Approval for Business Links’ accreditation

With the demise of the Design Council registration scheme and the subsequent Consultancy Brokerage Service, Lynda Relph-Knight is right to be concerned about how Business Links select suitable consultants (Comment, DW 19 April).

With the demise of the Design Council registration scheme and the subsequent Consultancy

Brokerage Service, Lynda Relph-Knight is right to be concerned about how Business Links select suitable consultants (Comment, DW 19 April).

Birmingham Business Link is one of the longest running Links and started its own accreditation scheme soon after its inception. This scheme has now been adopted for Business Links in the whole of the West Midlands, using the acronym LUCI (Link Up Consultancy Index) and in the East Midlands and Eastern Region under the title Selectassure. Accreditation in either scheme is accepted by the other scheme.

It is anticipated that a similar arrangement will spread to other areas. Accreditation is a requirement for the currently funded

Diagnostic Consultancy Scheme in these areas. Consultants from all disciplines, including design, are accredited.

The process requires references from four clients and includes a face-to-face interview with the consultant. Each consultant can register for four specialisms, and individual consultants are also registered. The annual registration fee is 275. This scheme complies with Ms Relph-Knight’s request for an “approved list” which does not require listees to join a design body.

The register being set up by the Chartered Society of Designers and Design Business Association will undoubtedly benefit its applicants, but it is unlikely that any Business Links will use it since they are collectively seeking to establish regional accreditation of service providers in all disciplines. Each scheme would recognise the standards of the other, thereby creating a unified national scheme with single entry point for consultants through their local Business Link for a single entry fee.

The premise is that this would be more cost-effective than consultants having to pay several times to join several different schemes applicable to a variety of market places.

Keith Dunton

Design counsellor

Business Link Birmingham

Birmingham B15 3DH

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