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An Introduction to the European Common Assessment Framework (CAF). By Dario Quintavalle – Senior Executive Ministry of Justice, Italy Court Manager of the Surveillance Court of Rome. Introduction. What is CAF Why is good for us The PDCA cycle Enablers and results Scoring

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An introduction to the european common assessment framework caf

An Introduction to the European Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

By Dario Quintavalle –

Senior Executive

Ministry of Justice, Italy

Court Manager of the

Surveillance Court of Rome

Introduction (CAF)

  • What is CAF

  • Why is good for us

  • The PDCA cycle

  • Enablers and results

  • Scoring

  • The CAF trip

  • Exercise of self-assessment

Caf what is it
CAF, What is it? (CAF)

  • The CAF is an easy-to-use, free tool to assist public-sector organizations across Europe in using quality management techniques to improve their performance.

  • The CAF is a total quality management (TQM) tool

  • It is inspired by the major Total Quality models in general, and by the Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in particular. 

  • It is especially designed for public-sector organizations, taking into account their characteristics.

  • Its application to Justice were first experimented in the Surveillance Court of Rome.

Caf purposes
CAF purposes: (CAF)

  • To introduce public administrations to the principles of TQM and

  • gradually guide them, through the use and understanding of self-assessment, from the current “Plan-Do” sequence of activities to a full fledged “Plan-Do-Check-Act (PCDA)” cycle;

  • To facilitate the self-assessment of a public organization in order to arrive at a diagnosis and improvement actions;

  • To act as a bridge across the various models used in quality management;

  • To facilitate bench learning between public-sector organizations.

Key aims and principles of the caf

Aims (CAF)


A standard European approach

A process supported by a standard form

Assessment to support earlier intervention


Improve joint working and communication

Focuses on needs and strengths

Support the sharing of information

Simple and practical

Rationalise assessments

Empowering and a joint process

CAF cannot guarantee service provision

Key aims and principles of the CAF

Help improvement

Caf helps you
CAF helps you: (CAF)

  • Effective identification of the strengths of the organization and the areas where improvement is needed

  • Identification of relevant improvement actions

  • Increased level of awareness and communication throughout the organization

  • to make your people become aware and interested in quality issues

Total quality in the organization
Total Quality in the organization (CAF)

  • Quality of results = Quality of organization

  • Two management models

    • ISO 9000 (housekeeping - employees) “DO THINGS RIGHT”

    • TQM (continuous improvement - top management) “DO THE RIGHT THING”

An introduction to the european common assessment framework caf

An introduction to the european common assessment framework caf

  • PLAN: define objectives you want to achieve, considering your customers

  • DO: execute your plans, monitoring indicators

  • CHECK: assess your achievements, comparing them with your objectives. Success / failure

  • ACT: correct, revise, reconsider, improve, consolidate

  • = Heuristics: solve problems by learning and discovery

Key words
Key words (CAF)

  • Quality

  • Improvement

  • Communication (critical success factor)

  • Self-consciousness

  • Learning organization

Self assessment
Self - assessment (CAF)

  • “Check first: learn about yourself – Why?

  • Incentive your HR listening them

  • You get impressions, not only data

  • You focus on the citizen as a protagonist

  • You add value from existing competencies

  • You get info you could only get n a market system

Enablers results
Enablers / Results (CAF)


Plan, Do, Check

Emphasis on leadership
Emphasis on Leadership (CAF)

  • It is different from a managerial position

  • Manager: has defined responsibilities, operates in predictable environments, on a daily basis

  • Leader: a creative vision of the future, a driving force for change, a talent-scout, adds value to the whole ensemble

  • Involves, promotes, delegates

You always have a choice
You always have a choice… (CAF)

  • In public administrations, WHAT to do is defined by laws…

  • But it is up to you to decide HOW to do it

  • Focus on vision and mission

  • Attention to client and stakeholders’ needs

  • Translate into achievable goals and strategies

Other enablers
Other enablers (CAF)

  • Personnel: Your Human Resources, a hidden treasury (Internal Synergy)

  • Partnership: those who can help you and have interest in your success (External Synergy)

  • Processes: actions organized and finalized to a scope

Results (CAF)

  • Output: Processes deliver OUTPUTS.  In other words, what pops out of the end of a process is an output. Outputs are concrete and measurable.

  • Outcomes: Outputs are produced because there is a customer of the process who wants them.  Customers usually have expectations about both the process and the output (how they get what they want, and what they actually get).  An OUTCOME is a level of performance, or achievement.  It may be associated with the process, or the output.  Outcomes imply quantification of performance.

  • Impact: non-intended results

Results criteria
Results criteria (CAF)

  • Citizen-oriented

  • Personnel-oriented

  • Society-oriented

  • Key performance –oriented.

1 leadership
1. Leadership (CAF)

  • Assessment: Consider evidence of what the organization is doing to:

  • 1.1. Provide direction for the Court by developing its mission, vision and values.

  • 1.2 Develop and implement a system for the management of the Court organization, performance and change

  • 1.3. Motivate and support people in the Court and act as a role model

  • 1.4. Manage the relations with politicians and other stakeholders in order to ensure shared responsibility

2 strategy and planning
2. (CAF)Strategy and planning

  • Assessment: Consider evidence of what the organization is doing to:

  • 2.1. Gather information relating to the present and future needs of stakeholders

  • 2.2. Develop, review and update strategy and planning taking into account the needs of stakeholders and available resources.

