thinking more strategically and critically around key tools that are: Evidence Synthesis, Prioritization, Theory of Change, and Results and Resources Plan. The emphasis on collective strategic thinking also means moving away from the production of long-winded, descriptive documents that often do not find relevant application during the implementation and monitoring of the CP.

The CPP guidance has been applied to the CPDs submitted to the Executive Board from September 2023 onwards.

For 2023, the CPP quality review will apply only to the CPDs submitted during the last session (September 2023), for which the new guidance applies.

While the CPD review methodology is a well-established process, the review of the CPP will be conducted for the first time, therefore the consultancy is tasked to develop a detailed methodology for the CPP quality review, in close consultation with DAPM and with inputs from the Regional Offices.

The Quality Review of the Country Programme Planning process (CPP) aims to assess to which extent the purpose, rationale, and process of the new CPP guidance have been understood and integrated by Country Offices.

Elements to be assessed will include not only the adherence to the guidance (in terms of steps, processes, and templates) but also the application of its key principles, such as:

  • Shifting towards more purposeful, effective and strategic planning at the country level, using high-quality analysis to shape programme choices
  • Designing adaptive country programmes that contribute to outcome-level changes in the lives of children, by responding effectively and at scale to the most critical child rights’ deprivations.
  • Linking the Theories of Change with the evidence gathered in the Evidence Synthesis
  • Identifying relevant systemic changes and appropriate interventions in the ToCs
  • Connecting the Results and Resources Plans with the ToC’s interventions and systemic changes.
  • Harmonizing Humanitarian and Development analysis and planning
  • Better integrating risk analysis and management throughout the process
  • Better reflecting on government and partners’ contributions (including the private sector) and commitment in line with National Development Plans
  • Ensuring effective participation of key stakeholders at the critical steps of the planning process, as appropriate to the country's context

Scope of Work:

The main objective of the Quality Review is to provide an evidence base on the quality of the CPDs submitted in 2023 and to determine the extent to which they:

  • Convey UNICEF’s commitment to foundational norms and programming principles.
  • Adhere to the relevant guidance or guidelines provided, including an assessment to which extent the new CPP modality has been applied on a “voluntary” (opt-in) basis.
  • Are results-based, coherent and convincing: conveying UNICEF’s relevance, strategic positioning, comparative advantage or value-added in the country

The quality review will also look into the Country Programme Planning process of the 12 CPDs submitted to the September 2023 Executive Board to determine the extent to which they:

  • Adhered to the new CPP guidance
  • Promoted the reflection and conceptualization of systemic changes necessary to contribute to outcome-level results in the lives of children,
  • Have benefitted from the strategic intentions of the new CPP methodology aimed at:

  • Strengthening the evidence base and linking evidence better to programme interventions

  • Better reflecting on government and partners' contributions and commitment in line with National Development Plans
  • Clearly laying out the systemic changes that need to occur for Outcomes to be achieved
  • Better combining emergency and development interventions towards these systemic changes
  • Providing clear “visibility” of the private sector in our work (if applicable)

The purpose of this Terms of Reference is to recruit a qualified consultancy to complete the Quality Review for 2023 in close collaboration with UNICEF Data, Analytics, Planning and Monitoring (DAPM), Programme Guidance Unit (PGU).

The scope of work involves remote consultation with DAPM and Subject Matter Experts in HQ and with Regional and Country Offices to:

For Country Programme Planning (CPP) processes review:

  • Design the review methodology, based on the CPP guidance, to be used in the subsequent quality reviews.
  • Review the planning processes of the 12 CPDs submitted to the September 2023 Board.

For Country Programme Documents (CPDs) review:

  • refine the Review Framework and scoring criteria.
  • Review the 28 CPDs presented to the Executive Board in 2023.

For both:

  • Prepare preliminary findings.
  • draft a final report, a Compendium of Good Practices, a Methodology Paper, and
  • present the findings in two global webinars.
  • The scope of work also includes updating the project data entry and management system, possibly to produce the Review in Tableau.

    Terms of Reference / Deliverables

Work Assignment Overview



Phase 1: Inception (October – November 2023

A. Orientation and planning

Orientation with the DAPM hiring manager and PG team

Desk review of applicable guidance and previous Quality Review documentation

Development of the general approach to the 2023 Review process and scheduling milestones

Elaboration of a risk management strategy

Elaboration of an inception report and a separate

Inception Report, including a chronogram of key dates and working arrangements for the contract and the risk management strategy.

B. Content and tools development, pilot testing

Development of a quality review methodology and Review Framework of CPP processes based on the CPP guidance.

Leading the process of updating the CPD Review Framework and rubrics for scoring individual quality criteria, in consultation with SMEs and DAPM ensuring that updates are evaluable and non-duplicative.

