D&D Excellence : your Partner for Excellence

How D&D can help

We specialise in helping you to use the EFQM Excellence Model. We were first trained as assessors in 1993, and have worked with the Model full time since 1996.

We make no apology for stressing that

  1. the EFQM Excellence Model - and self-assessment - should be about helping people think about their organisation, not just ticking boxes, and
  2. as it is about thinking, the Model can be used flexibly.

Clicking on the tabs below will show the main ways in which we help organisations. But if you think you want something slightly different, do please get in touch to discuss how we can help your organisation. Our Case Studies section outlines how we have worked with some clients.

You must optimise your investment in your 'Excellence' journey. Not everyone needs identical levels of understanding and so we vary what we do according to your needs.

We firmly believe that the EFQM Excellence Model works best when it is understood - not when it is used as a 'box ticking exercise' - and so include an element of education and skills transfer in almost any work we do. Examples of how we can help by more formal education are given below.

EFQM Excellence Model awareness

Workshops may last from a couple of hours up to a full day and give varying levels of insight into the Excellence Model. They are designed to suit your own needs, but will include a range of information about Excellence, with the longer ones involving more detail and practical exercises. Workshop contents might include:

  • What is Excellence?
  • Fundamental Concepts of Excellence & the EFQM Excellence Model
  • Using the RADAR logic for managing your organisation and assessing
  • Self-assessment - some ways to do it
  • Using the Model within your organisation
  • Planning and managing your self-assessments
  • Using the outputs from self-assessments

Learning about the Excellence Model while assessing your own organisation

For a deep understanding of the Model and how to use its full potential we recommend assessor training workshops. We now usually suggest that these are done as part of a self-assessment so that there are immediate learnings to take forward for the organisation. This compares with typical assessor training based on a fictitious 'case-study' organisation; the latter might have slightly deeper learning for the individuals, but do not immediately identify improvement opportunities for the organisation.

Our workshops have been used by organisations to build a 'pool' of experts to act as in-house assessors, trainers, facilitators or 'champions'. Some have also recognised that these workshops offer an excellent management development vehicle for existing and potential leaders because of the detailed understanding that attendees acquire about their own organisation.

Our workshops can provide a comprehensive study of the Model and self-assessment to a group of your people. They include practising assessment techniques and our own 'added value' hints and tips drawn from our experiences.

They are designed with a preventative approach, to maximise the benefits for attendees. Day 1 introduces the subject and prepares participants to complete the ‘homework’ (typically taking about 12 hours) which is an input to Days 2/3. This usually takes place about one month after Day 1.

Day 1 contents include an introduction to the Excellence Model, and how to assess an organisation through the identification of Strengths and Areas for Improvement and the structured scoring process.

Days 2/3 comprises syndicate and plenary sessions which build learning through teamwork and consensus and provide an in-depth understanding of the Model and Excellence.

If you'd like to discuss how we can help you, please do get in touch.

Self-assessment against the EFQM Excellence Model is a way of identifying where an organisation has strengths, and where it has areas for improvement - as the forerunner to working on those improvements. It should not be confused with a third party audit or inspection.

Self-assessment is probably the most common use of the EFQM Excellence Model and there are many methods. Choosing the right one for your organisation is important and we can help you with that selection.

Like most things in life 'the more you put in the more you get out' but most organisations start with simpler methods and progress to more comprehensive approaches.


There are many variations of Excellence Model-based questionnaires. They are the simplest approaches and provide an opportunity for people in your organisation to try out the Model. They will generally provide some strengths and areas for improvement for your organisation which can be used as discussion areas. Any scoring attached to them is typically less reliable than more involved self-assessment methods.

The ‘official’ EFQM Determining Excellence Questionnaire is one with which we have worked many times and is relatively straightforward to use. We can discuss the various ways to use a questionnaire with you to best fit with your objectives.

Evidence gathering and consensus workshop

This method of self-assessment is more involved than completing questionnaires. However, we have found that it is an optimum starting approach for many organisations wanting to use the Model. The hands-on gathering of evidence, the teamwork and the detailed discussions all contribute to a deeper understanding of Excellence and a more detailed understanding of your organisation.

High level steps include:

  • preparing an assessor team from your organisation's people — a ‘diagonal slice’ is often ideal
  • gathering relevant evidence in your organisation and recording that evidence in a structured workbook
  • facilitating a consensus workshop with the evidence used as key inputs to the discussions and agreement
  • reaching an overall picture of Strengths and Areas for Improvement for your organisation with a more realistic score

We have developed and delivered this approach successfully along with our own structured evidence workbooks and will be happy to discuss your specific needs.

