10.03 Contracts for the acquisition of services

These are standard procurement contracts in which the aim of the UNAIDS Secretariat is to purchase services. UNAIDS is the requesting party and the potential contractor is either a private individual, private company, non-profit non-governmental organisation or an academic institution when it acts as a service provider on the open market

10.03.01 Agreement for Performance of Work (APW)

An APW is the standard document used by UNAIDS to contract outside parties to perform a specific piece of work, often a technical service or piece of intellectual work (e.g. the preparation of a report, writing of an article or policy paper, organization of a seminar, or translation or editing services).

The contractor may be an individual, a company or an institution (such as an Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) or a civil society organization). Under certain circumstances, other UN agencies may participate in a commercial competitive process that may result in an APW.

Under an APW, the contractor does not have the status of a staff member of the UNAIDS Secretariat. APWs should therefore not be concluded for work that would typically be carried out by a staff member or under a short-term employment contract.  Nor should an APW holder normally carry out his/her work on UNAIDS premises. It is particularly important to respect this rule since accident insurance is obligatory for all persons working on UNAIDS premises. Insurance coverage can only be arranged under exceptional circumstances, as per “General Condition #1” on the reverse of the APW form. 

The use of the APW contract in instances where a person may be required to travel extensively for UNAIDS and to officially represent UNAIDS is not appropriate; in such cases the person or persons should be hired under a short-term consultant contract.

Travel under the contract, if necessary, must be arranged by the contractor noting that any reimbursement will be made on the basis of the UNAIDS travel policy for non-staff travellers (currently in economy class regardless of travel duration). The contractor will be reimbursed upon presenting of proof of purchase and actual travel. Budgeted travel expenses, other than ticket costs, must never exceed the rate of the UN per diem rate for the location of the travel. Overall, the  travel component must not exceed 25% of the total value of the contract.

In addition to the specific provisions relating to the work to be performed and payment, an APW contains seven standard conditions, and this standard format must be used. These conditions are found in the standard template and are briefly described below.
  1. There is no employer/employee relationship between UNAIDS and the contractual partner, and UNAIDS is not liable for any damages arising from the contract.
  2. The work produced by the contractual partner becomes the property of UNAIDS.
  3. The rules governing the different types of payment are indicated.
  4. A no-cost extension to the work may be granted, subject to certain conditions (see reverse of form for more details). UNAIDS has the power to rescind the contract if the work is not satisfactorily performed by the agreed deadlines.
  5. There is a three-month deadline following completion of work for submission of technical and/or financial reports.
  6. The contractual partner signing an agreement in his/her personal capacity will not, during the term of this agreement, hold the status of a UNAIDS staff member. 
  7. Modalities for settling contract disputes must be provided.
The APW should be accompanied by the UNAIDS general conditions for services and any other relevant annexes (e.g. Terms of Reference, budget, etc.).

Clearance from Human Resources Management (HRM) Geneva is required whenever there is a need to contract services from individuals under this contract type to ensure APWs are not used to perform staff functions.

APW Payment options

Fixed-sum payments

Fixed-sum payments are applicable and justified whenever the contract is commissioned for specific product(s) that can be completed for a negotiated fixed amount of money (e.g. a report, a technical paper, editing work, data analysis, etc.).

A fixed sum is usually negotiated based on an exact amount provided by a vendor for a single item or a calculation based on an amount per day (e.g. per word or per page). The fee is a flat fee; in other words, the amount of the contract does not change if it takes longer or shorter than foreseen to complete the work.

For work on a specific product that is to be carried out intermittently over a period of several months, an exact number of days required to carry out the task should be calculated and an appropriate fee determined that also takes into account the overall value of the product.
Financial reports are not mandatory under contract arrangements that provide for agreed fixed-sum payments.

Maximum-amount payments

A maximum-amount payment is used whenever UNAIDS provides funds against an estimated budget (e.g. for the organization of a meeting or seminar). Whenever a maximum-amount payment is specified, a financial report must be provided by the contractual partner, and any unspent balance must be returned to UNAIDS.

