Glossary

From CAF Network

 

GlossaryDefinition
AccessibilityThe accessibility of public facilities is a key requirement for equal access to public services and high quality of service. Well accessible organisations can be characterised by following aspects: accessibility with public transport, disabled access, opening and waiting times, one-stopshops, using understandable language etc. Digital accessibility is also included,e.g. barrier-free websites.
AccountabilityAccountability is the obligation to answer for responsibilities that have been conferred and accepted,and to report on the utilisation and management of entrusted resources. The people who accept accountability are responsible for answering questions and reporting on resources and operations that are under their control to those who have to hold accountability, so both parts have their duties.
Action planA document containing a plan of tasks, allocation of responsibilities, goals for the implementation of the project (e.g. targets/deadlines) and resources needed (e.g. hours, money).
Agile mindsetAn agile mindset is a mindset that can truly understand the changes brought about by digitalisation and translate them into appropriate actions. Key elements of an agile mindset are:
  • Collective intelligence surpasses individual services.
  • Errors are understood as a learning opportunity.
  • Perfection is not required from the beginning.
  • Customer benefits are the focus.
  • Collaborative learning with the customer is part of the approach.
An agile mindset is thus an attitude as well as an innovative approach to problem solving that can push forward public administration reforms in the age of digitisation. An agile mindset is required at both management and staff level.
AgilityAgility refers to the ‘ability of an organisation to rapidly respond to change by adapting its initial stable configuration’. This practice helps to rapidly adapt to market and environmental changes in productive and cost-effective ways. This ability can be achieved through innovative methods such as scrum, kanban, lean, design thinking as well as supporting an ‘agile mindset’ on management and staff levels through customised training.
AppraisalPerformance appraisal needs to be understood in the management context. Usually, the management system of an organisation will include the assessment of individual employees’ job performance. This practice helps to monitor the departmental and overall organisational performance by aggregating the individual performance at different management levels within the organisation.


The personal appraisal interview between the individual employee and their line manager is the most common way for appraisal to be carried out. During the interview, in addition to an appraisal of performance, other aspects of the individual’s employment can be assessed including level of job knowledge and competences from which training needs can be identified. In a TQM approach, the PDCA, based on continuous improvement, is used at the individual level: PLAN the job for the coming year, DO the job, CHECK your outcomes during the performance appraisal interview and ACT if necessary for the next year: the objectives, the means and the competences. There are several ways to increase the objectivity of performance appraisal:

  • The upward appraisal where managers are evaluated by employees directly reporting to them.
  • The 360 degrees appraisal where managers are evaluated from different points of views: general managers, peers, collaborators and customers.
Artificial intelligenceAI is the ability of a computer program to think and learn. It is also a field of study which tries to make computers ‘smart’. An AI system can also acquire, represent and manipulate knowledge. This manipulation concerns the ability to deduce or infer new knowledge from existing knowledge and to use representation and manipulation methods to solve complex problems.
AuditAuditing is an independent appraisal function to examine and evaluate the activities of an organisation and its results. The most common audits are: financial audit, operational audit, ICT audit, compliance audit and management audit. Three levels of auditing control activity can be distinguished:
  • Internal control, which is carried out by management.
  • Internal auditing by an independent unit of the organisation. In addition to compliance/regulation activities it may also have a role in controlling the effectiveness of the organisations internal management.
  • External auditing, performed by an independent body from outside the organisation.
  • AutomationCitizens’ expectations of the public administration are high in times of digitalisation. They want services that are available at all times, meet individual citizens’needs and offer fast services. In order to meet the expectations of the citizens and to reduce their own expenditure of time as well as to quickenthe internal processing time, the comprehensive automation of the processes in public administration is an indispensable prerequisite. In addition, automation is essential in order to advance digitalisation.


    Automation in the public sector therefore deals with the question of which tasks and services can be provided automatically, without human interference (e.g. data processing, automatic application).
    Balanced scorecardThe balanced scorecard (BSC) is a whole of quantitative measurements evaluating to what extent the organisation succeeds in achievingits mission and strategic objectives. These measurements are built up around four viewpoints: innovation and learning (people management), internal processes, customers and financial management. The indicators of each approach are linked to each other through a cause–effect relationship. These relationships are based on hypothesises that have to be monitored permanently.


