A report by the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) has called on the UK government to rethink its relationship with its design providers, and to explore design's potential to unlock innovation for the public sector.
"Design and the Public Good: Creativity versus the Procurement Process?" also predicts that increasing government pressure to innovate could be the catalyst for an improved relationship between the public sector and the design industry.
download: Design and the Public Good.pdf (2MB)
Previous efforts to improve standards of public sector procurement of creative services have seen only limited success, the report states.
There is now a real opportunity for the public services to re-design their routes to procurement by moving 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:
1. Improved understanding of design and innovation
2. A Chief Advisor for design and innovation
3. A campaign to raise the profile of design
4. A register of expert advisors
5. A design and procurement panel
6. A tailored training programme
7. An appropriate role for the COI
8. A single, simplified tender approach
9. A best practice pilot
10. An information and advisory service.