Research Reports and Policy Papers Quality Assurance Consultant

TERMS OF REFERENCE (TOR) FOR NATIONAL CONSULTANTS  

Supporting Quality Assurance of Research Reports and other Efforts in Public Policy, Regulatory Reform, E-Government, E-Commerce, Access to Finance, or Related Fields  

Background

The USAID LinkSME project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), supports the Government of Vietnam (GVN) in its efforts to develop, adopt, and implement policy and regulatory reforms to provide a more favorable environment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It also works with business support organizations and the GVN to improve the performance of SMEs and integrate them into lead-firm supply chains.  The project is implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC, www.iesc.org), under a contract with USAID and an operating license issued by the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee. Clickhere for more information.

The Project’s Needs 

The project regularly engages national consultants to develop research papers and policy proposals as required by the project’s annual work plan. For instance, in recent months, the project’s consultants have developed research and/or policy proposals regarding the following (to name just a few):

  • Administrative procedures governing the construction and beverage industries
  • SME participation in bidding for government contracts
  • SME related commitments under Vietnam’s international trade and investment agreements
  • Opportunities for SMEs in global markets for wood products
  • How to assist enterprises severely impacted by the pandemic
  • The scope of regulation over various pharmaceutical products
  • Challenges facing the textile and garment sector

More are expected in the coming months.

The project also engages consultants to develop various step-by-step problem-solving materials (aka “tools”) for assessing and/or furthering digital transformation or manufacturing improvement. Finally, it regularly engages them to develop various training materials, handbooks, etc. on governmental procedures and/or progressive business practices.

To better ensure the quality of such papers, tools, and materials, the project is establishing a pool of Quality Assurance Consultants (QACs).  These consultants will work under a blanket service agreement and will be offered assignments as needs arise. The assignments will be governed by a mutually agreed-upon task order that will identify the underlying research area, the documents needing assessment and the deliverables expected from the QAC.  While actual assignments might vary, a typical one might have the QAC reviewing a draft report, attending an expert’s presentation, and afterwards writing up a set of comments and recommendations on the drafted materials. Payment would be against deliverables submitted rather than on days worked.

For this purpose, IESC calls for interest from individuals with relevant qualifications in public policy, regulatory reform, e-government, e-commerce, digital transformation, access to finance, skills development, or related fields.

Required Qualifications   

Candidates for the QAC pool should possess the following qualifications:

  • Vietnamese national or foreigner with the right to work in Vietnam.
  • A master’s degree in public policy, economics, or other relevant fields (see above).
  • Formal or informal recognition as an expert in a relevant field as shown by awards, teaching positions, consultancies, etc.
  • Strong understanding of Vietnamese political and institutional context, and/or its business, industrial and international trade context.
  • Well developed analytical and communication skills.
  • Dedication to the maintenance of academic and professional standards.
  • Willingness to provide constructive criticism of work products of peer, or near-peer professionals and provide specific suggestions for improvement if needed.

Remuneration  

Task orders shall establish fixed amounts for various assignments based on the difficulty and complexity of the required tasks, the anticipated required effort, the consultant’s qualifications and experiences, prevailing market rates, and IESC policy.

The contracted individuals shall enjoy all other reimbursables in accordance with IESC policy.

Conflicts of Interest 

Engagement of a QAC under a task order is contingent upon satisfactory conclusion by the project that the QAC has no connections, ties, or other relationship with the consultant whose work is being reviewed and the ultimate beneficiaries of such work, such that the QAC’s objectivity in reviewing the work might be compromised.

Reporting  

QACs with task orders will work closely with, and report directly to one of the project’s technical assistance managers/advisors, who will review deliverables and invoices and give direction to the selected consultants in the performance of their work. Additional contractual oversight and final approval of deliverables will be provided by the USAID LinkSME Team Leader.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the position will remain open until filled. Early applications by March 15, 2022 are strongly encouraged.

Application should include the following filled forms:

1. Contractor Employee Biographical Data Sheet (please download at this link)

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