    The BSC is also very useful as a communication tool for management to inform the people in the organisation and the stakeholders to what extent the strategic plan has been achieved. The balanced scorecard is increasingly used in the public sector in Europe. It should be noted that the balanced scorecard can be used within the CAF assessment.
    BenchlearningBenchmarking in European Public Administrations usually focuses on the learning aspects and is now more commonly referred to as ‘benchlearning’, as learning how to improve through sharing knowledge, information and sometimes resources. It is recognised as an effective way of introducing organisational change. It reduces risks, is efficient and saves time.
    BenchmarkingThis is a measured achievement at a high level (sometimes referred to as ‘best-in-class’see best/good/inspiring practice below); a reference or measurement standard for comparison; or a performance level which is recognised as the standard of excellence for a specific process. There are numerous definitions of benchmarking but the key words associated with benchmarking are ‘to make comparison with others‘. ‘Benchmarking is simply about making comparisons with other organisations and then learning the lessons that those comparisons reveal’ (Source: European Benchmarking Code of Conduct).
    Best practiceThese involve superior performances, methods or approaches that lead to exceptional achievement. Best practice is a relative term and sometimes indicates innovative or interesting business practices, which have been identified through benchmarking. As with benchmarking it is preferable to talk about ‘good practice’ or ‘inspiring practice’ since one cannot be sure that there is not a better one.
    Big dataData is considered to be the raw material of the twenty-first century. Big data companies as well as states are expecting new impulses for economic growth and public value. Big data is characterised through three central features: data volume, data diversity and data speed. Due to the progressive digitalisation of almost all areas of society, the amount of fundamentally available data is increasing. Big data analytics provide versatile insights e.g. in the field of public safety (‘prospective policyanalysis’), services of general interest, education, and social and innovation policy.
    Bottom-upThe direction of the flow of, for example, information or decisions from lower levels of an organisation to higher levels is known as ‘bottom-up’. The opposite is top-down.
    BrainstormingThis is used as a teamworking tool to generate ideas without constraints in a short period of time. The most important rule is to avoid any kind of criticism during the ideas production phase.
    Budgetary transparencyThe idea of opening up the budget basically pursues the aim of providing comprehensive, understandable, comprehensible and freely accessible information on public budgets via the Internet. To reach higher budgetary/financial transparency efforts are made in the publication of budget documents, open budget initiatives (www.openspending.org), networking and appealing visualisation of financial data up to the involvement of citizens in household processes (inform, comment, discuss, participate).
    Business process re-engineeringThe idea of BPR is to completely redesign the process, which creates opportunities for making a big leap forward or for accomplishing an important breakthrough. Once this new process has been implemented, there can be a return to searching for ways to make gradual continual improvements to optimise the process.
    Change managementChange management involves both generating the needed changes in an organisation, usually preceded by modernisation and reform agendas, and mastering the dynamics of change by organising, implementing and supporting the change.


    Effective change management requires strong leadership, transparent communication and clear structures. Therefore a mix of different instruments and approaches is needed to stimulate change efforts, and set and execute change goals e.g. project management, innovation circles, change ambassadors, benchmarking and benchlearning, pilotprojects, monitoring, reporting and implementing PDCA.
    CitizenThe term citizen/customer is used to emphasise the dual relationship between the public administration on the one hand, the users of public services, and on the other hand, all the members of the public, who as citizens and taxpayers have a stake in the services and their outputs.
    Co-DecisionCo-decision refers to questions of involvement of citizens and clients in decision-making processes of public administrations. Examples range from citizen participation procedures in the areas of townscape design, preparing infrastructure decisions, to issues of preparing public spending decisions.
    Co-DesignCo-design is the framework for involving citizens and customers in (further) development of public services. Examples of this are innovation workshops, design-thinking workshops and structured feedback loops, which record the feedback from citizens and customers in a structured manner and make them useful for the further development of service processes.
    Co-EvaluationCitizens express themselves on the quality of public policy and on the services they receive.
    Co-ProductionCitizens are involved in the production and/or delivery cycle of services and their quality.
    CoachingCoaching is used as target-oriented and solution-oriented advice and support for specialists and executives. The aim is to further develop their relationship and leadership qualities in particular and to adapt it to changed occupational circumstances. Coaching serves primarily to achieve self-willed, realistic goals that are relevant to the development of the client. The emphasis is on the promotion of self-reflection and self-awareness.
    Code of conductThese are rules, guidelines or standards of behaviour for individuals, professional groups, teams or organisations. Codes of conduct may also apply to specific activities, such as auditing or benchmarking and often refer to ethical standards.
    CompetenceCompetences include the knowledge, skills and attitudes of an individual used in practice in a job situation. When an individual is able to carry out a task successfully they are regarded as having reached a level of competence.
    Complaints managementComplaints management refers to the systematic handling of customer complaints. The objectives of complaint management are to optimise citizen/customer relationships and ensure quality assurance.
    ComplianceThe term compliance can be defined as the act of adhering to or conforming to a law, rule, demand or request. In a business environment, conforming to the laws, regulations, rules and policies is the part of business operations often referred to as ‘corporate compliance’.
    Conflict of interestA conflict of interest in the public sector refers to a conflict between the public duty and the private interest of a public official, in which a public official’s private capacity interest could improperly influence the performance of their official duties (e.g. secondary employment, possible bias, acceptance of gifts). Even if there is no evidence of improper actions, a conflict of interest can create an appearance of impropriety that can undermine confidence in the ability of that person to act properly.
    ConsensusAs the word implies this is about reaching agreement and usually follows an initial self-assessment when individual assessors get together to compare and discuss their individual assessments and individual scores. The process usually ends with individual assessors reaching agreement with a combined overall score and assessment for the organisation.
    Consensus reportThis report describes the results of self-assessment and must include strengths and areas of improvement for the organisation. It may also contain (optional) proposals for improvement in some key projects.
    Continuous improvement processThis is the ongoing improvement of the organisation in terms of quality, economy or cycle time. The involvement of all stakeholders of an organisation is normally a prerequisite in this process.
    ControllingControlling is an important function of the management system whose core task is planning, guiding and control of all organisational areas. In practice, controlling issues are distinguished between operational controlling and strategic controlling.

