role of European Resource Centre for CAF and announced its aims in this respect. In co-operation with the network of national CAF correspondents facilitated by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) and the University in Speyer, the CAF Resource Centre probated the implementation of the model in different ways and assessed its use. Nearly 900 European public organizations have used CAF in the period 2000 – 2005 to improve their organizations.
As it became clear CAF is based on the conception of EFQM’s Model. It uses the self-assessment tools and further develops the functional analysis with a view to rationalizing the activity of the structure but mainly focuses on the processes and results. Corrections were initiated in the criteria and sub-criteria which are typical of the public sector alone. To the present moment without being rejected or denied the EFQM Model, ISO, the so-called CAF is the only tool for quality assessment and improvement developed especially for the needs of Public Administration. What is typical of the EFQM Model and CAF is that the stimuli for organizational productivity increase include initiatives connected with education or the above mentioned benchmarking, i.e. good practices adoption.
It is known that CAF has four main purposes:
To introduce public administration to the principles of Total Quality Management 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 (PDCA)’ 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.
CAF is not a competitor of the other tools, it tries to integrate the most valuable of their mutual elements which are valid for public sector. Thus CAF is especially designed for public-sector organizations, taking into account the characteristics of the mission, functions and organizational and structural medium of Public Administration.
Self-assessment made through CAF is a less strict process compared with the EFQM Excellence Model or ISO. The advantages in using CAF as an introductory tool are the following: it is comparably easy-to-use assessment tool, it requires shorter introductory time, fewer resources are needed and it uses one and the same language for the organizations that strive to achieve its standards. As a self-assessment tool it includes the employees themselves and facilitates them to present their points of view.
Self-assessment and improvement of public organizations are very difficult to be done without exchange of reliable information between the different functions in the organization. CAF stimulates public sector organizations to gather and use information but often information is missing during the first self-assessment. CAF points out the areas in which it is important to start the measurement. The better one organization is making a progress in its continuous improvement more internal and external information it will gather and manage.
One of the compulsory elements of CAF is the score system. Although the most important self-assessment results are: finding out the strong points and areas for improvement and the corresponding activities for improvement, the organizations sometimes focus too much on scores.
As a whole there is a reason to make the conclusion that the use of CAF to improve public services quality is increasing and it is promoted in all EU Member States. For the time being in Bulgaria the tool for quality management is recommended to be used in administration departments; the main reason for the local and central state authorities to