Planning and Budgeting
Prioritization and Scheduling
- funding availability;
- security phases and security situations;
- priorities of ICT’s partners;
- equipment availability (equipment needed for deployment is unavailable).
- availability of staff for deployment;
- availability/arrival of equipment;
- availability of funding;
- availability of office space (where and when WFP plans to open offices);
- in-country transportation (staff and equipment);
- security restrictions.
- computers, printers/scanner/fax, etc.;
- radio communication equipment;
- data and voice connectivity equipment such as Thuraya Satellite Phones and Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network terminals (BGAN). Emergency quick deployment kits may be available containing the basics of all above to provide the operational minimum requirements for an office. They are designed to be transported in robust cases as checked in luggage with the first responder(s).
- ICT Staff
- number of locations that require ICT services/equipment
- number of users per location
- number of vehicles per location
- level of security phase at the various locations
- types of WFP and inter-agency ICT services that should be provided in each location – for example, support to UNHAS/common inter-agency MOSS compliance
- current national and WFP ICT infrastructure
- availability of local/regional markets for purchase and maintenance of equipment and ICT services, recruitment of local staff, etc.
- country topography, for determining VHF and HF coverage, etc.
- restrictions on import or usage of specific ICT equipment and communication frequencies
- deadlines for the various ICT services to be installed and made available to the users
- nature of the emergency – sudden or slow onset, armed conflict, etc. – which often dictates the priorities and suggests the implementation/deployment strategy
- availability of cargo and passenger services – e.g. UN cargo flights may reduce equipment cost up to 20 percent
- projected closure date of the operation
Scaling operations and services
- email (Lotus Notes)
- corporate applications (WINGS, Compas, etc.)
- telephony – shared
- access to internal web applications – WFPgo, Docustore, SPA, epWEB, etc.
- email (Lotus Notes)
- telephony – shared
- access to internal web applications
- email (Lotus Notes)
- telephony – shared, single line or satphone
- access to internal applications
- telephony – shared
Connectivity (data and telephony)
- ensure the PBX has expansion capacity as, in an emergency, an office may double in size
- ensure the PBX unit has capacity for the type of landlines available on site
- ensure the PBX interface can match a VSAT if it is deployed (analogue trunks/E1)
- ensure proper interfaces are available for integrating with GSM and satellite phones
- determine if wireless phones (DECT) will be required.
- Laptops – provide mobility for users, requires less space and have internal WLAN which makes them easier and faster to deploy, use less power than a desktop and do not need an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). On the other hand, they are easily stolen, are high maintenance when used outside the private network and are easily broken.
- Desktops – are durable, have less risk of being stolen but require a UPS.
Applications (including financial data)
As with the LAN, it is usually best to establish the WAN in two phases, initially using existing connectivity such as Internet or a partner’s VSAT to establish a secure tunnel to the private network and then deploying a FoodSat station that provides direct connectivity to the private network as well as voice services.
WFP operations depend on reliable and secure exchange of information that the corporate email system provides, which uses the Lotus Domino platform and the Lotus Notes client interface.
The main/Country Office should always have a Domino server. However, staff on short, temporary duty missions (less than one month) will normally replicate directly with their Domino server at their home duty station.
Electrical service can have the largest negative impact if not done properly. An unstable, unreliable or badly designed electricity supply network will not only damage or destroy the equipment, but it poses a danger to staff safety.
There are two main solutions for electricity supply that are used as follows:
- Mains with generator backup
Publicly provided electricity is the main source with agency provided generators used as a backup. To ensure stable power when running the mains, all electricity provided to ICT equipment should be filtered through voltage regulators and UPSs.
- Generator only
When public electricity supply is not available or is too unstable and/or low voltage to be utilized it will be necessary to operate an agency generator(s) on a permanent basis. The main generator may need to be shut down overnight to save fuel, then the plan must include a smaller generator to continue powering vital ICT equipment as well as security flood lights.
It is important that all security telecommunications equipment (radios, repeaters) are additionally backed up by a solar power system!
It is important to distinguish between generators used as backup and those used on permanent basis. This difference is explained in the Generator Sizing Matrix.
If electricity supply and distribution networks (public and office) are unreliable or below WFP standards an electrician must be included in the staffing plan. An experienced electrician from FITTEST or TDY can be used for the initial period to assist with upgrading networks and to train a local person who eventually can take over the responsibility. This local support can be WFP staff (existing or recruited), a local individual or a company.
Logistical considerations are critical to the response design. Without proper planning, IT staff may not reach the area of operations or move around once there, or equipment might not arrive where and when it is urgently needed. Thus, without good logistics, IT will not be able to fulfil its mandate.