    Operational controlling is responsible for managing the budget and ensures that the public organisation is economically successful.

    Strategic controlling analyses the political, legal, demographic, technical, social, environmental and other frameworks so the public organisation can be sure that the products it produces meet the requirements and is able to respond to changes in demand.
    Corporate social responsibilityCorporate social responsibility is a commitment by private and public sector organisations to contribute to sustainable development working with employees, their families, local communities and society at large to improve the quality of life. The aim is to bring benefits both for organisations and the wider society.
    Cost accountingCost accounting is a central area of internal accounting where costs are recorded, allocated across budget headings (for example services and products) and evaluated for special purposes. Cost accounting systems show at what cost public services are produced. The results of cost accounting provide important inputs for performance measurement systems.
    Critical success factorThis relates to the prior conditions that must be fulfilled in order that an intended strategic goal can be achieved. It highlights those key activities or results where satisfactory performance is essential for an organisation to succeed.
    CrowdfundingCrowdfunding is the practice of funding a projector venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the Internet.
    CybersecurityCybersecurity is the protection of Internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data from cyber attacks. In a computing context, security comprises cybersecurity and physical security –both are used by enterprises to protect against unauthorised access to data centres and other computerised systems.
    Data privacyThis aspect of information technology (IT) deals with the ability of an organisation or individual to determine what data in a computer system can be shared with third parties.
    Data protectionThe process to help identify and minimise the data protection risks of data processing that is likely to result in a high risk to individuals has to be assessed carefully. To ensure compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union a Data Protection Impact Assessment is recommended which identifies and assesses risks for individuals.


    A data protection officer (DPO) is a security role required by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Data protection officers are responsible for overseeing an organisation’s data protection strategy and its implementation to ensure compliance with GDPR requirements.
    Design thinkingThis refers to the cognitive, strategic and practical processes by which design concepts (proposals for new products, buildings, machines, etc.) are developed by designers and/or design teams. Design thinking is aimed at helping the public sector to develop practical and innovative solutions to daily problems.
    DigitalisationDigitalisation in a technical description is the process of converting analogue information into digital and computer readable data. Due to the rapid development of computer technology, Internet and social media digitalisation is changing society, business and public service delivery in many areas. Public sector organisations have to prepare their employees using the power of digitalisation to solve current problems or find new and more effective ways of service delivery. Measures in these areas can be defining a digitalisation strategy, training, guidelines for data protection, appointment of data protection officers etc.

    Digital competences refer to the confident and critical usage of the full range of digital technologies for information, communication and basic problem solving.

