4. Administration

Administration plays a vital role in providing support services to all activities and staff in an emergency relief operation. In an emergency response, administration and programme support services need to be established first to mobilise the rest of the operation. Administration is responsible for providing the basic conditions for the emergency team to be able to work, including office and accommodation set-up, staff travel and logistics, provisioning of equipment and supplies, vehicle management, procurement and local government coordination.

In addition, the administration unit helps with management of assets, and compliance with legal and donor requirements in the emergency. Administration should ensure compliance with key policies and procedures, while also allowing an acceptable level of flexibility to meet the emergency demands efficiently.

Many sub-units within administration play a coordinated role and together provide the needed support. Administration and support services oversee the business aspects of the emergency response and coordinate activities including procurement, logistics, inventory management, telecommunications and security within established policies and procedures. For specific guidelines on these topics, see also the chapter on LogisticsChapter on ProcurementChapter on Telecommunications and IT, and Chapter on Safety and security.

1.1 CI roles and responsibilities for administration

1.2 Role of the Administration Manager and staff

1.3 Coordination with other support functions


  • Coordinate all travel and logistics arrangements for emergency personnel including:
    • visa applications
    • arrival, pick-up, briefing and internal travel, and departure at end of assignment
    • coordinate allocation of office space and equipment for emergency personnel
    • establish appropriate accommodation for emergency staff in hotels or staff houses.
  • Put effective equipment and property management systems in place
    • Ensure the emergency operation has the equipment required for the response.
    • Maintain effective inventory management for all supplies and equipment.
    • Ensure that all necessary printed forms are available for use by staff.
    • Ensure adequate controls are in place for issuing, storage and transfer of equipment, including regular physical checks.
    • Ensure regular maintenance and servicing of property and equipment.
    • Insure all valuable property.
    • Dispose of property in accordance with donor policies.
  • Put administrative systems in place to manage correspondence and filing systems.
  • If extra office capacity is required for the emergency response, manage the office selection and set-up, including selecting an appropriate building, negotiating lease, installing furnishings and utilities, and maintenance contracts.
  • If emergency operations are taking place in areas where appropriate office and accommodations are not available due to the remote nature or disaster damage, establish a compound to provide office and accommodation for CARE staff. This should include:
    • obtaining authorisation and securing the site
    • installing basic office and accommodation facilities (for example, tents), and basic amenities
    • hiring staff and making provisions for ongoing compound management including supply of food, water, power, and maintenance of safe and hygienic conditions.
  • Establish effective vehicle management systems and guidelines for the safe and effective use and tracking of vehicles.
    • Ensure the administration unit monitors compliance with guidelines for the safe use of vehicles.
    • As far as possible, aim for standardisation of the fleet when procuring vehicles.
    • Use rental vehicles when large numbers of vehicles are required quickly.
    • Ensure files and inventories are maintained for all vehicles, and vehicles are insured.
    • Ensure vehicles are maintained regularly.
  • Put in place a system for issuing and monitoring fuel for both vehicles and generator.
  • When operating in a new area, ensure CARE has authorisation to operate in the country and area of the emergency, commence the formal registration process as soon as possible, and establish good relationships with the host government, UN coordinating bodies and peer NGOs.


  • Coordinate with HR to facilitate visa processing including informing the incoming staff of visa requirements, issuing letters of invitation and obtaining government approval.
  • Make arrival arrangements for international staff including pick-up, briefings and registration if required.
  • Ensure all incoming emergency personnel have adequate office space and equipment.
  • Establish appropriate accommodation for emergency personnel in either hotels or staff houses.
  • Coordinate internal staff travel requirements.
  • Make outward travel arrangements for international staff at the end of the contract.

Administration plays a critical role in helping to mobilise the Emergency Response Team by making travel and logistics arrangements for emergency staff. This includes incoming international emergency staff, as well as arrangements for national staff redeploying into the emergency area.

Organising travel and logistical arrangements is a critical and time-consuming activity that requires staff to be familiar with visa requirements, travel arrangements, ticketing and other in-country requirements such as travel permissions. It also requires clear and timely communication with the relevant staff. Adequate resources must be dedicated to this task, as timeliness is critical. Poor coordination and communication can cause critical delays in the emergency response.

3.1 Visa processing for international emergency personnel

3.2 Arrival arrangements

3.3 Office space and equipment for incoming staff

3.4 Accommodation

3.4.1 Hotel accommodation

3.4.2 Staff house accommodation

3.5 Internal travel

3.6 Departure of staff


  • Establish effective property management systems.
  • Put in place effective inventory and control systems for both expendable materials and supplies, and non-expendable items.
  • Establish properly controlled procedures for the requisition and issue of materials and equipment.
  • Store materials and equipment safely and securely in a way that is easy.
  • Conduct regular physical counts and inventory reconciliation.
  • Record the transfer of property between staff, units or projects in the appropriate inventories.
  • Dispose of items in accordance with donor policy.
  • Put in place building and equipment service and maintenance contracts.
  • Insure all valuable assets.

