National support networks still need industry backing

I read with interest your recent Comment (DW 31 January). I wholeheartedly support any initiative to move design(ing) into its appropriately strategic position.

It’s often the case that design and creativity are paid lip-service in strategic regional and national initiatives, but, surprisingly, the policies and implementations are rarely informed by, or use, the senior design communities and networks available in the UK.

You might like to look at the Greater Merseyside Enterprise’s website, GME is an amalgamation of several North West Business Links, but significantly re-organised to deliver the Department of Trade and Industry’s Small Business Service as well as manage and deliver a significant European Objective One programme.

Right at the top of its strategy in supporting regional industry is the field of new product development.

I wonder how much engagement the Design Council, Chartered Society of Designers, the Design Business Association and the like have had in formulating the delivery and design support mechanisms within this framework.

Although there are some worthy and design-experienced individuals within GME, it should be joined up on a far larger scale with national strategies and networks (I suspect that it might not be).

The budget for this programme of supporting growth in Merseyside businesses was originally between £200m and £300m.

It is currently being scaled down, allegedly.

Jonathan Butters

Principal designer

Jab Design


L17 5AA

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