    Digital transformation and innovation refer to a process of adopting digital tools and methods by an organisation, typically those that have either not been including the digital factor as part of their core activities or have not kept up with the pace of change in digital technologies. The practice of digital transformation in the public sector must also consider the public purpose and involve additional factors of ownership and retentionof public data (especially identity), data security and privacy, digital service accessibility for everyone and public digital literacy.
    DiversityDiversity relates to differences. It may refer to values, attitudes, culture, philosophy or religious convictions, knowledge, skills, experience and lifestyle between groups, or individuals within a group. It may also be on the basis of gender, national or ethnic origin, disability or age. In public administration a diverse organisation would be considered to be one which reflects the society and different needs of the customers and stakeholders it serves.
    E-governmentE-government is one aspect of digitalisation - the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in public administrations. Combined with organisational change and new skills, it helps to improve public services and democratic processes and also strengthens support to public policies. E-government is regarded as an enabler to achieve a better and more efficient administration. It can improve the development and implementation of public policies and help the public sector to cope with the potentially conflicting demands of delivering more and better services with fewer resources.
    E-learningE-learning refers to all forms of learning in which electronic or digital media are used for the presentation and distribution of learning materials and/or for the support of interpersonal communication.
    E-toolsAn e-tool is a computer or web-based instrument which make sa task easier, faster and more efficient.
    EffectivenessEffectiveness is the relation between the set goal and the impact, effect or outcome achieved.
    EfficiencyEfficiency is outputs in relation to inputs or costs. Efficiency and productivity may be regarded as one and the same. Productivity maybe measured in ways that capture either the input of all factors of production (total factor productivity) or a specific factor (labour productivity or capital productivity).
    EFQMEuropean Foundation for Quality Management
    EmpowermentThis is aprocess by which more authority is given to an individual or a group of people in the decision-making process. It may apply to citizens or employees by involving the person/group and by granting them a degree of autonomy in their actions/decisions.
    EnablersCriteria 1-5 deal with the managerial practices of an organisation, the so-called ‘Enablers’. These determine what the organisation does and how it approaches its tasks to achieve the desired results. The assessment of actions relating to the Enablers should be based on the Enablers Panel (see CAF Scoring and Assessment Panels).
    EthicsEthics in public service may be defined as those common values and norms to which public servants subscribe in carrying out their duties. The moral nature of these values/norms, which may be stated or implicit, refer to what is considered to be right, wrong, good or bad behaviour. Whereas values serve as moral principles, norms may also state what is legally and morally correct in a given situation.
    EUEuropean Union
    EvaluationEvaluation is examining whether actions undertaken have produced the desired effects and whether other actions could have achieved a better result at a lower cost.
    EvidenceEvidence is information that supports a statement or fact. An evidence-based approach is considered to be essential in forming a firm decision, conclusion or judgement.
    ExcellenceExcellence means outstanding practice in managing an organisation and achieving results which are based on a set of fundamental concepts from total quality management as formulated by EFQM. These include: results orientation, customer focus, leadership and constancy of purpose management by processes and facts, involvement of people, continuous improvement and innovation, mutually beneficial partnerships, and corporate social responsibility.
    Facility managementThis refers to the management of buildings and their technical facilities. Public buildings and other property, and operational processes are viewed holistically within the concept of facility management. The aim of the coordinated handling of processes is to permanently reduce operating and management costs, to make fixed costs more flexible, to ensure the technical availability of the plant and to maintain or even increase the value of buildings and facilities in the long term.
    Follow-upSubsequent to a self-assessment process and changes to an organisation, a follow-up aims at measuring goal achievement against stated objectives. The analysis may result in the launching of new initiatives and adjusting strategy and planning in accordance with the new circumstances.
    GDPRGDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union. The GDPR came into force in 2018, and is designed to modernise laws that protect the personal information of individuals. The GDPR is Europe’s new framework for data protection laws.
    GovernanceThe main elements of good public governance are determined by the appointed framework of authority and control. It will set out: the reporting obligation on the goals achievement, transparency of actions and decision-making process to the stakeholders, efficiency and effectiveness, responsiveness to the needs of society, anticipation of the problems and trends, and respect of the law and rules.
    HRHuman Resources
    Human resources managementThis involves managing, developing and utilising the knowledge, skills and full potential of the employees of an organisation in order to support policy and business planning and the effective operation of its processes.
    ICTInformation and Communications Technology
    ImpactImpacts are the effects and the consequences of possible and actual actions, interventions or policies in public, private and third sectors.
    InclusionThe organisation recognises every human being as a part of society regardless of origin, disability, sexual orientation or age. It recognises that society as a whole benefits from the diversity of individuals and implements the values of non-discrimination and equality in the organisational culture and services. Public sector organisations are the role model in the implementation of an inclusive society.
    IndicatorsIndicators are quantitative measures that provide information about the organisation’s performance in a comprehensive form.


    Performance indicators are the numerous operational measures used in public administration to help to monitor, understand, predict and improve how the organisation functions and performs. There are several terms used to measure organisational performance: outcomes, measures, indicators and parameters. It is important therefore to at least measure the performance of those processes that are essential to the delivery of the desired results.

