Pressure mounts over procurement policies

Pressure from the design industry is forcing all political parties to face the need to review the design procurement strategy within government departments.

Shadow National Heritage Secretary Jack Cunningham re-affirmed Labour’s commitment to improving government procurement and pledged at a conference last week to provide training for design buyers in government departments.

“All government departments should lead by example on design in their procurement of buildings, goods and services,” Cunningham said at the Industry Forum conference, Labour and the Creative Economy.

Meanwhile, the Chartered Society of Designers is set to present its research paper on procurement to the Government in January, and the Design Council is lobbying the Government with a paper on better design procurement following a conference in May, Design Decisions: Effective Purchasing in the Public Sector.

Design Council director John Sorrell says all parties are becoming aware that design procurement “is an issue that people are concerned about. We are getting a strong consensus on the need for more investigation” into better buying practices.

Labour is alarmed by the rising costs of Imagination’s Millennium Exhibition, which is due to seek planning permission at the end of this month.

“I am uneasy about the apparent huge escalation of the costs of the Millennium Exhibition. It must not be allowed to run out of financial control by the present Government and pre-empt more years of funding, or present an incoming Labour Government with a huge deficit,” Labour’s Jack Cunningham said last week.

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