Six local authorities in London will be working with the Design Council over the next sixteen weeks in an innovative scheme to help them address major social issues.
Design in the Public Sector, launched in 2014, will support the authorities in addressing issues such as homelessness, home care and community cohesion. Their ethos understands that “design is integral to the DNA of each and every public service” and seeks to ensure that those employed by local authorities have the understanding, capacity, willingness and skills to develop cost-effective, user-led public services.
With budgets being squeezed ever tighter, the scheme aims to help local authorities come up with radically different solutions to the challenges each of them faces, and equip them with the tools and knowledge to innovate problem-solving. It seeks to apply strategic design skills to key challenges and better inform the commissioning process.
48 authorities nationwide have already benefitted from the scheme targeting a wide range of issues from obesity to traffic management around schools and addressing challenges around social and health care. These six local authorities in London will be supported to come up with practical, workable and innovative solutions to key issues they have identified as most pressing.
Two are focussing on housing issues, with the London Borough of Redbridge aiming to reduce the use of temporary accommodation and homelessness and Hackney Council seeking to support tenants in the Private Rented Sector. Westminster City Council will focus on redesigning services for children with Special Educational Needs whilst Islington Council will aim to identify new pathways to support adults facing multiple disadvantages. Brent Council is targeting a redesign of the planning system and reducing demand for placements for Looked After Children, and the London Borough of Haringey wants to redesign support for care-leavers and improving home care.
The six local authorities will benefit from support to increase innovation and efficiency in a climate of rising demands and changing needs at a time when funding is being cut year on year.