    Key performance indicators measure the most critical aspects, and measure the performance of those key processes essentially contained in CAF Criteria 4 and 5, which are most likely to influence the effectiveness and efficiency of the key performance outcomes.
    InformationInformation is a collection of data organised to form a message; it is a data that has made sense. One of the common ways to define information is to describe it as the facts provided or learned about something or someone.
    InnovationInnovation is the process of translating good ideas into new services, processes, tools, systems and human interaction. An organisation may be described as innovative when an existing task is performed in a way that is new to the workplace, or when the organisation offers customers a new service in a different way such as self-service via the Internet.
    Innovation-driven cultureAn innovation-friendly organisational culture in the public sector is characterised by a number of values, such as: self-responsibility, consistent customer orientation, openness, questioning of well-worn patterns of action, diversity, mutual appreciation, achievement orientation and much more. In this context, cross-organisational cooperation can open up new perspectives and initiate important learning processes. Leadership plays a key role in building an innovation-friendly organisational culture.
    InputAny kind of information, knowledge, material and other resources used for production.
    IntegrityIntegrity is the ongoing maintenance of the personal value system and personal ideals with a person’s own speech and actions. To ensure that their public image is not damaged, public institutions should ensure that their employees areacting in good faith. Public sector organisations therefore elaborate general codes of conduct for employees which include guidelines how to act in specific situations.
    ISOISO (International Organisation for Standardization) is a global network that identifies what international standards are required by business, government and society, develops them in partnership with the sectors that will put them to use, adopts them by transparent procedures based on national input and delivers them to be implemented worldwide. ISO standards specify the requirements for state-of-the-art products, services, processes, materials and systems, and for good conformity assessment, managerial and organisational practice.
    Job descriptionA job description is a complete outline of the function (description of tasks, responsibilities, knowledge, competences and abilities). It is a fundamental instrument for human resources managementand constitutes an element of knowledge, analysis, communication and dialogue. It represents a type of charter between the organisation and the holder of the position. Furthermore, it is a key factor for making employers as well as employees aware of their responsibilities.
    KDZCentre for Public Administration Research
    Key performance resultsThese are results the organisation is achieving with regard to its strategy and planning related to the needs and demands of the different stakeholders (external results), and the results of the organisation in relation to its management and improvement (internal results).
    KnowledgeKnowledge can be defined as information altered by experience, context, interpretation and reflection. Knowledge is the result of transformation work that has been done on anindividual piece of information. We consider knowledge to differ from data or information as it requires a human cognitive capacity of appropriation. Example: practice, know-how, expertise, technical knowledge.
    Knowledge managementKnowledge management is the explicit and systematic management of vital knowledge - and its associated processes of creation, organisation, diffusion, use and exploitation. It is important to note that knowledge encompasses both tacit knowledge (that contained in people’s minds) and explicit knowledge (codified and expressed as information in databases, documents etc.). A good knowledge programme will address the processes of knowledge development and transfer for both these basic forms. The most vital knowledge in most organisations is often related to: customer knowledge, knowledge in processes, knowledge in products and services, knowledge customised to users’needs, knowledge in people, organisational memory, drawing on lessons from the past or elsewhere in the organisation, knowledge in relationships, knowledge assets, and measuring and managing intellectual capital. A wide variety of practices and processes are used in knowledge management. Some of the more common ones are: creating and discovering, sharing and learning (communities of practices), organising and managing.
    LeadersTraditionally the term ‘leader’ is associated with those responsible for an organisation. The word may also refer to those people who, thanks to their competence on a particular subject, are recognised as a role model by others.
    LeadershipThis is the way in which leaders develop and facilitate the achievement of the mission and vision of the organisation. It reflects how they develop values required for long-term success and implement them via appropriate actions and behaviours. It indicates how leaders are personally involved in ensuring that the management system is developed, implemented and reviewed and that organisations permanently focus on change and innovation.
    Leadership cultureManagers play a significant role in building an innovation-friendly organisational culture. By stimulating mutual trust and openness they can act as coaches and mentors of employees and act as a role model. With this attitude they generate trust in their leadership role as well as followership for organisational mission and vision, and its strategic goals.
    Leading by exampleIn order to transform organisational culture, leadership plays a vital role. By acting as a role model managers can demonstrate their personal willingness to change and create followership. Cultural change programmes as well as leadership training should therefore address following concepts: integrity, sense-making, respectfulness, participation, innovation, empowerment, precision, accountability, agility,etc.
    Lean methodologyLean methodology is characterised by consistent customer orientation and cost-reducing measures. Lean management itself aims at designing a process-oriented corporate management with the highest possible efficiency as well as clearly defined processes. Responsibilities and communication channels should be logically designed, with the two most important aspects of the lean management approach being customer focus and cost reduction. These focal points can relate to both internal and cross-company processes and structures.
    LearningLearning is the acquiring and understanding of knowledge and information that may lead to improvement or change. Examples of organisational learning activities include benchmarking/benchlearning, internally and externally led assessments and/or audits, and best practice studies. Examples of individual learning include training and developing skills.
    • Learning environment. A learning environment within a working community is where learning takes place in the form of skill acquisition, knowledge sharing, the exchange of experience and dialogue on best practice.
    • Learning organisation. A learning organisation is where people continually expand their capacity to achieve the results they desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are fostered, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning within the context of the whole organisation.
    • On-the-job learning. On-the-job learning is a form of training provided at the workplace. This includes having a more experienced colleague, supervisor or manager show or explain things to the employee. The work is carried out under supervision and feedback is important. Coaching, job rotation and participation in special projects are forms of on-the-job learning.
    Learning and collaboration networksLearning and collaboration networks can be internal and/or external initiatives to link employees for exchange of know-how and best practices, or generating and conceptualising service/product innovations.
    Life cycle policyPublic buildings are normally used for very long periods of time. Therefore, only the consideration over the entire life cycle from construction to demolition can provide information about the actual quality of a building. All phases of a building’s life have to be analysed and optimised in terms of the different aspects of sustainability. The aim is to achieve a high building quality with the least possible impact on the environment(e.g. sustainable construction, use of renewable energy sources, technical equipment including their safe re-use, recycling or disposal).


