We're working with the Local Government Association to reimagine public service delivery.

At the end of 2015, Design Council partnered with the Local Government Association (LGA) to begin the second instalment of its Design in the Public Sector programme.

The LGA is the UK's politically-led, cross-party organisation that works on behalf of councils to ensure local government has a strong, credible voice with national government. The primary focus of the partnership is not about immediately transforming public services, but empowering staff and developing the skills required to help transform public services first.

As Melani Oliver, Programme Manager of Design in the Public Sector, explains: "The Programme develops individual skills, organisational capabilities and identifies solutions to challenges for public and private sector organisations. Above all it helps to develop a more innovative culture by equipping service commissioners and managers with proven user-centred design skills and tools to tackle challenges more innovatively".

This programme has tapped into a demand from local government officers ... for development in innovation skills and thinking and we have been impressed by the number of councils signing up.

Councillor David Simmonds, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement and Innovation Board

Public sector organisations bring their own ‘real-world’ projects to the training programme, where participants are exposed to critical design leadership and supported in a peer-learning environment to rethink and reframe their challenges and identify fresh, design-led opportunities. Central to this process is learning how to understand users’ needs, generate and prototype new ideas, and work collaboratively to develop better solutions at lower cost.

Councillor David Simmonds, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement and Innovation Board, explained why they have partnered with Design Council in this new venture:

"We recognise that there is a growing movement of design thinking and innovation in public services and the LGA is keen to equip more councils with the necessary tools and knowledge. As council's finances get tighter, we want to enable them to come up with radically different solutions to challenges faced so they can continue to provide excellent services to their communities.  

During the 120-day programme, public sector teams discover how design-led thinking can improve user experience and transform the way they approach their work.

Cllr Simmonds continues: "This programme has really tapped into a strong demand from local government officers and members for development in innovation skills and thinking and we have been impressed by the number of councils signing up."

During the 120-day programme, public sector teams discover how design-led thinking can improve user experience and transform the way they approach their work. The teams then receive the targeted guidance needed to implement new activity and tangible project and reconvene to share knowledge.

After its first 18 months, Design in the Public Sector was independently evaluated, which you can read here.  Examples of the type of challenge the programme helped councils with includes youth offending, tackling domestic abuse, community resilience, co-production, mental health and policing. 

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News & opinion

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