Public sector design buyers need quality not quantity

It’s terrific to see the public sector being given so much coverage in Design Week, but Richard Clayton’s article Working in the Public Eye (News Analysis, DW 17 April 2003) truly disappointed me.

It’s not breaking news to read that rosters are an issue for the public sector, and of course we want to see civil servants working with their designers as partners not suppliers.

And emphatically, yes, we would like to see expert design buying across all Government departments – but hasn’t Clayton missed the whole point?

The last thing these beleaguered design buyers need is a deluge of propositions from needy, struggling design consultancies who see the public sector as their own personal meal ticket.

What they need are design consultancies that are committed to communicating complex messages in ‘hard-to-reach’ markets not usually targeted by industry, that are clear about their strengths and how they can help this sector, and that are willing to play a more supporting role with their design buyer.

As Government adapts to market forces, becoming more and more customer-focused, the work of the civil servant will become tougher and tougher.

Thank God the public sector’s procurement policies are so hellishly rigorous, it might just prevent every man and his dog with an iMac from attempting to ‘cash in’.

Public sector design buyers need all the quality help they can get from their design consultancies right now.

Polly Hosp

Innovation consultant


London EC1

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