Public-sector clients need help with briefs

It’s good to see public-sector design procurement issues being addressed (News Analysis, DW 4 March). There are certainly some serious questions that need answering.

If you look at some of the stuff that goes out to tender, it can be rather scary. I’ve seen many local government contracts that are complete catch-alls, which include design, print, Web design and management, photocopying – and lots of it.

I’m sure there are companies who would lap up this sort of stuff, but probably not too many small consultancies which could provide a great service delivering the creative front end.

And then there’s the question of contracts that many of us recognise as a waste of public-sector money but are hard to turn down… and the constantly changing brief from a department that doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to manage a design brief (not necessarily their fault). Some of us pride ourselves on challenging a brief, even rewriting it before starting, but this is never easy with a new client – especially when it reaches the point where we should be saying, ’You shouldn’t be doing this’.

I hope these are among the issues being addressed by the Associate Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group’s report.

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