Why it matters

In the context of a rapidly ageing population and the increasing difficulty of delivering a 21st century public health service on the back of a 20th century system, we need to radically rethink our approach to ensure quality care when and where it is most needed.

To meet this challenge we will need to broaden the notion of care from eligibility measured services to the responsibility of the community. It's a challenge of wider collaboration between individuals and carers, family and friends, neighbours and volunteers and professionals. This more radical approach requires real imagination. We invite you to be a partner in this important mission.


We’ve chosen four themes that we believe will make a difference and together with care professionals, technology companies and others, we will start to put our thoughts into action.

1. Growing informal care

How do we increase the care contribution of family, friends and the wider community?

A better integrated health and social care system will be unlikely to possess all of the public resources needed to meet demand. We have to think beyond integration and look to a more collaborative approach – working with families, friends and the wider community to build sustained relationships. We need to design simpler ways for people to connect and support one another despite their busy lives.

2. Transforming our homes

How do we make homes that better support wellbeing?

As our needs change we have to adapt our living spaces, accommodating our changing physical and cognitive abilities. But how exactly do we do that when there is so little available in the mass market and so little to which to aspire? We need to design better products, services and spaces, and show that embracing a wide range of ability is something positive for mainstream business.​

3. Enabling better choices

How can we support people to make effective choices for their own care needs or those of a loved one?

More individuals are making care choices than ever before as they manage personal care budgets or fund their own care. We need to support individuals and their carers to plan ahead as well as to help make effective choices when they have a personal or family crisis. We need to design simple tools that make the most of the expert advice and support that is available, but also that help individuals work out what is right for them.

Watch this video about some of the insights that emerged from a recent 'enabling better choices' roundtable discussion with Barclays:

4. Places and spaces for care

What are the best environments in which to deliver collaborative care?

The quality of the built environment has a profound influence on our behaviours and experiences. If the expectation is of a care system more personal, preventative and integrated, then where should care happen and what should it feel like? The GP surgery and hospital are not enough, we need to design new spaces in new places.


Design Council is seeking funds for Design for Care from trusts, foundations, public and private funds and third sector organisations. We have identified three main partnership levels:

Investment Partner

A small number of public, private and third sector organisations to seed fund the initial stages of the programme. Once the solutions are clearer, we expect there to be the opportunity for investment partners to ‘pick and choose’ what ideas they wish to invest in; but to start with we propose a pooled programme fund. Investment partners may well increase in number in the latter stages.

Delivery Partner

The innovations and knowledge generated will be of global relevance, but we must start more locally, piloting in multiple UK localities before scaling internationally in later phases. We will be inviting three to five UK delivery partners to engage to develop and pilot solutions. These might be care providers, local authorities and others.

Expert Supporter

This programme will only succeed with the engagement and support of care professionals. We need Supporters with the knowledge and networks with which to inform, engage and disseminate. 

Design for Care is developing new solutions for care in the 21st century, focussing on practical, 'can-do' results, which can be shared widely.

Lord Rogers of Riverside

Partner with us

We work with businesses, local authorities, universities, and foundations.

Find out how