Industry bodies seek future role

A far-reaching strategic review has been instigated by industry bodies to look at the way design is represented in the UK and to come up with a blueprint for the future.

The move, initiated by Design Business Association chairman Jonathan Sands, promises to end years of concern about existing industry trade bodies. The review could lead to the formation of a unified body.

Backed by the DBA, the Chartered Society of Designers and the Design Council, the review will fall into two main phases. The first involves creating a vision for design representation and drawing up an action plan for change. The second will be to implement that plan.

London change management consultancy Kingsley Lord has been brought in to structure the first phase, due to be completed in June/July to a budget of

35 000. The Design Council will contribute 25 000. The DBA is giving 5000 and the CSD is poised to agree a similar contribution. It is planned that implementation costs be raised from the design industry once the first stage findings are available.

The review will trawl the opinion of the design industry, clients and various organisations about the DBA and CSD and about how design would be best represented externally. This will include how the industry talks to government on issues like procurement. A questionnaire will be circulated to Design Week readers and DBA and CSD members later this month and the results will inform a two- to three-day conference of some 80 invited delegates planned for mid-June.

All sectors of design will be represented at the conference, along with “movers and shakers” from outside the industry.

Delegates will create the vision and set the agenda for implementation.

The findings will be taken up by the review team, which includes Sands, CSD president Nick Jenkins, Design Council design director Sean Blair and Design Week editor Lynda Relph-Knight. That team will develop the action plan.

The initiative is based on a briefing document prepared by Sands in collaboration with the DBA council over the past few months and circulated to relevant parties. “We’re approaching this with a very open mind,” says Sands, though he accepts the changes prescribed could be “radical”.

“We’re not trying to lead members in any way. It’s not just a study to weld the DBA and CSD together, we’re looking to improve on what we’ve got.”

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