Key Actions by:

Standard 16: Accountable and timely project close-out.

Close out the project in a way that is responsive and accountable to participants, partners, host or local governments and donors.

Closely monitor and manage implementation of the close-out plan, including timely communication with the donor.

  • Partnership
    • Partner completion of close-out steps has a significant impact on overall project close-out. Regular follow-up and accompaniment of partners throughout the close-out process is therefore essential for timely close-out. Engage CRS and partner senior management as needed to address challenges (including lack of partner response to close-out related requests).
    • The PM/CoP and other project staff use the final project detailed implementation plan, the partner-specific close-out plan, and relevant action points from check-in meetings of the CRS close-out team as the basis for check-ins with partners during the close-out period.
    • For partners needing average follow-up and support, in multi-year projects where close-out planning starts well before the project end date (e.g. 12-18 months before), quarterly project review and planning meetings and regular project monitoring visits are usually sufficient check-ins early in the close-out period. As the partner agreement end date approaches, organize more frequent check-ins (e.g. monthly then weekly).
    • For partners requiring more support to complete final programmatic and/or other close-out activities, CRS and the partner should establish a schedule and plan for more intensive support, accompaniment, and review of close-out progress as part of the development of the partner-specific close-out plan (see Standard 16, key action 2 for guidance).
    • Organize in-person meetings with each partner four to six weeks before the end date in the partner’s sub-recipient agreement. Review pending activities from the partner project close-out plan and ensure a clear plan of action to complete these activities before the end date.
    • If CRS has requested a no-cost extension that similarly would extend the partner sub-agreement or is awaiting a decision on a follow-on proposal that would involve the partner, keep the partner informed about the status. This is especially important for partner close-out staffing plans, particularly given legal requirements around advance notification to staff whose employment will end with the project. If the request/proposal is approved, work with the partner to adjust close-out plans.  
    • Throughout the close-out period, remind partners of the cut-off date for partner project expenditures, to avoid disallowed costs and associated partner relationship challenges. Pay close attention to issues with partner financial management and liquidations generally, as problems in this area (inaccurate expense forecasting, late liquidations, questioned costs) will delay project/award financial closure. Share the CRS Grant Closure Checklist with partners and discuss how to ensure all required actions (e.g., submitting timesheets) are completed on time.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Follow the same process, including the guidance above for working with any CRS partners who are second-level sub-recipients or contractors. Delays in close-out at partner level will impact CRS’ timely completion of its close-out responsibilities as a sub-recipient.
    • Keep the prime informed of any unexpected challenges or delays in completing close-out activities and seek clarification promptly if questions arise.
  • Emergency projects
    • Follow the same process, telescoping as needed given that the close-out process is likely to be more compressed than in a development project.
    • As noted in previous key actions (e.g. Standard 16, key action 2), financial close-out when multiple donors have contributed to a wider emergency response can be complex. Closely monitor the financial close-out process to identify challenges and resolve issues as soon as possible.