Terms of Reference
Public Finance and Local Governance Consultant – Research and Evidence
UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection
of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach
their full potential. Public investments oriented toward and reaching girls and boys are
essential to the fulfillment of their rights, as recognized in the Article IV of the Convention
for the Rights of the Child (CRC), which obligates governments to undertake measures to the
maximum extent of their available resources to fulfill children’s rights.
The role of national public finance policy and management is increasingly central for
achieving results for children. For UNICEF, to leverage national resources means not only
supporting the development of child-friendly policies and institutions, but also tackling
budget and public financial management (PFM)-related bottlenecks and barriers to ensure
that inputs are translated into intended outputs and impact for children. UNICEF’s
engagements in budgets and public finance issues are particularly important for addressing
social exclusion. Even when overall policies are improving and budgets are increasing,
inequitable and inefficient budgetary allocations, as well as issues with subnational budget
planning and management, play a key role in the systematic exclusion of disadvantaged
Therefore, in line with UNICEF’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, the Social Inclusion Section in
UNICEF New York Headquarters will prioritize activities around two inter-related initiatives
aimed at increasing the advocacy around and the support to UNICEF field offices, in order to
increase the size, efficiency, equity and transparency of public investments towards achieving
children’s rights. The two initiatives and expected UNICEF contributions are:
1. Provide technical input to the development of and consultation around the UN
Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)’s General Comment on Public Spending
to Realize Children’s Rights (GC);
2. Develop an internal Strategic Guidance (SG) on Public Finance and Local
Governance (PFLG) to synergize, take to scale and systemize the equity focus of
sector-based and cross-cutting initiatives led or supported by UNICEF.
It is expected that the evidence and strategies identified for the SG will feed into the evidence
and advocacy messages for both the GC itself and the resource handbook that will be
developed and disseminated during 2016 to facilitate the GC implementation by stakeholders
such as governments, parliamentarians and civil society organizations.
UNICEF is seeking a consultant to provide research and evidence generation support for the
UNICEF’s contribution to the GC and the development of the SG. To ensure the relevance
and quality of the evidence generated from desk-based review and case studies, it is expected
that the consultant will participate in and contribute to the consultation processes for the
production of both the GC and the SG. In addition, the consultant is expected to liaise
regularly with focal points in the Programming Division in NYHQ on sector-specific PFLG
issues. Due to the tight production timelines of both initiatives and the need for frequent,
timely feedback to ensure best quality of deliverables, this consultant is expected to work full
time and on-site.
3. Expected Results
Under the supervision of Chief of PFLG Unit, the consultant will produce the following
A literature review of evidence on effective strategies, approaches, and practices, as
well as lessons learned in the area of PFLG:
o Based on secondary research and through an extensive desk review, the consultant
will summarize and synthesize relevant experiences and findings from available
literature, in order to generate the evidence base for identifying effective strategies,
approaches and practices, as well as lessons learned. The scope of the review may
include i) relevant internal publications (e.g. the global stock-take, and the multi-
media case studies of UNICEF county initiatives), and ii) external publications
including, but not limited to, those by the World Bank, International Budget
Partnership (IBP), Decentralization and Local Governance (DeLoG), ODI Centre
for Aid and Public Expenditure (CAPE), Oxfam, and other UN agencies.
o The outputs will be delivered in modules that correspond to the five categories of
PFLG interventions in the SG, namely i) budget data and bottlenecks analysis, ii)
policy dialogue and advocacy around budget issues identified; iii) budget
monitoring and tracking with a focus on strengthening local governance, iv)
budgetary impact assessments (e.g. has UNICEF’s PFLG work led to greater,
more efficient, equitable public spending?), and v) cross-cutting capacity
development and partnerships.
Input to the drafting and the consultation processes of the CRC General Comment
and the PFLG Strategic Guidance: based on the above, the consultant will draw out
relevant supporting evidence and produce drafting and analytical input to the milestones
products for the GC and SG.
This is a 9-month assignment expected to begin on May 19, 2014. This consultancy is
required to be full time, on-site at UNICEF Headquarters in New York City, although
occasional working offsite is possible subject to supervisor pre-approval.
5. Activities and Deadlines
The consultant will be responsible for delivering on the following:
Output/Deliverable Deadline Amount
Literature review of evidence on effective PFLG strategies, approaches, and practices
Review methodology developed May 26, 2014
Evidence base for modules 1-2 developed June 6, 2014
Evidence base for modules 3-4 developed June 20, 2014
Evidence base for modules 5 developed June 30, 2014
Other evidence as needed for the CRC General Comment See below
PFLG strategic guidance
Drafting and analytical inputs to annotated outline June 30, 2014
Drafting and analytical inputs to zero draft August 30, 2014
Participation in the expert meeting* Sept 30, 2014
Participation in the consultations with reference groups Oct. 31, 2014
Drafting and analytical inputs to the final draft Dec. 31, 2014
Companion resource handbook produced Feb. 18. 2015
CRC General Comment
Drafting inputs to scoping document August 31, 2014
Participation in the expert meeting* Sept. 30, 2014
Drafting input to outline Oct. 30, 2014
Drafting input to zero draft Jan. 31, 2015
*the meeting serves two purposes.
6. Competencies and Skills Required
Advanced university degree in Economics, Public Finance, Social Sciences, Public Policy
and/or Administration, International Relations or other relevant discipline.
Minimum of 8 years of professional work experience in public financial policy,
management and budgeting. Experience in local/community-level budget monitoring and
analysis strongly preferred. Familiarity with UNICEF programming is a plus. Experience
in fragile states also desirable.
Strong research and drafting skills, especially to analyze and package qualitative
Proven ability to work under tight deadlines and drive for results.
Fluency in English mandatory. Fluency in French highly desirable.
7. Application Process
Qualified candidates are requested to submit a one-page cover letter summarizing relevant
experience, CV and P 11 form (which can be downloaded from our website at
http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_53129.html) to email@example.com with
subject line “Public Finance and Local Governance Consultant – Research and
Evidence” by 30th April 2014, 5:00pm EST. Please indicate your ability, availability and
daily/monthly rate to undertake the terms of reference above. Applications submitted without
a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.
At the end of the cover letter, please indicate: (a) acknowledgement that you are able to be
located in New York City throughout the duration of this assignment; and (b) your daily rate
to perform this assignment (Note: your daily rate will be paid out on a monthly basis
according to the number of official UN working days each month). Applications that do not
include this information will not be considered. Compensation will be commensurate to
experience and guided by competitive market rates.