CAF Open Day in Serbia: A multitude of Serbian public institutions converge towards excellence and better public services
Novi Sad, Serbia
By collaborating and partnering, ReSPA and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) brought together over 50 representatives from Serbian public administration institutions to get acquainted and explore the benefits of implementing the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and Performance Evaluation Framework (PEF) procedures. Distinguished guests from partner international organizations such as OECD SIGMA, Austrian KDZ, and EIPA, along with representatives from prominent public institutions in the region, shared their perspectives and experiences regarding the use of CAF as the most suitable model for Quality Management (QM) in public administration, contributing to overall institutional performance and, importantly, improving the quality of services for citizens and businesses.
"We are witnessing a growing interest in QM within our region, and the current event is a clear reflection of this trend. With steadfast support from MPALSG and our esteemed partners, we aim to inspire public institutions in Serbia to embrace the CAF. The Regional Quality Management Center of ReSPA has successfully implemented CAF in nine institutions, training over 300 employees who now apply CAF principles. Additionally, six PEF Procedures have been initiated, resulting in two organizations awarding a CAF certificate from which we will today one deliver organization from Serbia, while still two procedures are currently underway in Serbian organizations. ReSPA remains available to assist institutions from Serbia and the region in implementing CAF and PEF procedures, aligning with our available resources and plans. Our collective efforts are dedicated to the well-being of our citizens, and we are committed to making tangible progress for their benefit," emphasised ReSPA Director Maja Handjiska–Trendafilova at the opening.
Čedomir Rakić, State Secretary, MPALSG highlighted “The Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, responsible for public administration reform, is actively coordinating the implementation of the CAF model for quality standards in public administration across Serbia. In alignment with the current Public Administration Reform Strategy, we have specifically identified the need to enhance the quality and modernization of our institutions for the benefit of citizens and the economy. The goal is to introduce a quality management model within the domestic administration to assist authorities, guiding continuous improvement in the efficiency, effectiveness of work, and delivery of better services. Starting from 2023, the CAF model has been implemented in eight institutions within the Republic of Serbia. Emphasizing one of the core principles of CAF, which encourages leading by example in the realm of quality, I am pleased to share that the Self-Assessment Team of the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government has observed, through practical experience, how this model significantly contributes to strengthening strategic planning and the implementation of policies and programs.
During the event, ReSPA awarded the "Effective CAF User" certificate to the Agency for Peaceful Settlement of Labour Disputes of Serbia, marking it as the second institution in the Western Balkans and the pioneering one in Serbia to receive this prestigious recognition of excellence. Ivica Lazović, the Director of the Agency, expressed their pride in being the first in Serbia to attain this prestigious award: "This certificate recognizes the Agency's commitment to attaining excellence in business processes, enhancing work quality, and delivering improved services to citizens and the economy. We take great pride in being the pioneers in Serbia to be honoured with this prestigious award, which serves as both an obligation and a motivation for us to strive for progress continually. We invite colleagues from other institutions in Serbia and the region, particularly larger ones with more complex internal structures such as ministries, to implement CAF, an excellent and efficient QM tool".
Elevating the standard of service delivery is a fundamental aspect of modern, effective and efficient public administration, which prioritises user-centric approaches and delivers high-quality, easily accessible services both online and offline to all individuals and businesses. The Regional Quality Management Centre (RQMC) of ReSPA responds to the regional needs and demand for deploying expertise and services in implementing PAR strategic processes related to Quality Management. These services range from applying and institutionalising CAF projects to building the critical mass of knowledge on quality management among civil servants in the Western Balkans to implementing PEF procedure for awarding prestigious CAF Effective User Label to the organisations which, by using CAF, achieved the advanced level of good governance.
Evolving into a hub for excellence in Quality Management within the public administration of the Western Balkans, RQMC introduced CAF in nine institutions and initiated or completed six projects of the PEF procedure across the region. More than 30 external CAF evaluators were trained to conduct PEF Procedures and 25 on the CAF model. At the same time, national CAF correspondents are being ensured to participate in the CAF EU network, promoting knowledge exchange and facilitating learning opportunities.
"This event will not only contribute to a better understanding of CAF as a QM model but also, we believe, to its broader application in Serbia. Additionally, it underscores the significance of QM as a guarantee for reforming public administration in alignment with the PAR in Serbia and adhering to EU standards of good governance. Both are centred on providing quality services tailored to the needs of users. This gathering has shed light on practical and valuable insights into the advantages of implementing CAF and, consequently, the PEF. With this in mind, we are confident that this initiative will act as a catalyst, encouraging more Serbian public institutions to opt for CAF implementation. Ultimately, we believe this collective effort will have a positive ripple effect, resulting in improved public services for the people of Serbia, who are users of public administration services," emphasized Olivera Damjanović, ReSPA Programme Manager.
CAF (Common Assessment Framework) is a specially developed EU model for quality management in public administration. It serves as a self-assessment tool used collaboratively by management and employees to analyse strengths and areas for improvement, with the ultimate goal of achieving excellent results and impacting users, citizens, and society. The CAF certificate is awarded for three years, and according to the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) data, the CAF quality system is employed by only about 4,000 organisations worldwide.
Performance Evaluation Framework (PEF) procedures lead to the awarding of the "CAF Effective User" Certificate to interested institutions and organisations in the Western Balkans public administration institutions. It provides external feedback on the level of CAF implementation and aims to support CAF users in their journey towards Excellence.