The WFP Logistics Unit/Logistics Cluster is both a client of IT and a provider of central support services. It can provide information on shipping and customs clearance procedures and available capacity, and arrange the movement of ICT equipment and staff, which may require complex considerations and decisions.
WFP has a number of suppliers, both internal and external. In emergency situations, delivery time is critical because equipment is needed immediately to implement the projects. Since internal suppliers are familiar with requirements and have experience shipping to difficult locations quickly, they should normally be used to cover the immediate needs. WFP’s support office in Dubai maintains comprehensive stocks and can quickly procure items not in stock. Also long-term agreements (LTAs) with external suppliers reduce procurement and delivery time at very competitive prices.
Thus, it is important to consider all options, including the support necessary to procure and maintain equipment inventories, as this will need to be included in the plan and the budget.
The excel spreadsheet/visual aid have been developed to help outline service requirements.
Once the project design is complete, human resource requirements must be identified and deployed. WFP has established a comprehensive pool of human resources for emergency operations including the IT Emergency Team, FITTEST, standby partners, TDYs and consultants. The procedures for activation, deployment and demobilization differ, depending on the staffing pool selected. TOR and required skills have been defined in order to expedite mobilization of the following staff for emergency response:
- management team
- responsible officer
- IT lead
- logistics liaison officer
- technical team
- TC/IT, finance, administration, support
- daily labour
Note: For detailed information on staffing pools, TOR and activation see the Human Resources section of these guidelines.
The budget must cover the costs for the entire project, including potential handover/closure expenses and the post emergency evaluations including developing lessons learned.
Key costs considerations are as follows:
- equipment (capital) costs, including licensing;
- equipment management maintenance costs (storage);
- staffing costs (including any required travel and DSA);
- procurement and logistics costs;
- recurring costs [telecommunications (voice, VSAT, satphone, BGAN, etc.) support, administration, possible licensing, maintenance, fuel, etc.];
- demobilization/closure costs (including developing lessons learned);
- procurement and logistics costs;
- training costs for staff outside ICT (e.g. radio training).
In addition there can be costs related to:
- equipment delivery delays;
- local regulations;
- customs transit delays;
- staff mobilization/recruitment delays;
- changing operational requirements/contingency costs.
Sample ICT budgets and budget templates are available into planning and budgeting section, and additional information can be found for: budget preparation, budget tracking (non-WINGS), inventory of financial and support resources
The IT Emergency Management Application (EMMA) is very useful system for the preparation of budget estimations and for operational management throughout the emergency operation.
Clearance and Approval
The IT officer must be familiar with the structure of the special types of budgets used in emergency situations and the clearance and approval process. WFP has 2 different types EMergency OPerations (EMOP) and Special Operations (SO). An emergency will usually have an EMOP and several SOs. Depending on the nature of the expense, the IT budget can be distributed among Direct Support Costs (DSCs), Other Direct Operational Costs (ODOCs), and Landside Transportation, Storage and Handling (LTSH) and spread over several projects. To avoid inadvertent mistakes, it must be noted that the standard EMOP/SO budget template has a different structure from the IT budget template.
WFP has prepared detailed guidelines covering on all aspects of EMOPS and SOs (see: http://pgm.wfp.org/index.php/Main_Page)
In a sudden-onset emergency, the time to prepare cost requirements is very short. The requirements of the humanitarian community are consolidated in the flash appeal which is normally launched within a week of the start of the emergency (link to Guidelines for Flash Appeal). Should the requirements of the humanitarian community change considerably after the flash appeal has been launched, a revision is only possible if requested within a week after launch.
As a result, in order to ensure that the ICT budget will be included in the flash appeal/EMOP, the budget for the ICT response is often developed before the operational plan is complete. In fact, the flash appeal/EMOP is often being created and submitted to donors as staff leave for an emergency.
General steps for preparing the budget and the operational plan are outlined below. Build the budget in advance is largely based on experience. Estimating a budget accurately requires:
- close coordination with other units, especially programme and logistics;
- understanding of the scope of the emergency response, particularly as size and operational requirements are likely to be changing continuously during the period of the initial appeal;
- understanding of prioritization, services, equipment and personnel.
It is important to have a broad comprehension of the budgeting considerations before preparing the budget. This section outlines the input and steps for the operational planning and then presents the specifics of the budget process.
Both the project plan and budget may need to be updated as the situation on the ground changes. They become management tools for the emergency and serve as resources for monitoring and evaluation of the project deployment and for extracting and documenting lessons learned.
