MPs unite to urge free design advice

Advice from design counsellors in the Business Link network should be free to businesses looking to work with design consultancies, says an all-party trade and industry committee of MPs.

The MPs have been investigating the Business Links network and this week published their report, highlighting the special nature of design.

The MPs, who considered evidence submitted to the committee by the Chartered Society of Designers, acknowledge the importance of design to competitiveness and say that this importance “has been consistently under-rated by UK industry”.

The report by the MPs “recommends that the Department of Trade and Industry reconsider the wisdom of charging for the services of design counsellors”.

The report says Business Links “themselves provided us with relatively little information about design counsellors. Although one client who gave evidence had been referred to a design counsellor, one Business Link was ‘not convinced that the demand is there’.” Despite this, the committee of MPs believes design counsellors should be considered as a “special case”.

While most, if not all, businesspeople will be aware of the significance of exports or innovation and technology, “this is less often the case with design and part of the reason for design counsellors is to encourage businessmen to take design more seriously”, say the MPs.

See News Analysis, page 8.

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