  • 2.3. Implement strategy and planning in the whole organization

  • 2.4. Plan, implement and review modernization and innovation

3 people
3. People (CAF)

  • Assessment: Consider evidence on what the organization is doing to:

    3.1. Plan, manage and improve human

    resources transparently with regard to

    strategy and planning

    3.2. Identify, develop and use competencies

    of employees, aligning individual and

    organizational goals

    3.3. Involve employees by developing open

    dialogue and empowerment

3 people1
3. People (CAF)

  • Judges and Court Clerks: a pyramid or a team?

  • Respect, dialogue, empowerment: a safe and healthy environment

4 partnerships and resources
4: Partnerships and resources (CAF)

  • How the organization plans and manages its key partnerships?

  • 4.1. Develop and implement key partnership relations

  • 4.2. Develop and implement partnerships with the citizens/customers

  • 4.4. Manage information and knowledge

  • 4.3. Manage Finances

  • 4.5. Manage Technology

  • 4.6. Manage facilities

5 processes
5: Processes (CAF)

  • How the organization identifies, manages, improves and develops its key processes in order to support strategy and planning?

  • 5.1. Identify, design, manage and improve processes on an ongoing basis

  • 5.2. Develop and deliver citizen/customer oriented services and products

  • 5.3. Innovate processes involving citizens/customers

6 citizen customer oriented results
6. Citizen/customer-oriented (CAF)results

  • what results the organization has achieved to meet the needs and expectations of citizens and customers?

  • 6.1. Results of citizen/customer satisfaction measurements

  • 6.2. citizen/customer-orientation measurements

7 people hr results
7: People (HR) results (CAF)

  • What results the organization is achieving in relation to the competence, motivation, satisfaction and performance of its people.

  • 7.1. Results of people satisfaction and motivation measurements (welfare)

  • 7.2. Indicators of people results (satisfaction, productivity, skills development, mobility)

8 society results
8: Society results (CAF)

  • The results the Court is achieving in satisfying the needs and the expectations of the local community.

  • 8.1. Results perceived by the stakeholders (e.g.: reputation)

  • 8.2. Indicators of societal performance established by the Court (e.g.: amount of media coverage)

9 key performance results
9: Key performance results (CAF)

  • 9.1. External results: The results the Court is achieving with regard to the needs and demands of the different stakeholders

  • 9.2. Internal results: results the organization has achieved in relation to its management and improvement


  • IMPROVEMENT is the scope of CAF

  • The way to improve is self-assessment (check)

  • The output of a self-assessment process is to have a framework of WEAKNESSESS and CAUSES.

  • Scoring helps defining priorities

Results first
Results first! (CAF)

  • “Results”are objective data and have a quantitative measurement

  • Results are symptoms, the problem is in Enablers

How to score enablers1
How to score “Enablers” (CAF)

  • Choose the level that you have reached: Plan, Do, Check or Act.

  • Give a score between 0 and 100 according to the level that you have reached inside the phase. The scale on 100 allows you to specify the degree of deployment and implementation of the approach.

How to score results1
How to score “Results” (CAF)

  • Give a score between 0 and 100 for each sub criterion on a scale divided in 6 levels (corresponding to the results panel of the CAF 2002).

  • For each level, you can take into account either the TREND, either the ACHIEVEMENT of the target or both.

Note on scoring
Note on scoring… (CAF)

  • Pease note that this is the simplified 2002 scoring system. It is good to start.

  • A more sophisticated scoring system was defined in 2006

And now start the process…

1 start the trip
1. Start the trip…. (CAF)

  • Step 1 Decide how to organize and plan the self-assessment (SA)

  • Assure a clear management decision in consultation with the organization

  • Define the scope and the approach of the SA

  • Choose the scoring panel

  • Appoint a project leader

2 communicate
2. Communicate… (CAF)

  • Step 2 Communicate the self-assessment project

  • Define and implement a communication plan

  • Stimulate involvement of the staff in the SA

  • Communicate during the different phases to all the stakeholders

3 compose a group
3. Compose a group (CAF)

  • Step 3 Compose one or more self-assessment groups

  • Decide on the number of self assessment groups

  • Create a self assessment group that is relevant for the whole organization in all its aspects, respecting a set of criteria

  • Choose the chair of the group(s)

  • Decide if the manager should be part of the self-assessment group

4 training
4. training (CAF)

  • Step 4 Organize training

  • Organize information and training of the

  • management team

  • Organize information and training of the self assessment group

  • The project leader provides a list with all relevant documents

  • Define the key stakeholders, the products and services that are delivered and the key processes

5 do it
5. Do it! (CAF)

  • Step 5 Undertake the self-assessment

  • Undertake individual assessment

  • Undertake consensus in group

  • Score

6 8 report
6-8.… (CAF)

  • step 6 draw up a report describing the results of self-assessment

  • step 7 draft an improvement plan

  • step 8 communicate the improvement plan

9 10 and improve
9-10 …and improve! (CAF)

  • Step 9 Implement the improvement Plan

  • Define a consistent approach of monitoring and assessing the improvement actions, based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle

  • Appoint a responsible person for each action

  • Implement the appropriate management tools on a permanent basis

  • Step 10 Plan next self-assessment

  • Evaluate the improvement actions by a new self-assessment

More info on
More info on.. (CAF)

European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA)