Quality Management in the Public Administration through CAF

ESF 4.159 – Developing Quality Management in the Public Administration through CAF

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The Commission’s main Thematic Objectives are set out in Article 9 of the Common Strategic Framework. Each common strategic framework contributes to the Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Such objectives may be translated into specific priorities to each common strategic framework fund.

The European Commission believes that the respective member states should continuously improve the environment for their businesses, citizens and stakeholders by means of the modernization of public administration.

The chosen project falls within the 11th Thematic Objective that seeks the enhancing of institutional capacity and efficient public administration through stronger institutional capacity and more efficient public administration supported the European Social Fund (ESF).


In total the amount of ESF funds allocated to this project amount to a total of three hundred and thirteen thousand, three hundred and seventy euros. The central objective is that of strengthening efficiency and effectiveness of the public administration through lifelong learning and innovative activities.

These are the main funding information including the total amount of allocated funds and the areas of intervention.


Through such investment economic improvement is one of the main drivers. This will be achieved from better business environment and other societal and economic impacts of the subject stakeholders.

The EU Commission will specifically assess:

The needs of stakeholders in order to improve the delivery through quality management systems, and;
That there is also a set of actions, referring to the establishment and use of already set quality management systems in a sustainable way.


Before the implementation of this project, the situation within the Maltese Public Administration was characterised by limited use of quality management systems. Nevertheless, elements such as the CAF, customer care and redress, online portals, service charters, directives and guidelines, eGovernment, one stop shop, Local Councils (as an alternative delivery channel), partnerships with NGOs and capacity building only existed to a limited extent.

This project seeks to develop the skills and competences of public officers in the application of the CAF and central competencies within the Management Efficiency Unit (MEU). This would be achieved through training and networking of CAF users and experts.

This also leads to commitment that improves the public service delivery through burden reduction of regulation and administrative procedures, quality assurance and control. Service delivery would increasingly become professional, fair, transparent and outcome-oriented. Service users would also be able to choose from channels of delivery which should be as close as possible to them.

For such achievements the MEU would become a centre of excellence as regards the CAF. It would be able to strengthen the public sector in CAF implementation and the management of certification in order to ensure long term-sustainability.

To obtain such objectives, adoption of better practices, maximizing of partnership synergies, leverage technology and the pursuing of corporate social responsibility are essential tools.


The CAF model is mainly based on 3 pillars that are; Structure, Process, Outcome.

Structure (or Leadership) holds that;
CAF is based on 2 key elements that are: Enablers and Results and that;
Each enabler and result is further broken down into key sub-criteria
Process holds that;
CAF is rooted on a team’s view of the position of an organisation at a particular point in time and that;
CAF nurtures a continuous improvement mindset within an organisation
Outcome holds that;
Benefits for the organization’s stakeholders, image and reputation


Assessment of the achievement of desired achieved goals is done through the PDCA cycle. Basically this cycle observes the;

Initiation of the project such as the:
Planning and organization of the process and
Communication within the organisation
Carrying out of self-assessment such as the:
Setting up of the self assessment team
Training and data gathering and
Self assessment
Planning and execution of improvements includes:
Prioritization and planning
Communication of the improvement plan ad
Periodic review of the project

(SLIDE 9 and 10)

Scoring of sub-criteria is based on the PDCA cycle which typically takes between 6 to 10 weeks depending on the complexity and scale of the issue at stake.

The 6 main criteria for fulfillment under conditionality 11 will achieve results into 3 main areas, which are of a Societal, Citizen and Workforce nature. All achievements lead to further economic efficiency within the subject organisation. Societal, Citizen/Consumer, and People/Workforce benefits will be achieved:

Societal improvements include:
Improvement in quality of life
Adaptation to trends
Proactive holistic approach
Stakeholder engagement
Citizen improvements include:
Faster delivery
Improved service level
Cost-efficient operations
Image and reputation
Workforce improvements include:
Motivated workforce
Role clarity and involvement
Improved commitment to mission
Better resource utilisation
Reduced skill gaps

(SLIDE 11)

4 key strategic objectives form the core of this project:

CAF as Quality Management System (QMS): that Promotes and implements the CAF as the Maltese Public Administration’s first choice of quality management system
It is anticipated that strategic initiative to attain this strategic objective include but are not necessarily limited to: further roll out of CAF within Government; providing implementation support, enablement and capacity to Department and Government Entities implementing CAF; once a critical mass of Departments and Government Entities have adopted CAF, a quality award is introduced to recognize achievement; sharpening the focus on results and outcome orientation; and introducing CAF in education and justice sectors.
Partnerships: that Strengthen partnership development and management between the Maltese Public Administration and its stakeholders
It is anticipated that strategic initiatives to attain this strategic objective include but are not necessarily limited to: providing guidance and building capacity in partnership development and management; developing further strategic partnerships in various sectors; extending consultation to service design; sustaining and improving on corporate social responsibility; strengthening a proactive information policy; and developing a corporate identity kit for the Public Administration. There are all areas where citizens, service users, and stakeholders can act together in co-design, co-decision making, co-production and co-evaluation.
Services/Processes: Improves the way services and associated business processes operate and innovate within the Public administration
It is anticipated that strategic initiative to attain this strategic objective include but are not necessarily limited to: improving and innovating services and channels in use within the Public Administration; developing capacity to implement business management; further supporting business processes with ICT; better records management; maximizing citizen/customer suggestion and complaints system; and introducing systematic citizen/customer satisfaction measurement.
People: Develops the capabilities of the Public Administration workforce in customer service, partnership development and quality management systems
It is anticipated that strategic initiative to attain this strategic objective include but are not necessarily limited to: sharpening the focus on performance management to ensure accessibility, transparency, quality of service delivery, involvement; training and development of Public employees in the required toolkit; and introducing climate and culture perception surveys with staff.