    To implement the life cycle policy approach, an integrated facility management system is needed. Integrated facility management takes into account the commercial, technical and environmental aspects of building management.
    ManagementManagement refers to a management function in a public organisation (e.g. department manager, city manager). In addition, management refers to a person who performs this function and has the necessary management skills. Typical functions and tasks of the management are planning, organisation, leadership and success control. Contrary to leadership, management deals with the structural framework of managing an organisation (e.g. planning, setting and executing goals, success control, allocate resources etc.) while leadership focuses on the personal leadership of people.
    Management information systemMIS is a computerised information system that collects and prepares rganisational information (e.g. performance data, budget data, output and outcome data) to manage the organisation on the basis of permanent measurement of goal achievement, risks andquality. Based on this information, analyses can be carried out, problems can be solved and strategic decisions can be made. Management information systems collect internal and external data and prepare them for management decisions.
    MentoringMentoring is a form of employee development in which a trusted person - the mentor - offers their knowledge to another person (mentee) for guidance, encouragement and support. The aim of mentoring is to promote the learning and development of the employee and to help themto discover theirpotential. The mentoring concept is also likely to support new employees to find their role, identify important contact people etc. in order to support a good start in their new work environment.
    MissionThe mission explains the core purpose of the organisation, what the organisation should achieve for its stakeholders and why the organisation exists. The mission of a public sector organisation results from a public policy and/or statutory mandates. The final goals an organisation sets out to achieve in the context of its mission are formulated in its vision. A mission statement is a written declaration which remains unchanged over a longer time and defines:
    • What is the purpose of the organisation?
    • What kind of productsor services are provided?
    • Who are the primary customers?
    • What are the values of the organisation?
    NetworkA network is an informal organisation connecting people or organisations that may or may not have a formal line of command. Members of the network often share values and interests.
    NGONon-governmental organisation
    ObjectivesObjectives are a formulation of a desired situation describing the desired results or effects as defined in the mission of the organisation. They can be:


    • Strategic objectives

    Global objectives for the mid and longterm indicate the desired overall direction of the organisation. It describes the final results or effects (outcomes) it wants to pursue.

    • Operational objectives
    These are a concrete formulation of the strategic objectives, e.g. at unit level. An operational objective can be immediately transformed into a set of activities and tasks.
    Once-only principleIn developing customer-oriented and demand-driven public services, the once-only principle plays an important role. It describes the vision that citizens can get information, apply for public services and get the product in one place through one application. In this sense the once-only principle is the enemy of the bureaucracy principle which is characterised, among other things, by a multitude of different responsibilities in public administrations.
    Open dataAny kind of data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to make a reference to the original source. Besides this legal openness, open data also requires technical openness through machine readable formats and availability in bulk, e.g. PDF does not fulfil the requirements of technical openness.
    Open sourceOpen source refers to any program whose source code is publicly available and may be modified if users or developers see it as a necessity. Open source software is often developed by a public community and is free of charge.
    Organisational cultureThe organisational culture is the total range of behaviours, ethics and values which are transmitted, practised and reinforced by members of organisations, influenced by national, sociopolitical and legal traditions and systems.
    Organisational structureThis is the way an organisation is structured, i.e. the division of work areas or functions, formal chains of communication between management and employees, and the way tasks and responsibilities are divided throughout the organisation.
    OutcomeThis is the overall effect that outputs have on external stakeholders or wider society. An example of an output and an outcome: Stricter conditions for possessing firearms lead to fewer permits. The intermediate output is that there are fewer permits issued. The final output is that there are fewer firearms circulating in society. These outputs lead to the outcome that a higher level of safety or feeling of security is achieved.
    OutputOutput is the immediate result of production, which may be either goods or services. There is a distinction between intermediate and final outputs; the former is products delivered from one department to another within an organisation, the latter is outputs delivered to someone outside the organisation.
    PartnershipA partnership is a collaboration with other parties on a commercial or a non-commercial basis to reach a common goal, thus creating added value for the organisation and its customers/stakeholders. To institutionalise partnerships, partnership agreements can be concluded.
    PDCAThe PDCA cycle is four stages to go through to achieve continuous improvement, as described by Deming:
    • plan (project phase)
    • do (execution phase)
    • check (control phase)
    • act (action, adaptation and correction phase)
    It emphasises that improvement programmes must start with careful planning, must result in effective action, be checked and eventually adapted, and must move on again to careful planning in a continuing cycle.
    PeopleThese are all individuals employed by the organisation including full-time, part-time and temporary employees.
    PerformancePerformance is a measure of attainment achieved by an individual, team, organisation or process (see also ‘Indicator’).
    Performance budgetingA performance budget is one that reflects both the input of resources and the output of services for each unit of an organisation. The goal is to identify and score relative performance based on goal attainment for specified outcomes. This type of budget is commonly used by government bodies and agencies to show the link between taxpayer funds and the outcome of services provided by federal, state or local governments.
    Performance dialogue
    Performance managementPerformance management is an agreement-based interactive control model. Its operational core is in the ability of the agreement parties to find the appropriate balance between the available resources and the results to be attained with them. The basic idea of performance management in operations is, on the one hand, to balance resources and targets as well as possible, and on the other hand, efficiency and quality, ensuring that the desired effects are achieved in a cost-efficient manner.
    ProcedureA procedure is a detailed and well-defined description of how activities should be carried out.
    ProcessA process is a set of intertwined activities, which transforms a set of inputs into outputs and outcomes, thereby adding value.
    Process diagramThis is a graphical representation of the series of actions taking place within a process.
    Process ownerThis is the person responsible for designing, improving and performing processes, and their coordination and integration inside the organisation. Their responsibilities include the following:
    • Understand the process: how is it carried out in practice?
    • Target the process: how does it fit into the broader vision? Who are the internal and external stakeholders and are their expectations met? How does the process relate to other processes?
    • Communicate the process to the internal and external stakeholders.
    • Monitor, measure and benchmark the process: to what extent is the process efficient and effective?
    • Report the process: what exactly can be improved? Where are the weaknesses and how can they be targeted?
    By employing these steps the process owner has the chance to improve the process continually.
    Public policyA purposeful course of action followed by governmental bodies and officials in dealing with a problem or a matter of public interestis a public policy. This includes government action, inaction, decisions and non-decisions, and it implies choices between competitive alternatives.


