Creative taskforce asks design experts for help

The Government’s Creative Industries Taskforce is to appoint the Design Business Association and the Design Council to a new advisory group.

The two bodies will advise the taskforce on its programme for design, one of the 11 creative sectors under review.

The appointments follow a period of uncertainty as the taskforce – set up last December to define, quantify and develop the creative sectors – struggled to find a clear design focus.

Many in the design industry felt the taskforce as it stood lacked the necessary resources and expertise to carry out the project (DW 20 February).

DBA chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill has previously criticised the taskforce for not consulting the DBA.

“This is a very welcome development. The Government clearly regards design as a valuable part of our economy,” he says.

The advisory body has not yet been officially set up. It is likely to be in place before the end of April when the taskforce has its next meeting. Details of its remit are yet to be finalised.

But the DBA believes the Government is still not pushing the sector hard enough. DBA chairman Colin Porter has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair, urging him to facilitate a single body to oversee design exports.

“It seems to us that while the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Department of Trade and Industry and the British Council all do good work in promoting UK design, there is little or no co-ordination about who does what, with whom and where,” says the letter.

“The choice of which designers or designs to promote also seems idiosyncratic at times, appearing to rely on personal contacts and word of mouth rather than objective criteria,” it continues.

Porter says the problem is exacerbated by a lack of design knowledge within some Government departments and agencies.

The DBA is also working on proposals for education and training in the sector.

It will argue that there is a need to pull together the educational activities of the Department for Education and Employment, the DTI and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

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