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Common Assessment Framework (CAF)     Print

Common Assessment Framework
The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is an easy-to-use, free tool to assist public-sector organisations across Europe in using quality management techniques to improve performance. The CAF provides a self-assessment framework which is conceptually similar to the major Total Quality models, in particular the Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), but which is especially designed for public-sector organisations, taking into account their characteristics.


The CAF has four main purposes:

  1. To introduce public administrations to the principles of Total Quality Management (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;
  2. To facilitate the self-assessment of a public organisation in order to arrive at a diagnosis and improvement actions;
  3. To act as a bridge across the various models used in quality management;
  4. To facilitate bench-learning between public-sector organisations.


The CAF is a result of co-operation among the EU Ministers responsible for Public Administration. It is jointly developed under the aegis of the Innovative Public Services Group (IPSG), a working group of national experts set up by the Directors-General (DG) in order to promote exchanges and cooperation where it concerned innovative ways of modernizing government and public service delivery in EU Member States.

CAF model

Main characteristics

Using the CAF provides an organisation with a powerful framework to initiate a process of continuous improvement. The CAF provides:

  • an assessment based on evidence, against a set of criteria which has become widely accepted across the public sector in Europe;
  • opportunities to identify progress and outstanding levels of achievement;
  • a means to achieve consistency of direction and consensus on what needs to be done to improve an organisation;
  • a link between the different results to be achieved and supportive practices or enablers;
  • a means to create enthusiasm among employees by involving them in the improve­ment process; 
  • opportunities to promote and share good practice within different areas of an organisation and with other organisations;
  •  a means to integrate various quality initiatives into normal business operations;
  • a means of measuring progress over time through periodic self-assessment.



Dutch Gemeenschappelijke Zelfevaluatiekader voor Overheidsdiensten
French Cadre d'Auto-évalaution de la Fonction Publique (CAF)

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