(SLIDE 12)

Current state-of-play:

The adoption of a quality management framework would build on these efforts and works towards a more consistent approach to continuous improvement. CAF is a core tool to achieve sustainable excellence in all performance aspects. Actions are based on the premise that excellent results with respect to performance, customers, people and society are achieved through leadership driving policy and strategy, that is delivered through people partnerships, resources, processes and change management.

Unlike various other quality management models CAF is specifically targeted for public administration and is capable of capturing unique features of government organisations, holds a high degree of flexibility and may be used n a wide variety of circumstances.

For this reason, CAF plays an enormous role in Malta’s National Reform Programme under the Europe 2020 strategy. By the adoption and promotion of CAF, the MEU would be increasing its level of self-assessment. MEU also aims to become the Maltese centre of expertise through the strengthening of its in-house capacity.

(SLIDE 13)

Three types of training that have been delivered by the European Institute of Public Administration in Mata include:

A Specialised Training Programme in CAF delivered by CAF experts to 14 members (out of a total of around 20) of MEU staff;
A CAF Model Training Programme delivered by CAF experts to 6 groups of public officials; and
Training on the Procedure on External Feedback and the CAF Label Training Programme delivered to members of MEU staff and public officials in the public sector.

154 civil servants were trained in the TQM approach for the public sector to obtain knowledge on relevant concepts of quality development from a holistic perspective the content of quality instrument that have been used successfully over the past decade in many public sector organisations in many countries and the adequate processes of implementation.

Additionally, a group of experts was also trained in the Procedure of External Feedback, assuring qualitative progress in future organisational development.

A CAF website has also been created.

3 CAF user organisations in Malta and Gozo have also been registered. Each after successfully completing a cycle of CAF assessment and implementation. (These are the Gozo Public Library, the Food Safety Unit and the Gozo Sports complex.) These users were also made subject to the process of concluding their second self-assessment, which would lead them to achieve the CAF Label certification. It should also be noted that the CAF Label Certification is valid for 2 years and thus each government entity would have to be assessed and certified every two years.

Other 5 public organisations including Appogg and Sedqa have engaged in CAF towards excellence with the assistance of the MEU.

(SLIDE 14)

SERVIZZ.GOV portal is an online portal whereby citizens can complain with Local Councils and entities. There are pre-set timeframes for closure of the complaint, typically 10 or 20 days depending on the subject case. A significant percentage of complains are anonymous and some 95% of cases originate from Local Councils.

MEU developed an in-house data warehouse to analyse trends and responsiveness. Overall, Local Council and entity responsiveness are analysed. MEU also monitors customer complaints performance regularly and validates closure on a sample basis.

CUSTOMER CARE and REDRESS. All line ministries have customer care officers within their organisational structures. There are also administrative customer care officers within designated Directories within Ministries which route complaint resolution and monitor complaint closure. The major regulatory authorities, Departments and Government entities have various forms of customer care offices in operation. Training to Customer Care officers has been provided by the MEU and the CDRT/OPM.

Redress mechanisms available include the office of the Ombudsman, Tribunals and the Law Courts.

QUALTY SERVICE CHARTERS. Charters spell out the rights of citizens as customers of a Public Service and specify the quality of service that can be expected. A department holding a charter will commit itself to stated performance targets; typically on waiting times, quality of product, courtesy and information provided. Charters also explain how to lodge complaints.

In the light of government commitments, it is the opinion of the MEU that it is worth revising the Quality Service Charter initiative to reflect the changing times and resources of the Public Administration. However, such initiative should be as simple as possible, by monitored and audited regularly by third parties, independent of the servicing Department such as the IAID (i.e. for auditing purposes).

ONE STOP SHOPS. Business First one-stop-shops run by Malta Enterprise since the beginning of 2012 with only 5% of total number of applications not being delivered within the prescribed deadline. The Malta Financial Services Authority can register a limited liability company within 48 hours provided the correct documentation is submitted.

Local Councils are seen as the key means to move Public Services closer to citizens and service users. They already offer a range of community services. However, more work needs to be done to bring the most-frequently-used Public Services within the locality.

(SLIDE 15)

Through all these actions this project will lead to significant economic results. It has been calculated that around 70% of the total candidate organisations will benefit from an average of a 20% improvement that mainly includes economic efficiency. Stakeholders within the public administration do not only include private citizens but also the state itself. As a result the State will benefit from lesser deficits.

(SLIDE 16 and 17)

An analysis highlighting the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats resulting from this project has also been done. Some of the main positive aspects are the better acquired knowledge about the tapping of EU funds, increased employment and the reduction of cost and administrative burdens. However, challenges such as new social risks and fiscal consolidation should still be studied and dealt with.

CAF helps the Government in creating and maintaining the best possible environment in which Malta’s economy could sustainably grow. Government would be able to create a sense of peace of mind in which, through transparency and less red tape economic operators will know where they stand. It is vital that pointless bureaucracy does not lead to extra costs that weigh down enterprises and hamper economic growth.

Further economic growth will be achieved through investment in infrastructure and the productive capabilities of the country, the skills of the workforce and more workers who enter the labour market.