APDIG_LogocpThe Associate Parliamentary Design & Innovation Group, in partnership with the DBA, launched the findings of a 6 month inquiry into procurement of design services with a reception and panel discussion in the House of Lords. Hosted by Baroness Whitaker, co-chair of the inquiry and design enthusiast, attendees were introduced to the findings and recommendations by DBA’s CEO Deborah Dawton after a welcome from the APDIG by Group Officer Barry Sheerman MP.    One of the APG’s founding members, 15 years ago, Barry said how pleased he was to see this new direction for the group, commending it as ‘the best way we’ve engaged with the broader design community.’ However he called for the design community to be more determined in their lobbying of government, in the mission to bring design to the heart of public life.

 ‘Through this report we’ve engaged some of the leading people in design, engaged parliamentarians from all parties. But the coming election poses a real challenge. The composition of the house will be changed fundamentally. Design is at the very heart of most of what we do as civilised human beings, and we’ve got to engage the people who run this country in a more meaningful way.  The DBA and the Design Council and the APDIG are part of that, but together we’ve got to be greater than the sum of the parts.  I challenge the design community to do better: because, I’m afraid to say, often the design community are pathetic at lobbying. There is nothing wrong with giving people in public life a really hard time. Especially if they think that design is just some nice add-on at the end of a process.  Design is at the heart of everything we should be doing as a modern, progressive, innovative society. This isn’t just a nice lunch. Make this the day that you devote your energies even more to spreading the importance of good design at the heart of public life.’

Following Barry’s rousing speech, the 120 assembled design industry professionals were given the oppportunity to question the inquiry’s steering group on the report’s 10 recommendations through a Q & A session.

ACID CEO Dids Macdonald, said, “This excellent initiative bodes well for “design” to be put further up the scale in Government Procurement Policy. As with all these initiatives it needs foot soldiers to make it happen. ACID members will be interested in the proposed improvements but it will only happen by taking up the mantle with their own MPs to ensure that design has its appropriate place in the Government Procurement process and, indeed Government policy as a whole. ACID’s interest in procurement stems from issues arising when intellectual property is infringed at the pitch/tender stage, sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly. Bearing in mind the ongoing “Free Pitching” debate and the need for heightened awareness of the value of IP created through creativity and innovation, I was disappointed to see no mention in the otherwise excellent recommendations. I would very much like to see intellectual property issues included in the Procurement Process and, in the case where there are disputes, a recommended move and commitment towards mediation as a credible alternative in dispute resolution”.

ACID is an Associate Member of the Design & Innovation Parliamentary Group

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