The government should rethink its relationship with its design providers and explore design’s potential to unlock innovation for the public sector, according to a new report

Report calls for design procurement shake-up

The report, titled Design and the Public Good: Creativity versus the Procurement Process? predicts that increasing government pressure to innovate could be the catalyst for an improved relationship between the public sector and the design industry.

Previous efforts to improve standards of public sector procurement of creative services have seen only limited success. The report calls for a move to outcome-based commissioning – a shift that would support SME engagement and benefit the end-user.

“Government tries to choose design, when actually it needs to get better at choosing designers,” said one contributor. “There seems to be an absolute acceptance to pay for science but a reluctance to pay the right price for creativity – creative thinking or design,” said another.

The report’s recommendations include improved understanding of design and innovation, the appointment of a chief adviser for design and innovation, a campaign to raise the profile of design and a register of expert advisers. It also wants to see a design and procurement panel and a single, simplified tender approach.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

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