Design Council and Cabe confirm merger

The Design Council and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment have confirmed that they are to merge from 1 April.

The Design Council is keeping its name and the new body will operate as an independent charity with a Royal Charter. It will remain in its Bow Street headquarters, with Cabe staff transferring over.

The merged organisation will be funded through a combination of sources, including grants from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A spokesman for the Design Council says the organisation will operate as a ‘one-stop shop’ for design and will provide the architectural design review services previously offered by Cabe, as well as the design challenges previously facilitated by the Design Council.

A new governance structure is set to be put in place, and the Design Council is currently consulting with Cabe staff to finalise their roles in the new organisation.

A letter from Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, which was leaked to the press last week, suggests that around 20 Cabe staff will be transferred to the Design Council under the new arrangement.

It is understood that Design Council chief executive David Kester will remain as chief executive of the new organisation, with Cabe chief executive Richard Simmons reported to be stepping down.

It is unclear as yet who of Design Council chairman Lord Bichard and Cabe chairman Paul Finch will be chairman of the new organisation.

Housing and Local Government Minister Grant Shapps says, ‘I want local residents themselves to have a much greater say over how their communities are designed. By merging these elements of the Design Council and Cabe we can continue to improve the local support that is available for people to do this, and build on a strong track record in offering mentoring, training and support.’

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