    Public policy refers to the sum of content-related decisions, objectives and activities of those involved in the relevant political system (e.g. municipalities, state and federal level, European level).
    Public service organisationA public service organisation is any institution, service organisation or system, which is under the policy direction of and controlled by an elected government (national, federal, regional or local). It includes organisations that deal with development of policy and enforcement of law, i.e. matters that could not be regarded strictly as services.
    Public-private partnershipA public–private partnership is the collaboration between a government agency and a private sector company that can be used to finance, build and operate projects, such as public transport networks, parks and convention centres. Financing a project through a public–private partnership can allow a project to be completed sooner or make it a possibility in the first place.
    QualityQuality (in the context of the public sector) is delivering a public service with a set of characteristics/features that meet or satisfy, in a sustainable way, the following: the specifications/requirements (law, legislation, regulation); the citizen/customer expectations; all other stakeholder expectations (political, financial, institutions, staff). The concept of quality has evolved over recent decades: Quality control is focused on the product/service, which is controlled on the basis of written specifications and standardisations. The methods for statistical quality control (sampling methods) have been developed since the 1920–30s.
    Quality assuranceQuality assurance is focused on the core processes in order to guarantee the quality of a product or service. Quality assurance includes quality control. This concept, born in the 1950s and largely used in the 1980s and 1990s through the ISO 9000 norms, is no longer used. It has been replaced by the concept of total quality management.
    ResilienceResilience management encompasses all measures with the aim of improving the resilience of an organisational system to strengthen it against external influences. Hence resilience is the systemic resistance to disturbances and hazardous changes. Here, a distinction is made between a proactive form (agility) and a reactive form (robustness). Resilient organisational structures are therefore characterised by a fast and flexible adaptability to external influences.
    ResourcesResources include the knowledge, labour, capital, buildings or technology an organisation uses to perform its tasks.
    ResultsFrom Criterion 6 onwards, the focus of the assessment shifts from Enablers to Results. In the first three Results Criteria we measure perceptions: what our people, citizens/customers and society think of us. We also have internal performance indicators which show how well we are doing against the targets we may have set for ourselves – the outcomes. The assessment of results requires a different set of responses, so the responses from this point onwards are based on the Results Assessment Panel (see CAF Scoring and Assessment Panels).
    Risk managementRisk management refers to the practice of identifying potential risks in advance, analysing them and taking precautionary steps to reduce/curb the risk.
    RoboticsRobotics and artificial intelligence refer to the automation of recurring routine work with the help of intelligent technologies. These technologies are particularly suitable for the following areas of application: information services, video analytics, surveillance tasks or filtering relevant information from social media, evaluation and processing of text documents etc.
    Role modelPeople or organisations who serve as a model in a particular behavioural or social role for other people to imitate or learn from.
    Sense makingThe concept of sense-making refers to a key leadership capability for the complex and dynamic world we live in today and deals with the big question of how we can structure the unknown so as to be able to act in it.


