The Central Office of Information and the Design Business Association have agreed to meet to discuss the COI’s rostering arrangements and its practice of charging consultancies to provide information.
There has been an outcry from the design industry following news that the COI is charging consultancies a £50 administration fee just to consider their applications to be included on the roster.
The news that COI was putting together a roster of design consultancies broke at the same time that the practice of charging consultancies to pitch came to light. DBA members had complained that they were being charged £360 to pitch for an Environment Agency job and that Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College was charging £100 to put off time-wasters (DW 9 February).
However, within hours of Design Week being published designers began to complain that worse than even paying to pitch, the COI was asking them to pay to submit credentials.
COI publications and digital media director Michael Reid defends the procedure, but he stresses that the COI is keen to find ways of working with designers and the trade body.
The COI and the DBA disagreed over whether the information sent to the DBA last week included details of the charge. DBA chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill says that it would never have distributed it to members had it known.
Rowland-Hill says: “In opposing the practice of charging for information, the DBA will be pointing out that the money design businesses find to [pay for it] comes from clients in the end, because that’s where all their income comes from.”