Design Commission launches report into public services

The Design Commission is launching a report into the design of the UK’s public services.

The commission is a standing group comprising politicians and design industry representatives, that was set up last year to examine obstacles and opportunities in design.

At the end of last year it delivered its first report, into design education.

Now it is investigating how good design practice can be used more often in public services and policy-making.

The commission says, ‘We believe many of the failings in our range of public services are usually due to outdated or inappropriately  designed systems, and in most cases redesign (and constant, rather than one-off, redesign) will be required to meet cost-saving targets, improve services and make them more relevant.’

The inquiry will be led by Barry Quirk, chief executive of Lewisham Council, and Labour peer Baroness Kingsmill.

The commission is launching a call for evidence, which will feed into its inquiry.

It is looking for information around service design – asking for example if the UK is currently training enough service designers – and design capacity in local government – asking what the design community could do to make themselves more accessible to those in the sector.

It will also examine public service challenges – asking what role designers can play in generating social capital and civic engagement – and design capacity in central Government – looking at whether or not design is a missing skillset in Government.

The commission is interested in hearing from designers, people involved in local authorities and people involved in policy-making at Government level.

The call for evidence is open until November, and evidence can be submitted at

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