In our days, public organizations come under severe criticism for offering poor value for the taxpayer’s money and less bureaucracy is on the tongue of almost every citizen making eloquent the need for these organizations to get out of their status quo and become more efficient and responsive.

It is further understood that excellence is not the sole province of businesses and that no more can it be considered a strange issue for public organizations. Excellence is also equally important for the public organizations.

It is for this reason that EIPA (European Institute of Public Administration) has launched its own instrument of Excellence, the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) specifically developed for the public sector. Here, following, are a few words about CAF with the intent to introduce it to those that have not come across it before:

  • CAF translates to the public sector the concepts of excellence as defined by EFQM aiming at orienting the public organizations toward Total Quality.
  • Like the EFQM model, it has 9 Criteria very similar in name with those of EFQM, presented in a diagram as Enablers and Results, but their explanatory content is adjusted to reflect the concerns of public organizations. Each criterion is analyzed into sub-criteria (28 in total) which are explained and each is illustrated by examples.
  • The model includes a scoring and self-assessment stage aiming at discovering strengths and areas of improvement and the linked improvement actions. While for self-assessment EFQM adopts the philosophy of RADAR, CAF adopts Deming’s cycle of PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) against which the sub-criteria and criteria are assessed. Further, the user organization is allowed, according to its degree of maturity, to choose between two PDCA assessment panels: (a) the simpler classical scoring and (b) the fine-tuned scoring which is more detailed in its implementation stages and scoring.

What is exciting is that the model, besides placing Excellence as a vision, by examples and practical advice shows the way to how this can be achieved. Of great interest is also the offered approach to excel by way of self-help. The Self-Assessment stage forms a vital part of the model and guidelines for it provide implementation details for (a) the pre-work, (b) the Self-Assessment process and (c) the Improvement plan and prioritization.

We encourage organizations to use the CAF Excellence Model. It aims at assisting public administrations with their efforts for continuous improvements in increasing their efficiency, effectiveness, economic and social responsibility while providing them with a coherent and sustainable approach to successful management. We believe, for willing organizations, is a great way forward.


We would welcome discussion and your views.
The development and implementation of Excellence Models, for which we have written to some extent, is an area of great interest and application for Sardos Solutions Consulting and one for which we have the capacity and skills to offer services to those organizations that would like to pursue the journey to continuous improvement and excellence.