The Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance (ADAEP) was initiated in 2006 through resolution no. 45 by H.H General Shiekh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander in Chief of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Executive Council. The Award committee is chaired by the Secretary General to the Executive Council, Mohammed Ahmed Al-Bowardi. Criteria for award selection is based on the EFQM Model for Excellence, and uses its fundamental concepts as criteria to assess the performance of various government entities and personnel in their effort to achieve excellence.
The Award was created specifically for the Abu Dhabi government organizations and S OEs as part of a vision to improve their performance and place Abu Dhabi in the top five governments of the world.
The Award is not meant to segregate winners from losers, but to provide a comprehensive framework within which firms can assess and evaluate themselves, and shine a light on where they can make improvements. It provides a road map for agencies on their journey to excellence, and is built upon years of experience and specific knowledge. The combination of experience and knowledge creates a type of organizational and operational wisdom that can guide organizations in every aspect of business. In essence, the Awards are a tool for the implementation of the EFQM Excellence Model, which, in turn is designed to motivate the Abu Dhabi Government to make improvements toward its goal of excellence. Through the adaptation of Total Quality & Excellence principles, government organizations can develop sound leadership that can rally their people to deploy strategies through effective and efficient management of processes and resources, and to achieve excellent performance and outcomes.
The Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence is built on a pyramid structure which places the four award categories in a hierarchy of ascending levels, and is based on the concept that an organization can only achieve excellence through their human resources who deliver top quality results in all their projects. The government entity displaying the highest level of performance, and which meets the high standards set by the ADAEP is awarded the overall winner of the Best Abu Dhabi Government Entity. This challenging award is on par with all international standards of excellence. The four categories and their criteria are listed below:
There are four categories of prizes that are awarded to entities with the best performance in specific qualities which set them as overall achievers in all aspects of the organization: Best Initiator, Best Implementer, Best Impactor, and Best Integrator. Each have different levels of score requirements that need to be achieved in the previous cycle of the ADAEP. Government Entities which have demonstrated the highest levels of sustained or improved performance in specific areas are based on the enablers and results criteria. Each of the four sub-categories is used to judge entities. The entities are then scored based on these model criteria: Customer Service, People Development, Institutional Capacity, and Leadership.
These Awards address best practices in team projects that have increased the effectiveness of an organization, and Projects that have gained national recognition and appreciation for developing methods that add value for stakeholders and encourage improvement. The award also recognizes organizations that inspire teamwork, collaboration, participation, and involvement of all groups to find creative solutions. The subcategories of these projects are Improvement, IT Enabled, Leading Edge Transformational, and Best Project in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi.
The ADAEP awards individuals in five different categories, recognizing service to the government, and performance as role models of excellence for the workforce. This award serves to motivate government employees and to reward those exceptionally talented and committed workers and leaders who have participated in boosting the performance of the government. These individuals are awarded for exceptional performance in one of five different areas: Excellent Employee in the Technical Field, Excellent Employee in the Managerial Field, Field, Excellent Employee in the Professional Field, and Best Employee in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi Government Service.
The ADAEP assessment mechanism is an extremely complex and rigorous process that consists of scoring based on the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM)’s Model for Excellence and its fundamental concepts and theories. Each category of the awards has its own scoring system, and is assessed through many stages.
Firms applying for this award are required to submit an A4 sized document of at least 75 pages, which is based on the Criteria for Excellence in the EFQM Excellence Model. All criteria, with the exception of two are given equal importance. The exceptions are Customer and Key Results, which both carry more weight in the marking process. Each criterion is assigned a certain percentage out of the total score, which is calculated on the RADAR Theory (Results, Approaches, Deploy, Assess, and Refine). The RADAR theory offers a framework for the assessment of Enablers and Results. The Enablers criteria are Approach, Deployment, Assessment, and Refinement. Results assessment criteria are Relevance and Usability, and Performance Outcomes. These criteria are simplified into attributes that can be quantified. A firm will be awarded points based on these attributes, turning the criteria for excellence and the RADAR theory into a scorecard for the assessment of the entire firm. A team of highly qualified assessors will evaluate the firms on a scoring matrix scale of 0-1000 on their “strengths” and “areas of improvement”. To arrive at an objective feedback, assessments are conducted separately. Assessors also review feedback reports from the previous cycle of Awards to ensure the recommended improvements have been implemented by the firm. Following the initial assessment of submission documents, a site visit is carried out to verify the information in the documents and inspect the workings of the firm. Following the site visit, consensus reviews are carried out and feedback reports are generated and presented to the jury for final winner selection.
For this particular award, firms are required to submit a 25 page, A4 sized, 5,000-word document clearly stating which subcategory of the Project Award their project adheres to. The submission process utilizes the STAR Methodology: Situation, Task, Action Taken, Results. This explains what Situation, or issue was addressed through the project, which Task was planned to solve this issue, what Action was undertaken by the team to execute the plan, and finally, what the Results of the actions were. The submitted projects are assessed using the excellence criteria and scoring matrix. The selection process includes an independent external Moderator who screens the reports submitted by individual assessors and shortlists the projects for site visit and presentation to the jury. The GEMS method of assessment is used by the jury for selecting the final winners, and entails evaluating the projects on Gains, Execution, Management, and Strategy.
This is for government employees who have exceeded all expectations, who have risen above their peers, and have made vast contributions to the benefit of their entity in a quantifiable and distinctive capacity. The method of application for this category is an A4 size, 15-page document of 3000 words, stating the specific award title and a detailed submission describing what sets them apart from others and is worthy of recognition. This could be a specific personal project, a personal achievement, or a consistent display of hard work, commitment, and competency through the entire previous year resulting in tangible benefits for the firm. Once this is established, the employee can base their submission around the STARS methodology—Situation, Task, Action Taken, Results, Summary—addressing each of these in the document. Situation provides a personal, educational, and work related profile of the candidate. Task explains responsibilities and challenges of the current role, opportunities explored and obstacles overcome to enhance and develop the role. Actions relate to achievements and accomplishments. Results offer specific quantifiable data to support achievements for the individual and the entity. Finally Summary provides a personal closing statement explaining why the individual believes they deserve this award, what it means to them, and details of their future three year plan. These documents are reviewed using the assessment criteria and scoring matrix, then feedback reports are created and reviewed by an external independent moderator who shortlists individuals for the interview process. The jury selects the winners based on the CEED (Contribution, Ethics, Excellence, and Discipline) and INSPIRE (Inspirational, Natural, Sincere, Passionate, Innovative, Responsible, and Exceptional) frameworks which offer an objective, multifaceted solution to the selection process.
Every cycle of the Awards witnesses a growing number of participating firms, with 22 firms for the first session in 2007 increasing to 48 government organizations in the third and latest session in 2013. Any government entity can participate in the Awards as long as it is an executive department or a public sector agency providing public services, and is non- profit. Abu Dhabi Government owned SOEs can also take part once they are 100% government owned and provide services to the general public. Each of the award categories has its own extensive guidelines for eligibility, specific to team projects and individuals. The 3rd cycle of the ADAEP which took place in November 2013 saw 16 winners from a total of 24 award categories (12 for individuals and 12 for entities). The remaining eight awards were not awarded as no nominees met the high standards of excellence set by the Abu Dhabi Awards committee. Awards not given included the excellence award for best entity in customer service, waste management, and knowledge management as well as the excellence award for best overall government entity. The decision not to award the aforementioned category is a testament to the high standa
rds expected from Abu Dhabi’s government leaders, a move which will only serve to further motivate government entities to work harder in their strive for excellence.