With the nation facing public health challenges of epidemic proportions, forward thinking local authorities are today invited to apply to the Design Council and the Local Government Association (LGA) Design in Public Sector programme to help address complex public health challenges using the design process and methods.

At a time when public health budgets are tight and resources stretched, design is increasingly recognised as a vital tool to help transform services in communities across the country. 

This year the programme is focusing specifically on public health challenges. Local authorities looking to tackle issues such as; reducing sexually transmitted infections, smoking in pregnancy and after childbirth, and drug and alcohol treatment pathways, can sign up to the programme where Design Council experts can support them and their health partners to collaboratively explore their challenges and identify opportunities to deliver positive change.

The programme provides a structured process, based on Design Council’s Framework for Innovation and globally recognised Double Diamond, that brings partners and communities together in teams to use the design process strategically to explore and address key public health challenges. Throughout the programme teams are building their skills and capabilities, creating new insights and evidence and shaping new opportunities that have the potential to deliver alternative and improved health outcomes.

To date design tools and methods learnt on the programme have been successfully adopted by over 60 Local Authorities so far. Over the past year some of the public health challenges the programme has supported include:

  • Improving patient’s health before surgery in Calderdale
  • Reducing unnecessary A&E visits by the over 75s in Epping Forest
  • Addressing high rates of teenage pregnancy amongst vulnerable groups in West Sussex
  • Building social connection and community-led services to reduce social isolation in Stockport

Cllr Paul Bettison OBE, Chairman, LGA Improvement and Innovation Board said:

“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. Public health is an area within local government being asked to deliver prevention strategies and improve the health of our communities and we believe an injection of design thinking will help them to achieve this”.

Sarah Weir OBE, Chief Executive, Design Council said:

“Design is increasingly being recognised as a critical tool to help transform services in communities across the globe. With increasing pressures on public health services and public-sector staff there is no better time for public health professionals to sign up to our Design in the Public Sector programme. Whatever the challenge, design experts will help professionals to explore the issues impacting them and identify new ideas and opportunities to bring about positive change”.

Local authorities across the country are invited to apply by 21 September.  For teams in the North the programme will be delivered in Leeds and at Design Council’s office in London for those in the South.

Design in Public Sector delivery dates:

Northern teams 

  • Masterclass for senior stakeholders: 2 November 2018 
  • Workshop 1 & 2: 12 & 13 November 2018 
  • Coaching: 17 January 2019 
  • Workshop 3: 1 February 2019 
  • Workshop 4: 25 February 2019
  • Coaching: 11 March 2019 
  • Workshop 5: 25 March 2019  

Southern teams 

  • Masterclass for senior stakeholders: 9 November 2018 
  • Workshop 1 & 2: 19 & 20 November 2018 
  • Coaching: 17 January 2019 
  • Workshop 3: 7 February 2019 
  • Workshop 4: 7 March 2019 
  • Coaching: 21 March 2019
  • Workshop 5: 4 April 2019  

Please visit Design in Public Sector for more information on how to apply.

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Find out more about Design in the Public Sector.

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