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Since its inception, the Agency has proven to be an organization which is open to innovative ideas and challenges and has fulfilled its assigned objectives with excellence.

In 2005, the Agency had to implement performance review tools due to the increase of employees and the complexity of the organization.

In order to bring to light the Agency‘s commitment to its mission, a new division, Quality Assurance and Control, was set up in April, 2005 which at that point began to implement the Quality Management System. In July of the same year, a procedure manual was approved; by August, the quality manual, the quality policy and quality objectives were approved and finally, the annual plan of quality audits was finalized. This system’s object was to make sure that quality is provided to customers and that efficiency and productivity are maintained. Also, this quality control system safeguards that the needs and expectations of customers are met and that the Agency‘s image and reputation are enhanced.

Moreover, the quality control system was formalized and made consistent, where all key processes are documented and all procedures and documentation are determined.

In May, 2006 the ISO 9001 Quality Certificate was awarded to the Agency; this truly signaled that the Agency’s quality controls were properly defined, described, monitored and improved.

Furthermore, during that same year, the European Commission’s audit on the ESF resulted in a positive opinion and reported that the management and control systems at the Agency were functioning effectively and in compliance with the applicable EU regulations. In 2008, the ESFA joined the growing number of Common Assessment Framework (CAF) users and registered into the CAF database.

The CAF is a total quality management (TQM) tool which is inspired by major Total Quality models in general and by the Excellence Model of the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in particular. CAF is especially designed for public-sector organizations to improve their performance. The Agency has improved from the use of this tool.

With the aid of CAF, the Agency was invited to the 4th CAF Conference in Bucharest (September 2010), to give a presentation about improving leadership.

At this time, the Agency became a victim of its own success due to a combination reasons: the growing amount of projects, the growing work scope, a huge increase in personnel and a loss of financing due to budget cuts. This situation forced the Agency into action and to make performance changes. The LEAN management philosophy appeared to be the perfect answer on how to optimize and improve processes and to perform more effectively. At the beginning of 2009, the Agency started applying LEAN elements: performance improvement (Kaizen) groups, measurement and monitoring of main activities, visual control and a project of universal Project manager. These reform efforts by the Agency have been sucessful. The work process became faster, even though the number of applications were continuously growing. Also, the workload decreased. And more than that, the employees’ qualifications increased. Most importantly, our clients were deeply satisfied with the one-stop shop service principle.

Since June, 2009 all of the Agencys‘ activities have been certified by ISO 9001:2008. This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, as well as a strong process approach, with continual improvements. ISO 9001:2008 helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services.

In 2010, the Agency implemented an information security management system. The goal of this system was to protect the valuable information held in our care which is related to the projects administrated by the Agency, as well as to manage any risk and to minimize it within an acceptable level.

By the following year, the Agency’s information security management system was certified according to the ISO 27001 international standard. We are proud of this achievement and are confident to know that our information security management system gives us the freedom to grow, innovate and broaden our customer-base with securities in place to protect confidential information. In January 2010, a group of employees at the Agency kicked off the initiative to develop Customer Service Standards that would be specific, reasonable and practical in our daily work. The aim of the Standards were to improve service quality and customer satisfaction provided by the Agency. There was clearly a need for documenting, regulating, and maintaining a comprehensive customer-care service.

Over the course of that year, a working group wrote, reviewed and edited a booklet on customer service standards and proposed it to the senior staff members for approval.

Eventually, this booklet was issued, along with a movie showing the main aspects of the Standards, and some customer-service-oriented word games, an examination to test employee‘s knowledge about customer service and questionnaires which customers could fill out.

On December 7, 2010, the Agency‘s Customer Service Standards were finally adopted. The Agency  employees are required to follow these standards to ensure that the quality of service to all of our customers meets or exceeds their expectations. Moreover, all new employees are familiarized to these standards and must pass a test. An on-going working group in the Agency continues to implement these standarts.

Customer satisfaction surveys conducted in 2011 and 2012 indicate that the Standards have had a significant effect. The Agency has set high Customer Service Standards and the results reflect a stellar performance. In 2011, a new division of Internal Audit was established at the Agency.

During the last three years the Agency has been improving its processes within the Project administration using the Lean-based approach. This had an impact which was reflected in a more developed customer oriented organizational culture, by a significant improvement of process effectiveness, flexibility and overall customer satisfaction. (HUBERTAS PETRUŽIS, Lean expert)

With the implementation of modern quality management, Lean (...), BSC and other modern management technologies, ESFA is currently on the same level as the most advanced Lithuanian organizations. For others, it is a model to follow. (Dr. GINTARAS CHOMENTAUSKAS, President, Human Study Center)