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Our history

In the early 1980s, governments and leaders of industry in the west had become concerned about the poor level of industrial productivity and the lack of competitiveness of business. Following the successful introduction of a national quality award (the Malcolm Baldrige Award) in the USA, and the European Quality Award, it was felt that UK industry would benefit from a similar initiative – recognising and promoting good practice in British business.

With government and industry backing, the UK Quality Award (now the UK Excellence Award) was established in 1993. The Award is promoted and managed by a new, independent, not-for-profit body called The British Quality Foundation (BQF). In addition to managing this new quality award, BQF also began to offer support to organisations, of all sizes and sectors. These organisations wanted to use the Business Excellence Model. By creating networking groups to encourage debate and knowledge sharing, BQF started a programme of best practice conferences and seminars, attracting over 1,500 member organisations within its first two years.

Going forward, we will continue to support organisations to achieve excellence through remaining true to our core principle of placing the membership at the heart of all our decisions, actions and plans. We should all take great pride in the reputation that BQF has created since it was founded in 1993 and, arguably, our role in enabling excellence in organisations and supporting our members in their excellence journeys has never been more important than it is right now.  The pillars of the BQF Member Community, the BQF Academy services and our certification and recognition schemes will continue to equip you well to survive and thrive in your own particular context.

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BQF endorsement and certification


Celebrating your success


Levels of Excellence