Kingston Council is being taken to task for what designers claim is an ‘unfair and damaging’ free tender to appoint a roster of design consultancies.
Cog Design director Michael Smith has written to the council complaining that the tender calls for ‘quite a lot of creative work with no fee for that work’.
‘We believe that asking a creative company to produce work for free is counter-productive to your needs and, at worst, unfair and damaging to the process of tendering for work,’ he writes in an e-mail to the council sent on 17 June.
The council is currently trying to put together a roster of graphics and branding consultancies that will remain in place for the next three to five years.
‘We wish to work with suppliers that care about design as much as we do, and who are prepared to illustrate their commitment to that partnership,’ a council spokesman tells Design Week.
‘We do not think it is unreasonable, when establishing a creative partnership, to ascertain the creative credentials of our partners before committing public money,’ he continues.
Smith wrote in his e-mail that ‘the [free pitching] process will have dramatically limited the pool of talent that could have been called upon by the borough’. However, the council claims that it has received expressions of interest from more than 300 groups.
Design groups with recent experience of similar situations are invited to contact the newsdesk.