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The need to act on the climate crisis is clear. Design plays a crucial role in bringing about real, lasting change – with public sector workers being the ones who can create the conditions for that change. We really look forward to working with local authority teams, teaching them all-important design skills, helping them to imagine new possibilities, and supporting them as they develop innovative ways to protect our precious planet, people and ecosystems.

Sarah Weir, Design Council's Chief Executive

Overview

Our Design in the Public Sector programme supports public sector leaders to explore key challenges affecting their local communities and identify innovative opportunities to deliver positive and sustainable change. Using Design Council’s Framework for Innovation and globally recognised Double Diamond, the programme supports councils and their partners to further explore the needs and wants of their residents and place them at the heart of the decisions they make and public services they design. The programme also develops key skills and capabilities to embed new ways of working across the sector. 

Download the key facts

For more information, read the Design in the Public Sector key facts.

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About the programme

The aims of the Design in the Public Sector Programme this year are to: 

  • Build cross-sector partnerships that collaboratively explore climate challenges locally to generate demonstrator projects
  • Build design skills and capabilities within the council and across partners, to reduce the impact of climate change, through mitigation or adaptation
  • Deliver an accelerated learning experience for local authorities
  • Create new insights and evidence to understand where to act
  • Enable new ways of working with partners and stakeholders
  • Create a community of practice around climate action across the sector sharing best practice, insight and key learning  
  • To use the evidence and insight generated around climate action to inform policy recommendations
  • Funded by the LGA, to date, the programme has supported 70 local authority led teams and over 350 public sector leaders to address multiple service challenges across all English regions. 

Who is the programme for?

The programme supports teams of decision-makers actively involved in reimaging climate challenges locally.

We look for applications led by councils across England that;

  • want to tackle a climate change challenge
  • lead the project, involving local partners from across the public sector
  • are endorsed by your Chief Executive or a senior sponsor (e.g. a Director-level)
  • have the capacity to undertake the programme which will include a commitment to a series of online workshops, coaching support and peer show and tell sessions
  • are willing to share learning and experiences from the programme with other councils across the country.

Read the FAQs

For more information, view our Design in the Public Sector FAQs

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Apply now

The programme is now open for applications. Please note, challenges put forward should be themed around climate change. The application deadline is 5pm, Friday 4 September 2020.

Key programme dates

  • Programme launch – Wednesday, 28 October 2020
  • Workshop 1 – Wednesday, 18 November 2020
  • Show & Tell 1 – Wednesday, 9 December 2020
  • Workshop 2 – Wednesday, 20 January 2020
  • Show & Tell 2 – Wednesday, 10 February 2020
  • Workshop 3 – Wednesday, 3 March 2020
  • Show & Tell 3 – Wednesday, 24 March 2020
  • Workshop 4 – Wednesday, 21 April 2020
  • Show & Tell 4 – Wednesday, 12 May 2020
  • Final showcase – June 2020 (date to follow)

Now open for applications!

To apply for the Design in the Public Sector programme, click on the link below.

Apply Now

Resources

Brent Council: Keeping vulnerable young people safely in the community Brent Council wanted to develop their support for children, young people and their families through our Design in the Public Sector programme. Brent Council wanted to develop their support for children, young people and their families through Design in the Public Sector.

Case study — 12/09/2018

Five things we learned at Design in the Public Sector Ellen Care, Transformation and Change Officer for the London Borough of Bexley, gives us her top 5 things she will take from her time on the programme Ellen Care, Transformation and Change Officer for the London Borough of Bexley, gives us her top 5 things she will take from the programme.

Feature — 23/07/2018

Hackney Council: Connecting services to support the health of tenants in private housing Hackney Council applied for the Design Council’s Design in the Public Sector programme, funded by the Local Government Association, to find ways to deal with the health challenges some of their residents were facing. Hackney Council applied to Design in the Public Sector to find ways to deal with the health challenges some of their residents were facing.

Case study — 11/07/2018

Doncaster Council: Embedding user-centred design in local government David Ayre from Doncaster Council reflects on his experience of using design thinking to help address public health issues through our Design in the Public Sector programme. David Ayre from Doncaster Council reflects on his experience of using design thinking to help address public health issues.

Feature — 29/03/2018