Payment will be made to the contractual partner upon satisfactory delivery of product(s), as spelt out in the TOR, along with the submission of financial reports (broken down by budget items).

A maximum-amount payment also may be negotiated when contracting individuals or firms to provide specific services, including advisory services on specific matters. The contract should specify the maximum number of days foreseen and the daily rate for the work to be conducted.

Fixed- and maximum-amount payments

A contract may mix both fixed-sum and maximum-amount payments. For example, a contractual partner may have extensive communication costs or be required to perform a task involving travel. In such cases, UNAIDS may choose one of several options.
  • Negotiate a fixed sum for the work, and agree to reimburse the contractual partner up to a maximum amount for travel and communication costs related to the work to be carried out; such reimbursement is made on the basis of detailed invoices.
  • Agree on a fixed sum to cover travel and communication costs, and add this to the fixed sum of the contract. If actual travel and communication costs exceed the lump sum amount, then the contractual partner is not reimbursed for the extra costs.
  • Add the following to the contract template: “The fixed sum of this contract is inclusive of any and all expenditures that may be incurred by you as a result of this agreement.”
Regardless of the payment type selected, calculations should be clearly indicated in the budget breakdown for the contract.

10.03.02 Letters of Agreement (LOA)

A Letter of Agreement is essentially a tailor-made form of contract used by UNAIDS when there are significant deviations from any of the seven general conditions governing APWs, or when the APW modality appears inappropriate.

Some of the types of work for which the LOA may be raised might include:
  • the performance of data management and analysis where an APW is not always appropriate, or where there are specific copyright conditions;
  • contracts relating to reference groups; or
  • the organization of external meetings.
Three of the seven general conditions that apply to APWs should normally be included in the text of the LOA. These are general conditions 1, 5 and 7, as shown below:
  • there is no employer–employee relationship between UNAIDS and the contractual partner, and UNAIDS is not liable for any damages arising from the execution of the work (general condition 1).
  • there is a 90-day deadline following completion of work for submission of technical and financial reports (general condition 5).
  • the modalities for settling contract disputes must be provided (general condition 7).
Copyright issues are dealt with in template PT.10.05 Copyright clauses for letters of agreement, which provides a number of alternative clauses.

LOA Payment options

Please refer to the payments options under the APW sub-section 10.03.01 above.

10.03.03 Consultant Contract

A consultant is an individual who is a specialist or recognized authority in a specific field, engaged under a contract in a technical advisory or consultative capacity. A consultant must have special skills or knowledge not normally possessed by staff members and perform functions for which there is no continuing need in UNAIDS. 

A consultant contract is issued for the performance of a specific, time-limited piece of work in a technical advisory or consultative capacity that requires the presence of the individual on the premises. A consultant contract should be issued if there is a need for close technical guidance by (and travel on behalf of) UNAIDS. 

A consultant contract should not be issued for the performance of a staff member’s duties on a temporary basis nor should the consultant have any representative or managerial/executive responsibility. Training under a consultant contract at the expense of UNAIDS is not permitted. The duration of the contract should not exceed a continuous period of two years

Clearance from Human Resources Management (HRM) Geneva is required whenever there is a need to hire services under this contract type to ensure there is no duplicity or overlap with existing approved staff functions.

The rights and obligations of a consultant are strictly limited by the terms and conditions of their contract with UNAIDS. Consultants shall perform the services under the contract in a personal capacity and not as representatives of a government or of any other authority external to the organization.

The selection of consultants follows the same competitive process required for other types of contracts for services (such as APWs), and the same approval thresholds apply.

Other than clearances and approvals, all clauses and restrictions governing consultant’s contracts in WHO are applicable to UNAIDS.

Consultant Payment options

Please refer to the payments options under the APW sub-section 10.03.01 above.