Scottish free-pitching action gathers pace

Scottish design groups and the Design Business Association are pressing ahead with their Best Practice Initiative against free-pitching.

The year-old campaign asks consultancies taking part to refrain from free-pitching. Consultancies at a year-on review meeting reported a mix of positive and negative effects of the voluntary agreement.

Several groups say business has been affected, with lost leads and opportunities. But others says positive progress is being made.

Andrew Hunter, DBA Scotland chairman and managing director of McIlroy Coates, says he has “no regrets” for taking the stance against speculative pitches. Clients with professional commissioning practices have supported the initiative, he says.

David Gerrard, principal at Edinburgh group Gerrard & Medd which is active in the initiative, says the campaign will move on this year. The Local Enterprise Councils are a big target for the campaign, as they are both influential and large buyers of design.

“We are going to try to build relationships with people rather than tackle them in a confrontational way,” says Gerrard. “We have to find out from clients why they ask for free-pitches, and whether there is a way forward to a better solution for everybody.”

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