Overview of the EQAVET Framework, the EFQM Excellence Model and the ISO 9001 Standard

Making the case for the alignment of the EQAVET Framework, the EFQM Excellence Model and the ISO 9001 Standard

Successful organisations have long realised that sustainable success comes as a result of an organisation’s ability to achieve its objectives in the long term with balanced consideration of the needs and expectations of all its interested parties. To monitor progress towards excellence, organisations use reference frameworks/ models/ standards. Adopting a reference framework/model/ standard may, however, pose practical problems for organisations as regards which framework/model/ standard to adopt, and once adopted,how to ensure the references are appropriate to the features of the organisation.

One of the main issues considered in the literature is that of the model as a generic representation or point of departure for the development of a solution customised to the requirements of the organisation. The organisation may even opt to use and adapt a set of reference models. This can be done in several ways, one of which is to align reference models. Alignment is achieved by identifying  the a) ‘fits’ or common elements (their degree of complementarity) and b) the ‘gaps’ between the models.

In making the case for the alignment of the EQAVET Framework (the Framework), the EFQM Excellence Model (the Model) and the ISO 9001 Standard (the Standard), we will identify a) common elements and b) redundancies, synergies and gaps.

An important common element is the fact that the Framework, the Standard and the Model are a) concerned with the same issues and b) built on the Shewhart/ Deming Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) to achieve continual improvement. They were, however, developed from completely different origins and, consequently, differ substantially.

A general description of the Framework,the Model and the Standard as well as the image for each them is offered below:

The EQAVET Framework, the EFQM Excellence Model & ISO 9001 Standard: a brief description

The EQAVET Framework (2009)

EQAVET is a quality assurance reference framework developed to help Member States of the European Union (EU) to promote and monitor continuous improvement of their VET systems based on common European references. The framework should contribute to increased transparency of, and consistency in, VET policy developments between Member States, thereby promoting mutual trust, mobility of learners and workers, and lifelong learning. The Framework should comprise a quality assurance and improvement cycle of planning, implementation, evaluation/assessment and review/revision of VET supported by common quality criteria, indicative descriptors and indicators to be used by public authorities and other bodies as well as by VET providers involved in quality assurance.  An evaluation of the implementation of the Recommendation and, if necessary, its revision is undertaken every four years.


The EFQM Excellence Model (2013)

The EFQM Excellence Model, developed by the European Foundation for Quality Management, is a well- established international framework used to assist improvement and help organisations strive for excellence.  According to the Model, excellent organisations are those that “achieve and sustain outstanding levels of performance that meet or exceed the expectations of all their stakeholders”. It comprises three integrated components: a) eight fundamental concepts of excellence, b) nine criteria (five “enablers” and four “results”) and c) the RADAR logic that provides a structured approach to question the performance of an organisation and supports the scoring mechanism behind the EFQM Excellence Award and other recognition or assessment schemes. The model is revised and updated every three years to ensure it reflects the current environment.


The ISO 9001 Standard : Quality management systems. Requirements (2008)

The ISO 9001 Standard is a quality assurance and improvement standard. It sets out the requirements of a quality management system and it is one of the ISO 9000 family of standards published by the International Organisation for Standardisation  (ISO). The standard is based on eight quality management principles  . It is a contractual Management System Standard, looking at the conformity to essential requirements specified to develop a successful quality system, i.e., a system that will ensure that organisations deliver quality services and products, regardless of what the user organisation does, its size, or whether it is in the private or public sector. It is the only standard in the ISO 9000 family against which organisations can be certified – although certification is not a compulsory requirement of the standard.

The model of a process-based quality management system (Figure 3)  illustrates the process linkages presented in clauses 4-8. The illustration shows that customers play a significant role in defining requirements as inputs while monitoring of customer satisfaction aims to evaluate and validate whether customer requirements have been met. According to ISO, over one million companies and organisations in over 170 countries implement ISO 9001:2008 . All ISO Standards are reviewed every five years to make sure that they remain helpful and relevant. ISO 9001 is currently under review and an updated version is expected by the end of 2015.


The EQAVET Framework, the EFQM Excellence Model and the ISO 9001 Standard – An overview

Download - Table - Comparative overview of the EQAVET Framework, EFQM Excellence Model and ISO 9001 Standard

Summary: main similarities and differences

From the previous table, it is obvious that the identification of similarities and differences between and among the EQAVET Framework, the EFQM Excellence Model and the ISO 9001 Standard is a complex exercise, particularly due to the nature of each one of the approaches and their respective histories. The  mapping below was achieved by reading the EFQM Excellence Model (the Model) and the ISO 9001 Standard (the Standard) against the EQAVET Framework (EQAVET). This choice implies that a) the focus was on EQAVET and b) the reading of the other two approaches, the Model and the Standard, was made, as necessary, in order to illuminate their correlation with EQAVET.

Download the Table - Summary table Similarities & Differences

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