CAF - Common Assessment Framework

CAF logo

The European model for improving public organisations through self-assessment


Quality public administration and its services are ultimately assessed by their impact on the quality of life for people. The purpose of the CAF model is to guide public organisations to reach the best possible outcomes.

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a total quality management model for self-assessment developed by the public sector for the public sector. The CAF is free of charge and available in the public domain to assist public sector organisations to improve their performance. It has been designed for use in all parts of the public sector, and it is applicable to national/federal, regional and local levels. Although the CAF has been developed in a European context, it can be used in any public organisation all around the world. 

The CAF belongs to the family of the total quality management (TQM) models and was originally inspired by the Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM®). It is a model for performance management acting as a ‘compass’ to help managers finding the paths to excellence. With its graphical representations it explains the cause/effect relation between organisational factors and performance results. 

The CAF is based on the premise that excellent results in organisational performance, citizens/customers, people and society are achieved through leadership driving strategy and planning, people, partnerships, resources and processes. It looks at the organisation from different angles at the same time: the holistic approach to performance analysis.

Structure of CAF

CAF brochure 2020 (PDF, 4 MB)

The new CAF2020 is the fifth version of the model. The core of the model is based on a proven CAF model that was launched in 2000. The CAF model has now been revised and fine-tuned in order to better respond to the development and evolutions in public management and society. The updates of this CAF2020 version mainly deal with digitalisation, agility, sustainability and diversity. 

History of CAF

Previous versions of CAF brochures:

CAF brochure 2013 (PDF, 0,2 MB)

CAF brochure 2006 (PDF, 0,05 MB)

CAF brochure 2002