Center of Excellence

COECraftsSmall1The Iraq Center for Excellence in Government (ICEG) is the culmination of years of effort by USAID-Tarabot and its predecessor, Tatweer, to improve the institutional development and performance of Iraqi government entities. The ICEG was formally adopted by the Council of Ministers’ Secretariat (COMSEC) in June 2014, illustrating the commitment of the Iraqi government to furthering initiatives in sustainable and transformational institutional development.

The ICEG is a public entity that encourages leadership and innovation in service delivery by providing frameworks for organizational management and institutional capacity development through the application of the Excellence model. The Excellence model is based on the European Foundation for Quality Management, and consists of seven institutional development criteria in the areas of leadership, people, knowledge, strategy, resources, processes, and results. It provides a holistic view of an entity and how these elements relate to one another to affect organizational performance and results achieved.

The ICEG aims to advance and award creativity and leadership in service delivery, and to provide guidance to those seeking to achieve it. To this end, Tarabot assists the ICEG in providing technical assistance to Iraqi governmental entities in line with Excellence guidelines. The ICEG will serve as a national reference and knowledge center for government excellence, offering tools and guidelines for reform. Additionally, the ICEG will grant Excellence Awards annually to government entities that have excelled in their capacity development initiatives.

Prior to the ICEG, USAID-Tarabot worked with a range of Iraqi governmental partners to improve their quality assurance systems according to internationally recognized standards through assessments of organizational processes, and quality management and awareness workshops. Ministries interested in attaining quality management systems certification were provided with assistance in meeting ISO 9001 requirements, which aim to enhance an entity’s performance, increase employee morale and motivation, and improve management accountability. In addition to strengthening quality management in government entities, Tarabot worked with its Iraqi partners to facilitate initiatives in organizational development, and to promote the concept and creation of a system to support this capacity at the national level–the ICEG.

To raise awareness of the ICEG and support its establishment, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Government of Iraq in training 755 staff members from across a range of ministries and entities in the core components of the Excellence model, providing them with the knowledge and capacity to apply it within their own organizations. Furthermore, Tarabot worked with its partner entities to consolidate their organizational development and quality management initiatives under the Excellence model, and assisted them in fulfilling the established criteria. Tarabot’s efforts have sparked interest from new entities, including six governorates that have submitted official letters requesting Tarabot’s assistance in implementing the program.

To date, guidelines and procedures for the ICEG and the Excellence award have been established through coordination with COMSEC, and are pending approval. (This is expected to be approved by the steering committee by the end of October).Tarabot has worked with selected ministries to pilot the ICEG program, and reengineered business process for seven entities to implement short and long term high impact transformation plans in service delivery.