Links lists bypass CSD

Business Link design counsellors are “unlikely” to use the register of design consultancies being set up by the Chartered Society of Designers, claims one of the network’s longest established design counsellors.

Keith Dunton, design counsellor for Business Link Birmingham, says his area has set up its own register for service suppliers and the East Midlands has followed suit. “Counsellors are more likely to use these registers because the consultancies listed on them have been through an accreditation process,” he says.

The West Midlands register is called the Link Up Consultancy Index (LUCI) and the East Midlands’ is named Selectassure. The annual registration fee is 275 and accreditation is awarded by a London company called Performance Audit. Accreditation in either scheme is accepted by counsellors in both areas.

Consultancies appointed by client companies which apply for the Link’s Diagnostic Consultancy Scheme – the discount scheme which enables clients to claim up to 50 per cent of their consultancy fees from Department of Trade and Industry funds – have to be on either the LUCI or Selectassure registers.

Dunton claims other Business Link regions are likely to set up their own schemes and design counsellors in other regions are agreeing. “Eventually other Business Links will either set up their own accredited networks or join systems like LUCI and Selectassure,” says David Murray, design counsellor for Walsall.

Murray adds that “letting the Design Consultancy Register go down the drain was a grave strategic mistake on the part of the CSD and the Design Business Association. It worked and was effective, and now it seems they’re starting the process again”.

But Brian Lymbery, the CSD’s director, says it’s “too soon for design counsellors anywhere to say what will or won’t happen. We still have an open mind as to how the register will develop and we’re working with the Design Council on looking at the needs of clients and other users”. Lymbery adds that more details on the CSD register will be available next month.

See Letters, page 11.

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