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Peer demands cross-government design strategy

The chair of CABE’s new ‘partner’ has called for a cross-Government strategy to recognise the importance of design

Design Council chairman Lord Bichard said well-designed departments could help drive the economic recovery and boost public services.

The claims come as the Council awaits the final green light from central government for a much-anticipated merger with design watchdog CABE.

Lord Bichard, a former senior civil servant, said at question time in the House of Lords: ‘Design is a powerful driver for economic recovery and for creating better public services at less cost.’

He asked business minister Baroness Wilcox: ‘Would you ensure that your department does take the lead in developing a strategy across government for design.

‘The lack of that at the moment means that design is not fully understood and not given the priority it deserves in all departments.’

Lady Wilcox replied: ‘The Government recognises the excellent work of the Design Council to promote the use of design to create more efficient and effective public services.’

She said that as a result of work with the body, Lewisham Council’s homelessness service now costs £1.2 million less than in 2008.

The minister also said the Government was ‘committed to the continued funding and support of a restructured Design Council’ and was working to implement the findings of the Temple review.

She added: ‘One of the recommendations was the Council should restructure to incorporate a broader cross-section of industry and society with representation at both the national and the local level.’

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