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Lordly views

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Little was made of Lord Foster's recent maiden speech in the House of Lords, during a debate on 'design in public services'. His contribution was brief and to the point, and a good example of the benefits of having people in the Lords who know what they are talking about. The chances of a Foster or Rogers standing for election to a reformed second chamber seem remote, and suggest that New Labour has a point in opposing an all-elected chamber. On the other hand, it is disappointing that having had two decades to think about it, all they can come up with is appointment by Tone. Oh well.

Among the other good contributions to the Lords debate was that of Lord Freyberg, who quoted CABE research on the dearth of planning officers with design qualifications, and the Audit Commission report on design quality in schools. Lord Rodgers (ex-Gang of Four and former director-general of the RIBA) warned about the way PFI might 'diminish the design factor in the complicated equation of construction', and made a sensible plea for cross-party agreement on the role of design.

The debate is worth a read and can be found on the Hansard website.

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