Design Does It for public sector design projects

With regard to your recent Design Business (DW 15 January), we believe that The Team has completed more design effectiveness entries and won more awards in the past five years for public sector work than any other consultancy – as evidenced by our listing at fourth in the Design Week league table for effectiveness (Creative Survey, November 2002).

That record, coupled with my knowledge and experience of the public sector design arena, is why I have instigated the Design Does It programme, in collaboration with both the Design Business Association and The Design Council.

The aim is simply to improve the effectiveness of design in the delivery of public services.

As part of my soapbox tour related to the programme, I made a presentation to MPs at the Parliamentary Design Forum last autumn as a representative of The Team and on behalf of the DBA. The theme was Towards a better procurement system for the public sector and I had seven minutes.

Here are my seven magic, easy-to-follow principles:

• Understand design. Don’t treat it like paper clips – this is the essence of ‘Lifecycle costing’.

• Listen to the supply side. Let the industry help; it can and wants to be more effective.

• Train the buyers. Design Does It equips clients with all the requisite knowledge, confidence and tools to be more effective.

• Consistency for the users. The OGC can help commissioners to match design needs, simply and accurately.

• Partners not just suppliers. Make more of relationships, enrol designers in policies and play them to strengths.

• Evaluate design effectiveness. Great ideas are not just a matter of personal taste, so measure the outcomes.

• Feedback and improvement. Ensure design is carrying its weight by committing to a design philosophy.

Julian Grice

Managing director

The Team

London SE1

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