DBA members earn Stripes in new accreditation scheme

The Design Business Association is to introduce a number of initiatives aimed at improving the design buying process for both its members and their clients.

The schemes, which will include an accreditation system, a directory of members and a series of international events with UK Trade & Investment are currently in development, and are expected to launch this autumn.

The DBA directory, intended to aid the client procurement process and expected to launch in early 2008, will be available in both print and on-line formats.

Clients will be able to search for DBA member design consultancies by specialism, region or area of expertise.

According to newly-elected president, Nick Ramshaw, the initiatives have come about as a result of the number of enquiries the DBA receives from clients about selecting design consultancies.

DBA Stripes – the planned accreditation system – is intended to badge member consultancies that have completed procurement training courses, in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, as ‘procurement ready’, as well as taking into account those consultancies that have fared well in the DBA’s effectiveness awards.

‘These [schemes] will hopefully answer a lot of the queries we get from clients. Consultancies will be in a better position to show clients that they have a certain area of expertise or to show that they have done particularly well in design effectiveness,’ says Ramshaw.

Ramshaw says that the DBA would also think about offering clients procurement training, but points out that, at this stage, such details are still being worked out.

The DBA is also to focus on helping its members export their services by offering practical and legal advice in setting up overseas offices.

In conjunction with the UKTI, the DBA is planning a series of events – the first to be held in Russia in the autumn – that will provide information on local markets for design groups looking to break into that particular area.

• Membership stood at 360 design consultancies at the close of 2006
• Ramshaw’s aim is that membership reaches 500 within the next two years
• 50 per cent of the DBA’s membership is comprised of design consultancies from outside London

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