4.1 Equipment requirements for the emergency response

4.2 Management of property

4.2.1 Expendable materials and supplies

4.2.2 Non-expendable equipment

4.3 Requisition and issue of materials or equipment from inventory

4.4 Storage of materials and equipment

4.5 Physical count and inventory reconciliation

4.6 Transfer of non-expendable inventory items

4.7 Disposal of items

4.8 Building and equipment service and maintenance

4.9 Insurance of assets


  • Route all incoming and outgoing mail through one designated person.
  • Make copies of official correspondence (both in letter and electronic forms) and file in separate incoming and outgoing master files.
  • Establish filing systems for all areas of CARE’s work and ensure they are secure.

5.1 General correspondence

5.2 Filing systems

6.1 Selecting an office building

6.2 Utilities in rented buildings

6.2.1 Water

6.2.2 Electricity

6.2.3 Telephone lines

6.3 Entering into a rental agreement

6.4 Security and safety precautions for rented premises

6.5 Maintenance contracts


  • Obtain authorisation for use of the site and secure site with security fencing.
  • Appoint a compound manager and support staff.
  • Install tents or other temporary structures for office, living quarters and amenities.
  • Install, and undertake an inventory of, basic furniture and equipment.
  • Make arrangements for utilities including water supply and storage, and power supply.
  • Coordinate with the Telecommunications and IT Officer for telecommunications set-up in remote areas (refer to the chapter on Telecommunications and IT).
  • Put adequate compound security in place including security guards.
  • Ensure the compound meets health and hygiene standards.
  • Arrange for food supply and preparation for compound residents.
  • Provide adequate rest and recreation facilities for staff well-being.

In some emergency situations, appropriate office space and housing is non-existent. In these cases, it is necessary to establish a compound where CARE staff can both work and live. This is especially important if a full-scale and longer-term relief operation is to be undertaken. Establishing adequate conditions and facilities for both work and living is critical for staff well-being and to avoid high staff turnover.

7.1 Basic site establishment

7.2 Compound staff

7.3 Office space and living quarters

7.4 Inventory of compound furniture, fixture and equipment (FFE)

7.5 CARE compound security

7.6 Utilities for the compound

7.6.1 Water

7.6.2 Electricity

7.6.3 Telecommunications

7.7 Health and hygiene

7.8 Procurement of food supplies

7.9 Canteen and recreation facilities


  • Coordinate procurement of vehicles, and ensure their suitability for conditions and aim for standardisation of the fleet.
  • Maintain a vehicle inventory for each type of vehicle.
  • Insure vehicles.
  • Where large numbers of vehicles are required quickly, then rent vehicles.
  • Put systems and guidelines in place for vehicle request, use and monitoring.
  • Always track vehicle movements.
  • Ensure vehicles are well-maintained and employ pre-emptive, regular maintenance programmes.
  • Keep updated individual vehicle files.
  • Ensure that vehicles and vehicle usage conform to safety regulations, including for motorcycles.
  • Report all accidents and complete detailed accident reports.

Administration is responsible for the management of light vehicles owned or used by CARE. The logistics unit is usually responsible for larger, heavy vehicles for programme logistics purposes. Effective vehicle management is essential to allow emergency teams to work effectively and safely.

8.1 Vehicle procurement and inventory

8.2 Vehicle insurance

8.3 Vehicle rental

8.4 Vehicle use

8.5 Tracking vehicle movement

8.6 Vehicle maintenance

8.7 Maintenance of individual vehicle files

8.8 Vehicle safety regulations

8.9 Motorcycle use

8.10 Vehicle accident reporting


  • Put in place a system for issuing and monitoring fuel for both vehicles and generator fuel.
  • Closely track fuel consumption, costs and supply.

9.1 Managing access to fuel for vehicles

9.2 Managing access to fuel for generators


  • Ensure CARE has authorisation to operate in the country and area of the emergency.
  • Commence the formal registration process as soon as possible.
  • Compile all necessary documents and seek legal assistance in the country.
  • Establish good relationships with key government departments as a priority.
  • Establish coordination with UN coordinating bodies and peer NGOs for administrative purposes as well as programme purposes.

10.1 Authorisation to operate

10.2 Registration documents

10.3 Establishing relationships with government departments

10.4 Coordinating with other agencies

CARE Administrative Start-Up Manual (ASUM):

Chapter 4: Telecommunications Chapter

5: Vehicle management Chapter

7: Procurement Chapter

8: Housing Chapter

9: CARE compound management Chapter

10: Office establishment

The Tough Stuff Managing Menstruation