Let’s get behind one set of guidelinesfor procurement

Each time Design Week learns of a free pitch, it goes out of its way to highlight the breach of industry guidelines. This is very encouraging.

But where are these industry guidelines? Several exist, including those o British Design Innovation. However, national and regional design bodies need to get behind one set of guidelines if procurement procedures are to improve.

We all understand that the tendering procedures are in place to provide equal opportunity for ‘suppliers’. However, it has been said many times that a tender for creative services should be separated from that of manufactured product, construction or implementation services.

Only a collective and balanced response will move this issue forward to a more positive and appropriate means of engagement between client and creative firm.

This is a critical opportunity for the design and innovation associations, and professional bodies to collaborate.

We propose that procurement codes of conduct and client procurement guidelines be separated from all associations’ paid membership services. Instead, national and regional bodies should have equal logo endorsement, under a generic title, and provide the guidelines free of charge to design groups and clients.

The Design Council is looking for ways to support the design and innovation trade bodies and encourage collaboration. This could be a great opportunity for it to fund this work and equally to benefit from the results by using the Best Practice procurement materials to under pin its Designing Demand programme.

The Design Council has done a good job in raising the message that design brings value to a business. It is now time to balance that message by equally presenting design as a valuable professional service.

Maxine J Horn, Chief executive officer, British Design Innovation

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