Each organisation is run by many processes, each process being an organised set of interrelated activities that transform resources or inputs in an efficient way into services (outputs) and impact on society (outcomes). A distinction can be made between three types of processes that make an organisation function effectively, depending on their quality and the quality of their interactivity:
- core processes, achieving the mission and strategy of the institution and thus critical to the delivery of products or services;
- management processes, steering the organisation;
- support processes, delivering the necessary resources.
The Common Assessment Framework focuses on the key processes among these three types of processes, namely those that contribute effectively to achieving the mission and strategy of the organisation. Criterion 5 deals in particular with the core processes of the organisation, while Criteria 1 and 2 handle the management processes, and Criteria 3 and 4 the support processes. For horizontal units such as the strategic unit, the HR and financial departments, their management or support activities are of course part of their core processes. An effective and efficient organisation identifies its core processes, which it performs in order to deliver its services (outputs) and impact (outcomes), considering the expectations of the citizens/customers and other stakeholders, in line with its mission and strategy.
The nature of the core processes in public service organisations may vary greatly, from relatively abstract activities such as support for policy development or regulation of economic activities, to very concrete activities of service provision. The need to generate increasing value for its citizens/customers and other stakeholders and to raise efficiency are two of the main drivers in process development and innovation. The increasing involvement of the citizen/customer stimulates organisations to continuously improve their processes, taking advantage of the changing environment in many areas such as technology/digitalisation, economy population and environment.