Daily financial management and budget tracking
Budget codes and budget allotments must be verified before committing any expenditure, and includes accounting for all cross-project budgets. Before providing a budget code the following must be checked/confirmed:
- Are sufficient funds available for the project? If not, it may be necessary to have more money “pushed down”’ to the project or to find an alternative funding source – talk to Finance!
- Can the budget be utilized for the said expenditure?
- If spending is from a funding source managed by another unit/person, ensure that unit/person authorizes the expenditure in advance, even if previously agreed that ICT will provide services against this budget.
Setup of financial plan
It is advisable to have the finance officer create a reserve fund in WINGS for each of the four areas (equipment, travel, consultants and communications services) the manager will track.
The EMMA Operations Module is to be used to establish and manage each of the four funding areas and to plan the future expenditure of the emergency. WINGS is used to track the actual spending. The reconciliation of these must be performed by the manager to ensure that no one else is spending against the WINGS reservation.
The IT manager will always need to be aware of the total ICT budget (WINGS), funds spent/committed (purchase order (PO) in WINGS), planned expenditure (purchase requisition (PR) in WINGS) and future needs (EMMA).
WINGS gives a good overview of expenditure levels (current commitments and expenditures). It is less useful for planning, although it gives a remaining budget balance based on data entered.
In exceptional cases, purchases might be done manually and the information later added into the corporate financial system (WINGS for WFP). If this is happening in your emergency, be aware when evaluating expenditures and available funds, the information cannot be relied upon. These limitations must be mentioned in any report distributed.
In addition to the corporate finical system (WINGS) other tools might be provided to extract data in a presentable standardized format, such as the MFAR (Monthly Financial Analysis Report) application which extracts information from both EMOP and SO projects.
In general, it is necessary to track:
- corporate financial system (WINGS for WFP) monthly budget reports and compare them to manually recorded records;
- any discrepancies, along with an investigation and accounting of these.
The manager needs to ensure that:
- subtracting the total amount of any POs or PRs from the total budget gives an amount that can be used for planning in EMMA; and
- the EMMA balance is sufficient to meet the needs of the remainder of the operation.
If EMMA and WINGS are not available, an ICT budget tracking sheet must be kept, to follow expenditures raised and budgeted under the EMOP/SO. This basic document should be updated daily but at least weekly to ensure that all information is tracked and available. This is crucial for auditing, which tends to occur early in large emergencies. In addition, it is necessary to work closely with the finance team to ensure follow-up and verification of expenditures.
- Financial reports and status should be shared with applicable stakeholders, particularly the RITO and OMIF, on a regular basis and whenever a change occurs;
- The RITO must clear all financial reports before they are delivered to the Country Director, finance officer or, for inter-agency operations, the Humanitarian Coordinator.
Sources of information
- Finance officer – budget codes
There are four main areas where costs should be controlled on a daily or weekly basis, each has a standard general ledger (GL) code: equipment, travel, consultants and communications services. The finance officer can provide information on expenditures undertaken by HR.
- Budget officer – budget codes
In a large emergency, there may be an assigned budget officer who provides budget codes.
- Procurement officer
Follow up with the procurement officer to ensure that PRs are turned into POs in a timely matter. The procurement officer handles the tendering, if applicable, and creates the PO. Once equipment is received, a goods receipt note (GRN) must be raised either manually or in WINGS either by IT officer or the procurement officer. If the latter then the IT officer must monitored and confirm.
Closure financial plan
Financial closure requires a comparison of the budget against actual expenditures and an explanation of any differences, e.g. there could be undelivered goods, outstanding payments or delays in WINGS updates that need to be explained. A final reconciliation of the WINGS/EMMA/tracking sheet must be made to ensure all expenditures are recorded in WINGS.
The IT manager should write a report explaining the qualitative aspects of the financial management. For example, actual costs may have differed from the standard estimates, the scope may have changed or purchases which could not be used due to scope changes.
All GRNs should have been entered into WINGS. For POs without GRNs (i.e. not entered into the system), there will be issues or explanations such as incomplete equipment arrivals, outstanding invoices and undelivered invoices.
Pitfall or risks
The manager will need to work with the procurement officer to define vendor creation.
Finance shortfalls can be the result of several causes such as:
- operation funded only partially;
- funds allotted slowly;
- budget code used by other units (must be followed up immediately with the finance officer or, if known, the entity spending your funds);
- overspending/poor estimate/expanded scope (should be brought to attention of management with a proposal for a budget correction or revision.