Site Visits

A site visit is an external review of an organisation's ways of working and the extent of their use. We have used them either to provide additional, independent, inputs to a self-assessment workshop or to support/verify the findings from a self-assessment after a workshop. Our ‘friendly’ site visits of one or two days are one of the additional options we are often asked to provide where we are supporting a self-assessment.

As well as site visits for our own clients, we have undertaken numerous site visits for the BQF as part of formal recognition schemes. We have therefore built up a wealth of experience and are able to guide organisations through the process to ensure that they gain the most from it.

Preparation for an external Excellence Award submission

Another use for a site visit (and a self-assessment) can be part of an organisation's preparation for an external award and further information about this can be found on our page about Recognition

Probably the most robust and comprehensive Excellence assessment method is the creation and assessment of an Excellence Award-style submission document or portfolio. The assessment can be either in a formal award or recognition scheme, or in a ‘non-competitive’ way using external and/or internal assessors.

Common reasons for using an award-type assessment include:

  • A non-competitive assessment can give a comprehensive picture of your organisation's Strengths and Areas for Improvement to use in your improvement journey. The assessment often includes a site visit to test deployment of approaches, and by giving a good experience this helps embed Excellence as a positive thing, not something to be feared.
  • A non-competitive assessment can also be a practice/'dry run' prior to making a decision on submitting for external recognition.
  • Using a formal scheme such as Recognised for Excellence (R4E) or Towards Excellence, gives feedback and external recognition of where the organisation has reached on its journey.
  • Entering an external Excellence Award process (eg, London Excellence Awards, UK Excellence Awards, EFQM Excellence Award) gives feedback and perhaps even an award - with the positive benefits that can bring.

What's involved

Award-style processes typically mean:

  • creating a portfolio of evidence (often templated nowadays) in Excellence Model structure, about how your organisation carries out its business together with the results it is achieving
  • this document is assessed by trained assessors and your organisation may receive a site visit, for the assessors to confirm and validate the submission document contents and other relevant evidence
  • organisations receive a feedback report based on the submission (and the site visit if applicable)

How we can help

We are very experienced in all aspects of Award style processes which has given us a good insight into what assessors are looking for. This experience includes leading assessor teams in formal award processes, and assessing/validating numerous organisations in recognition schemes such as R4E and Towards Excellence.

Dependent upon your needs, we can provide tailored support, which might include:

  • Excellence training for the organisation's submission writers, with hints and tips to help with the task
  • assistance with submission document design and development with guidance on the gathering of relevant information
  • coaching and feedback on document writing, including potential improvement opportunities in draft documents - to ensure that you show your best view
  • formal assessment of submission documents to identify the key business Strengths and Areas for Improvement, ie, take the place of external award assessors
  • carry out a 'friendly' site visit, either as part of our own assessment process for you, or prior to an external award assessor team's visit - seen as a 'dummy run' so that organisations have a better chance to get it right on the day.

As well as Excellence Awards, we have also provided this type of support to organisations applying for recognition such as R4E. Similar considerations apply whenever you are creating a document to be assessed

Our extensive assessing work gives us considerable experience of the ‘assessor as customer’ in the process, and we can bring this knowledge to bear if helping you to prepare a submission. Whatever your needs in this area we can help, so please contact us.

Levels of Excellence

This scheme includes Committed to Excellence (C2E) and Recognised for Excellence (R4E). Both are based on the EFQM Excellence Model. We have been a BQF preferred partner for R4E assessments and for C2E validations. With effect from April 2016, Derek is pulling back from Levels of Excellence work, but Dave will continue.

  • C2E is about demonstrating commitment to improving your organisation in an excellent way, and
  • R4E recognises levels of achievement.

Organisations where we are the R4E assessor receive our own approved Guide to a Successful Site Visit, to help them in preparing for the experience. This is not available to other applicants.

Formal application is made to a quality body— eg, the BQF or the EFQM — but we are happy to talk in general with you. Full details of the scheme are available from our link to the BQF's own website. (EFQM has kindly given permission for the use of their LoE logo here.)

We undertake a collaborative assessment in partnership with applicants to arrive at the right answer, we do not carry out an audit or inspection trying to find as many mistakes as possible. The quotes below are typical of applicant views after the event.