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Inquiry: Redesigning Public Services
This inquiry is sponsored by
Read more about:
- the inquiry overview
- our hypothesis and terms of reference
- the steering group and the inquiry process
- the Design Commission's submission to the Open Public Services White Paper consultation
- evidence submitted
To contribute to the inquiry contact the secretariat
0207 202 8588
0207 202 8588
32-36 Loman Street
London SE1 0EH
The Design Commission’s second project, sponsored by the Design Council, AHRC, and Capita, and co-chaired by Barry Quirk and Baroness Kingsmill, will look at the emerging area of theory and practice around ‘designing’ policy and public services. We believe many of the failings in our range of public services are usually due to outdated or inappropriately designed systems, and in most cases, redesign (and constant, rather than one-off, redesign) will be required to meet cost-saving targets, improve services, and make them more relevant. The purpose of the inquiry is to identify, and publicise, how good design practice can be brought to bear more often in the realms of policymaking and public service provision.
Open Call for Evidence
The Design Commission welcomes contributions to the inquiry from all stakeholders. Please use the questions below as a guide to the types of information we are looking for, supporting your comments with real examples where possible.
You can submit evidence by emailing us here, or by downloading and completing the evidence submission form. The call for evidence closes at the end of November.
- Are we training enough service designers? If every local government recruited a service designer tomorrow, would there be enough?
- Do we need specific service design courses, or can it be learnt through other disciplines?
- What encourages designers to/discourages them from working with government?
- Are there things public services can learn from commercial private sector service providers? Or is this a false comparison?
- Is design thinking a useful concept? Is it possible to embed a design approach amongst non-designers (i.e. government employees)?
- Do designers risk doing themselves out of a job by skilling civil servants?
- How can service/ social design be used to empower citizens?
- What puts government off working with designers?
Design capacity in local government
- How do we expand the influence of design in public services (delivery and policy)? If the benefits are so clear, why is uptake so low?
- Where would those working in local government go to learn more about design?
- How can we embed a general recognition amongst public servants that what they are often engaged in is the act of design?
- An experimental approach is rarely compatible with the dominant political culture, where certainty is required and U-turns famously are frowned upon. What do we do about this?
- What could the design community do to make themselves more accessible?
Public service challenges
- What are/ will be the most pressing public service challenges over the next 10-20 years?
- What role can designers, design skills, and design thinking play in generating social capital and civic engagement?
- Is design relevant/ useful at all?
- What does it take to create cultural change within government?
- What does it take to create structural change within government?
- Will we ever overcome political short-termism and risk aversion?
Design capacity in central government
- How good is the UK government at imagining and planning for future scenarios?
- What sort of evidence bases do governments typically rely on in drawing up policy, and what might be missing?
- How do policymakers get to know their users?
- Are there examples from other countries of design skills being used at the highest level in governing and policy formation (above service delivery)?
- Is ‘design’ a missing skillset/ capacity in government?
- Do we need more professional designers embedded in policymaking?
- Do we need more policymakers trained with some rudimentary design skills?
- Are some areas of policymaking more suitable for design input than others?
- Are our designers suitably trained for this kind of challenge?