Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions when councils apply to be part of the Design in the Public Sector Programme. If you have a question that is not covered below, contact us on designprogrammes@designcouncil.org.uk.

Programme Information

What is the purpose of this programme?

Delivered in partnership between the LGA and the Design Council the Design in the Public Sector programme equips councils with design skills and techniques to apply to their toughest service challenges. Through an intensive team-based approach, Design Council experts (Design Associates) will help you build an understanding of how design practices can enable local government professionals to shape and deliver improved services. You’ll tackle a real-world, live project, using strategic design processes and methods and working collaboratively with partners.

How long does the programme run for?

The programme is delivered over 18 weeks so that you can work on a live project, reviewing and developing it to deliver real impact for your organisation and your residents. The programme consists of five one-day workshops spread over the 18 weeks, with two coaching sessions between them to help you troubleshoot and keep your projects on track. Each day of the programme will introduce you to design-led tools and methods which will be used in practice by your team to discover, define, develop and ultimately deliver your projects. 

What is expected of successful applicants?

To be a successful applicant you will already be actively working to transform public services and deliver alternative models supporting prevention. You will need to have a clear view of the challenge you are trying to address and the outcomes you are looking to achieve. It’s also important that your team are open, collaborative and committed to working with new approaches and methods, as well as being able to work independently.

It is key that your whole team are available for each of the five one-day workshops, as well as being able to commit the time in-between.

How many hours should we expect to work on our projects between workshop days?

Outside of the workshops your team is expected to take the time it would ordinarily invest in developing a real-world project. Typically, each team should work towards matching the contact days of the programme. Therefore, one workshop day should mean one day's contact time with your team. This can be split any way you wish.

How many teams can participate in the programme?

Up to eight teams in the North and eight teams in the South will be supported through the programme. Working alongside teams from other councils, you’ll collaborate and share learning, as well as building connections across regions. Collaboration continues outside of the workshops through a digital space which enables teams to share their insights and experiences as they go.

Communications and Media

We want to write a press release to announce our successful application onto the programme. Is that ok?

Absolutely. If you would like to issue a press release, please let us know as we can share this with our media contacts and promote your announcement via our social media channels. As a courtesy, all that we ask is that you send a copy to designprogrammes@designcouncil.org.uk so that we can make sure Design Council and the LGA are referenced correctly.

Can we publicise the fact that we are on the programme?

Yes, we actively encourage you to share learnings internally within your council and externally via blogs, case studies, events, social and other suitable media.

Are we allowed to take photos during the programme?

Yes, we encourage it. As part of the programme you will be asked to document your journey – this includes capturing insights at each workshop that will provide you with an opportunity to reflect upon the programme, the process Design Council lead you through, the impact the programme has on your chosen projects and the impact of the programme within your council(s). Photography and social media posts can form a part of your journey and add richness to your storytelling.


How do I apply?

Applications will be hosted digitally via a platform called F6S. You need to access F6S via Chrome internet browser and register for an account with F6S using your work email before you can complete your application. To apply please visit our Design in the Public Sector page.

When is the deadline for the application submitted?

The deadline for applications is midday Friday, 26th July 2019. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.

How do I know you have received my application?

Once you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email to the email address you used to set up your F6S profile (please remember to check any spam/junk folders). If you signed up using Facebook or LinkedIn, emails will be sent to the address attached to your account. If you do not receive an email, please contact us and we will be able to confirm whether your application has been successfully submitted.

Who can apply?

Applications must be council-led. However, it is key that partners and providers are involved in the process and part of your team where possible. Within the application please clarify how you plan to secure their involvement in the process and where possible supply evidence of their engagement and commitment to doing so.

What scale of project or challenge should we apply with?

The challenge needs to be achievable, strategically aligned to your organisation, and you need to show how you can make an impact using the programme. Rather than, for example, redesigning your organisation’s whole approach to commissioning, smaller-scale and more tangible projects would be preferable. Projects put forward should be of importance at both a local and national level to provide peer learning for other organisations. Where possible, your application should have evidence conveying the scale and strategic nature of the challenge.

Can we submit more than one application?

Yes, a council can submit more than one application; however each application needs to address a different challenge.

Would you accept joint application from councils?

Yes, you can form a joint application with another council if it provides the opportunity to deliver a meaningful solution. However, you need to show how both councils will see the outcome and benefit from the programme. We also encourage councils to join up with other public sector partners.

Do you have any examples of challenges that we can look at?

Challenges that have previously been supported by the Design in Public Sector programme include:

For more examples, please explore the LGA website for case studies from previous cohorts.

How many people can be in the team?

There can be up to five members in your team, including your project manager. Applications must be led by the council; however, we encourage collaboration with other organisations such as other councils, CCGs, third sector partners, NHS and blue light services and community groups. If agencies wish to apply, they must partner with a council.

How should we involve partners or providers?

We are open to how partners and providers should be involved. This could be through attendance at the workshops or through the activity you take forward in-between the sessions.

Who should our sponsor be?

Your sponsor should be someone able to champion your involvement in the programme and provide senior-level support and responsibility for the delivery of your project, e.g. a Director of Public Health.

When completing the application, do we need to use the entire word count in our responses?

The word count is for guidance only, if you feel you can provide us with the relevant information in your response using less than the word count – brilliant!

Who will be reviewing our applications?

Senior stakeholders from the Local Government Association (the programme funders) and a representative from Design Council.

Programme workshops

How long does each day run for? What are the expected start and finish times?

Each workshop day will run from 09:30-16:30.

Where will workshops be held?

Throughout the programme, workshops will be held at the following locations:

  • Manchester, venue to be confirmed.
  • London. Design Council, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London EC1V 4AB.

How do I know if I’m in the northern or southern group?

Teams will be geographically grouped during the selection process. If for some reason you would not want to be geographically grouped (e.g. transport options are such that it’s easier for you to attend the location which is technically further away) then please reference this in your application.

What are the dates?

The key programme dates can be viewed on the main Design in the Public Sector page

Are the dates for delivery flexible?

No, therefore we encourage you to block out all delivery dates as shown in the application form.

Are participants expected to bring anything along to the workshop days?

No, all materials will be supplied for you at each workshop.

Who needs to attend from each council? Can it be anyone?

The programme aims to work with officers within councils who can lead and influence service development and redesign. This means that the programme involves participants from a mix of areas, such as centrally located ‘Transformation’ or ‘Business Improvement Teams’ as well as those involved in the delivery of public services.

Can the team members change throughout the delivery days?

No, it is integral to the success of the programme that the core team members make every effort to attend each day of the programme. Naturally, we understand that in unforeseen circumstances this may not be possible. In this instance, we ask each team to arrange another attendee to replace any absent members.

How much does it cost to participate?

The programme is funded by the Local Government Association. Participating teams will be responsible for all travel costs to the workshops and any overnight accommodation required. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

What ongoing evaluation will there be?

Before, during and after the programme, Design Council will ask you to take impact surveys to measure the progress of your project. Once the 5 days of training has finished the LGA will undertake monthly phone calls with you to support progress and monitor impact.

Find out more

Find out more about Design in the Public Sector.

Find out more

Apply for the programme

Find out more and apply here.


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