Determining the approach to “Content Tracking”.

Updating and potentially redesigning the Excel data entry/data management system tool.

Pilot testing and finalizing the CPP and CPD Review Framework and rubrics for scoring individual quality criteria.

Updated Review Framework with scoring criteria, comparing changes between 2022 and 2023.

Methodology paper (no more than 10 pages)

Project archive on SharePoint

Methodology Paper drafted concisely and acting as an Annex to the final report.


Phase 2: CPD and CPP Review (23 November 2023 – 26 January 2024)

Reviewing all CPDs and relevant CPPs, using the Review Framework, applying individual quality criteria

Entering both scores and comments into the database for each CPD and CPP

Taking note of any good practices, to be used later for the Compendium of Good Practices

Database with completed CPD/country sheets and preliminary analysis tabs.

Preparing a summary of preliminary findings and recommendations in the form of a presentation (potentially using charts, tables, and infographics to summarize the results)

Discussing the preliminary results with DAPM

Presentation of preliminary results for discussion with DAPM.

Phase 3: Elaboration of the Synthesis Report and Annexes (29 January 2024 – 29 March 2024)

Develop the Synthesis Report Compendium of Good Practices, finalize the project database, and share the draft report package for review by DAPM, HQ content owners and ROs.

The Compendium takes notes of where CPDs and CPPs met and/or exceeded quality criteria.

Synthesis Report, no more than 35 pages (including recommendations and an analysis of key findings by quality component (QC) and quality review category (QRC)).


Compendium of Good Practices


Methodology Paper

Phase 4: Presentation of Results and Finalisation (April 2024)

Webinars to present the findings (Following the first review of the Synthesis Report, the Consultant will prepare to present the findings in two global webinars). The webinars will be approximately 2 hours each and will include a 35-minute presentation given by the Consultant.

Presentation Deck, summarizing the key findings of the quality review

One-page recommendations to DAPM for the 2024 Quality Review

Annotation of the ToR

After the final validation exercise, all documents should be finalized and shared in an archive for upload to UNICEF SharePoint.

Final project archive of finalized reports and annexes.


(1) Education

  • Masters Degree in the social sciences or a relevant field.

2) Work experience

  • At least 10 years of professional experience with a specific track record of conducting evaluations, assessments and/or reviews for international organizations or major development actors.
  • Record of excellence facilitating cross-sectional processes.
  • Familiarity with the organization’s commitment to results-based management and its approach to strategic planning and preparation of new country programmes is mandatory.
  • Prior work experience with UNICEF* or the United Nations is an asset but familiarity with UNICEF’s child rights mandate, foundational norms and programming principles is essential.

3) Competencies

  • Data tooling/science capabilities to develop project database up to professional standards including, potentially, producing the data in Tableau
  • Ability to work effectively in a team and ability to produce quality work under minimal guidance and supervision.
  • Good communication and people skills; ability to express ideas and concepts concisely and clearly in written and oral form.
  • Language proficiency: Fluency in English is required.
  • Strong organizational, planning, and analytical skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English.
  • Good judgment, initiative, high sense of responsibility, tact and discretion.
  • Demonstrated cultural sensitivity and ability to establish harmonious working relations in a multicultural environment.)


  • Completed profile in UNICEF's e-Recruitment system
  • Upload copy of academic credentials
  • Financial proposal that will include:
  • the costs per each deliverable and the total all-inclusive (lump-sum) fees for the whole assignment (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference.
    • travel costs and daily subsistence allowance, if internationally recruited or travel is required as per TOR.
    • Any other estimated costs: visa, health insurance, as applicable.
    • Indicate your availability
  • Any emergent / unforeseen duty travel and related expenses will be covered by UNICEF.
  • At the time the contract is awarded, the selected candidate must have in place current health insurance coverage.
  • Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed satisfactory deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, Accountability, and Sustainability (CRITAS).

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

UNICEF offers reasonable accommodation for consultants/individual contractors with disabilities. This may include, for example, accessible software, travel assistance for missions or personal attendants. We encourage you to disclose your disability during your application in case you need reasonable accommodation during the selection process and afterwards in your assignment.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

The selected candidate is solely responsible to ensure that the visa (applicable) and health insurance required to perform the duties of the contract are valid for the entire period of the contract. Selected candidates are subject to confirmation of fully-vaccinated status against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with a World Health Organization (WHO)-endorsed vaccine, which must be met prior to taking up the assignment. It does not apply to consultants who will work remotely and are not expected to work on or visit UNICEF premises, programme delivery locations or directly interact with communities UNICEF works with, nor to travel to perform functions for UNICEF for the duration of their consultancy contracts.

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