1. Role of administration in an emergency

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.

Position Key responsibilities
Administration manager
  • Manage overall administration unit and staff in close coordination with procurement, logistics and HR managers
  • Ensure effective administrative support to emergency teams including travel, logistics, office and equipment emergency staff.
  • Manage office, accommodation and supply requirements.
  • Ensure appropriate levels of controls and accountability are in place for use of property and supplies, including vehicles and fuel.
  • Assist in government liaison including registration.
  • Orient the new staff on CARE policies and procedures related to Administration functions.
Compound management
  • Manage the compound and staff including maintenance of amenities and supplies (such as food, water, fuel, etc.)
General administration
  • Receive, record, dispatch and distribute mail
  • Ensure requisition of adequate amounts of office stationery and supplies.
  • Carry out other administrative duties relating to stock and filing.
Inventory and property maintenance
  • Assist in office building identification and staff residences.
  • Prepare lease agreements and maintain a copy in the file.
  • Responsible for property maintenance including repairs.
  • Maintain required property registers and inventories.
Travel and liaison
  • Coordinate all travel arrangements for national and international staff including movement tracking, transport, ticketing, pick-up and drop-offs, safety and security, and lodging arrangements.
  • Undertake visa processing for incoming staff.
Office cleaning and maintenance
  • Ensure offices and lodgings are cleaned, facilities are  stocked with essential hygiene supplies, and waste disposed of appropriately.
Vehicle management and maintenance
  • Develop effective management systems for vehicle usage, vehicle log books, fuel, maintenance and charging of all transport.
  • Ensure compliance with vehicle safety and security policies.
  • Prepare lease agreement for rental vehicles and ensure payments are done on timely basis.
Emergency Team Leader/ACD Programme Support
  • Coordinate and maintain effective relations with government.
  • Through effective supervision of the Administration Manager, ensure that all administrative support activities are implemented speedily and in compliance with established policies and procedures.
  • Orient the new arrived international staff on CARE policies and procedures related to Administration functions.
Lead Member
  • Provide guidance on Lead Member policies in relation to administration including property and inventory management, filing, insurance, and vehicle management.
  • Support the registration process by providing necessary documentation.

The administration unit should be headed by an Administration Manager who will usually report to either the ACD Programme Support or the Emergency Team Leader. The key functions of the Administration Manager in an emergency are to:

  • manage overall administration unit and staff in close coordination with other support units
  • ensure effective administrative support to emergency teams including travel, logistics, office and equipment emergency staff
  • establish systems for daily administration, filing, receipt and dispatch of mail and secretarial needs of the emergency response
  • establish an effective standardised filing system that can provide easy access to information and proper documentation of all mission correspondence
  • select an office building/residential accommodation and secure lease/rental agreement
  • ensure office premises, accommodation and the compound are managed and maintained
  • work closely with other emergency team members to assess the needs and oversee the installation of office equipment, supplies, utilities (stationery, filing systems, photocopier, furniture, water, electricity, etc.)
  • ensure equipment and systems are managed and maintained
  • ensure appropriate levels of controls and accountability are in place for use of property and supplies including vehicles and fuel
  • work closely with the Security Officer to ensure appropriate steps to safeguard office premises and residential property (guards, locks, lighting, alarms, fire equipment)
  • work closely with the Telecommunications Officer to organise the installation of office communications/information management facilities and systems
  • establish effective vehicle management systems that allow safe and effective use of vehicles for the emergency response
  • assist in government liaison including registration.

In addition to the Administration Manager, there are a number of administrative support positions required in an emergency. The exact size of the administration team will depend on the scale of the emergency, but should be sufficient to cover the functions described in section 1.1. See also Annex 18.1 Terms of Reference Administration Manager, and Annex 18.2 Job summaries-Administration support.

Effective coordination between administration, procurement, logistics, security and human resources in an emergency response is critical. All four units are interdependent in the delivery of effective support services. Often these functions will report to one manager (ACD programme support). The Administration Manager must coordinate very effectively with:

  • procurement for the timely and effective purchase of equipment and supplies, and contracting of service providers
  • logistics for the effective management of transport and vehicle management
  • the Safety and Security Officer to ensure buildings and vehicles comply with safety and security standards
  • HR to provide the right support to incoming personnel.