Disseminating CAF in Denmark

- The Story of the ”KVIK Project”

Disseminating CAF in Denmark: The Story of the ”KVIK Project”

With the introduction of the new and improved Common Assessment Framework (CAF) 2002, during the 2nd Quality Conference for Public Administrations in the EU in October in Denmark, an attractive supplement to the EFQM Excellence Model had been provided. This model seemed especially relevant to organisations with little or no experience in the field of self-assessment.

Disseminating CAF for Danish institutions took its starting point in 2002. It was included in the Modernising Government Programme by the Ministry of Finance – and the Center for Human Resource Development and Quality Management (SCKK) was made responsible for the practical implementation. It was clear, even at an early stage, that dissemination of CAF was not just to produce a Danish version of the CAF-Guidelines and then expect the users to find their way from there.

Dissemination strategy

The dissemination strategy had a number of central components:

·  Active co-operation and co-ownership between representatives of management and employees at the state level was of core concern for the project. This also explains why active dialogue is such a prominent element in the Danish version of CAF.

·  An experimental approach was deliberately chosen. Tools and methods were tested and debated on an on-going basis – in order to learn how to best meet the needs of organisations with little or no experience in the field of quality management.

·  CAF and the Excellence Model have not been launched as competing models – but rather as ”family members” meeting the needs of different target groups. KVIK/CAF is promoted as the most relevant self-assessment tool for organisations with little or no experience regarding self-assessment. Organisations wishing to perform self-assessment on a permanent basis (annually or bi-annually) can continue with KVIK/CAF. But if they wish to be further challenged regarding the links of the model and use a more sophisticated scoring tool, the Excellence Model is still considered the best tool.

·  The name ”KVIK” was chosen to promote CAF in Denmark. In Danish KVIK means quick or fast, and the name therefore gives positive connotations that this is a tool that could be used quick and effectively. Concerns were given to the fact that the international “branding” is lost by using this name. But we fund it more important to create an appealing product, and then later surprising the users, by telling are actually taking part in a pan-European effort.

Main Activities

Three types of activities have been part of the KVIK Project:

1.  First and foremost the development of tools and guidelines to support self-assessment. These include:
A) Guidelines for self-assessment. More emphasis has been put on the explanation of the self-assessment process, the assessment panels and the concrete examples to support the explanation of the sub-criteria in CAF. Included is also a self-assessment booklet to be used for the individual self-assessment asking the individual to document strengths and areas of improvement for each of the sub-criteria and award a score based on the assessment panels. The guidelines have been developed in close co-operation with the 11 pilot organisations.
B) An online tool to be used for compiling the individual scores and providing the KVIK co-ordinator (or moderator) with a coherent document including all individual scores and evidence as input for the consensus dialogue.
C) A DVD on the self-assessment process documenting the experiences of two organisations as they undergo the phases of self-assessment. This DVD is intended as a way to give management and the Joint Co-operation Committee a realistic idea of what it actually entails to carry out self-assessment.

2.  Secondly SCKK has supported the formation of 6 learning circles, where organisations share knowledge on how to carry out improvement projects within 4 themes: Strategy, HRM, Working Processes (x2) and Measuring(x2).

3.  Finally for the time being a process of development and conceptualisation of the tools and methods used in the learning circles is taking place in order to make these available on a more general basis to organisations not participating in learning circles.

Lessons Learned:

·  It takes a lot of time and resources to follow a very co-operative approach. Organisations who take a great effort in involving a large number of employees in the process have better results than the organisation with more modest involvement. This proves that a lot of valuable knowledge lies in the mind of the people at the workplace, and that it takes a structured process to bring that knowledge into play in the development of the organisation.

·  We are not able to control the interest and the willingness of organisations to perform self-assessment. It is still sometimes a mystery why a certain organisation suddenly finds the motivation and resources to perform self-assessment, whereas others never seem to come around.

·  We have also come to realize that training is a central issue regarding CAF application. Self-assessment is a complex process and some kind of training or instruction will be relevant to most organisations. This could be done by use of do-it-yourself tools (which we have already developed) or traditional training (where we are currently considering if it is relevant to assist in the development of training opportunities).

·  Finally it is increasingly clear to us - and our partners - that self-assessment is a unique opportunity to gain overview of the overall strengths and areas of improvement of the organisation. It should not be marketed as just another project but rather the platform of all organisational development.

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