Can ethical groups such as Wrap ask for free pitches?

Unfortunately, I have just declined to tender for a project that we were all excited about here at Jab Design. The organisation, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, is calling for tenders from product designers to develop boxes for collecting batteries for recycling.

The reason for our withdrawal was the requirement at the start of the invitation for concepts, ahead of being awarded the job. Wrap has informed me that the call for up-front concepts is to help the decision-making process. It has also stated that a written application will not be disadvantaged when compared to a visual concept submission. My understanding of human psychology suggests otherwise.

We have advised Wrap to consult with design bodies such as British Design Innovation, the Design Business Association and the Chartered Society of Designers, which could advise it as to best practice in commissioning designers.

Jonathan Butters, Managing director, Jab Design Consultancy, Liverpool L1 0AJ

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