Government faces design overhaul…

The Design Council has kicked off a major new initiative to improve the Government’s design management in all aspects of its operation. Design management consultant Jane Priestman will act as overall co-ordinator to the project.

The project will initially examine design management in four government departments, addressing each in terms of working environment, communication and design procurement.

The findings will then be translated to a list of proposals, with a view to implementing them across Government – including local government and government agencies.

Design Council government and media director Martin Brown says the form of the proposals has yet to be decided. Findings could potentially be used in design guidelines or courses, he adds.

The departments under review are the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the Department for Education and Employment; and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Each department has selected a “champion”, who will work closely with Priestman and The Design Council. The champions will report directly to their departments’ permanent Secretaries, described by Brown as “top-notch people”.

The Council expects the initial phase of the project to be completed at the end of the year, with quarterly meetings held until then.

There is no timescale for overall completion of the project, named Design Management in Government Departments: A project to improve the cost effectiveness of government.

Meanwhile, Priestman says the initiative is not directly related to The Design Council’s drive to make the DCMS an exemplar for effective design use.

“The two projects are along the same lines, but separate. This is the first time the Government has brought together several departments in the same [design] programme,” says Priestman.

The Design Council last week held the first in a series of events related to the initiative, at the Central Office of Information. The first quarterly meeting will be held on 3 February.

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