    Sense-making also refers to the question of which sense lies behind the different activities of employees or what is the concrete contribution of an individual service to the overall success of an organisation.
    Service designThis is the activity of planning and organising people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between the service provider and its customers.
    SMART objectivesObjectives state what an organisation has set out to achieve. It is recommended that objectives should be SMART:
    • Specific - be precise about what you are going to achieve.
    • Measurable - it hasquantified objectives.
    • Achievable - is the objective too ambitious, or is the objective covered by the mission?
    • Realistic - are the necessary resources available?
    • Timed - it falls within manageable timing.
    Social mediaSocial media are web-based communication tools for creating, sharing and consuming information. The key features are:
  • people interacting with each other;
  • user-generated content and profiles;
  • personalisation and personal user accounts;
  • ´like’ buttons, followers, comments and ratings;
  • profit-oriented global companies running them.
  • The most important social media platforms and used in public sector organisations are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedinand Instagram. Communicating with citizens, stakeholders and customers via selected social media channels should be considered by all public sector organisations, taking into account the risks of data privacy and the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation.
    Social responsibilitySocial responsibility is a commitment by private and public sector organisations to contribute to sustainable development by working with employees, their families, local communities and society to improve the quality of life. The aim is to bring benefits both for organisations and the wider society.
    Spending reviewsSpending reviews are structured, binding auditing processes serve to question the how and why of task fulfilment in public administration and thus increase the efficiency and effectiveness inproviding public services. Spending reviews can help public organisations better understand spending and identify opportunities for efficiencies. They are detailed assessments of specific areas of spending, with aims of increasing transparency, improving efficiency, and, where necessary, reallocating resources.
    StakeholdersStakeholders are all those who have an interest, whether financial or not, in the activities of the organisation. Internal and external stakeholders can be classified in four major categories: the political authority; the citizens/customers; the people working in the organisation; the partners. Examples of stakeholders: political decision makers, citizens/customers, employees, society, inspection agencies, media, partners. Government organisations are also stakeholders.
    StrategyA strategy is a long-term plan of prioritised actions designed to achieve a major or overall goal or to fulfil a mission.
    SurveyThis is used to collect data on opinions, attitudes or knowledge from individuals and groups. Frequently only a cross-section of the whole population is asked to participate.
    Sustainability/sustainable developmentThis is development suitable for meeting present needs without compromising the possibility of meeting the needs of future generations.
    Sustainable development goalsThe 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are political objectives of the United Nations (UN) aimed at ensuring sustainable economic, social and environmental development. Key aspects of the objectives include advancing economic growth, reducing disparities in living standards, creating equal opportunities and sustainable management of natural resources that ensure ecosystem conservation and resilience.
    TermThe period of time in which results should be achieved.
    • Short term refers usually to less than one year.
    • Medium term refers usually to periods of one to five years ahead.
    • Long term refers usually to periods of more than five years.
    Top-downThis is the flow of information and decisions from upper levels to lower levels within an organisation. The opposite is bottom-up.
    Total quality management or quality managementTotal quality management (TQM) is a management philosophy that involves the whole organisation (core, management and support processes) in taking responsibility and ensuring the quality of their products/services and processes by constantly seeking to improve the effectiveness of their processes at every stage. TQM should address most of the dimensions of the organisation using a holistic management approach to satisfy customer needs or requirements; the approach involves the stakeholders. The TQM concept emerged in the 1980s; total quality management (TQM), quality management (QM) or TQ (total quality) are the same concept, although some authors show some differentiation.
    TQMTQM is a customer-focused management philosophy that seeks to continuously improve business processes using analytical tools and teamwork involving all employees.
    TransparencyTransparency implies openness, communication and accountability. It is a metaphorical extension of the meaning used in the physical sciences: a transparent object is one that can be seen through. Transparent procedures include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, the freedom of information legislation, budgetary review, audits.
    ValueValue refers to monetary, welfare, cultural and moral values. Moral values are considered to be more or less universal, whereas cultural values may shift between organisations as well as between countries. Cultural values within an organisation should be transmitted and practised, and also be related to the mission of the organisation. They may be quite different between non-profit organisations and private businesses.


    Public value refers to the value that society derives from (public) services rather than individuals (private value). However, this added value is often undervalued and in many cases neither perceived by the public nor by its own organisation. In times of strained public budgets it is important to make the public value that is generated by public services visible. The public value approach is used by public organisations as well as non-profit organisations to make their own contribution and value to society transparent e.g. in the area of housing, public broadcasting, police.
    VisionThis is the achievable dream or aspiration of what an organisation wants to do and where it would like to be. The context of this dream and aspiration is determined by the mission of the organisation.