In 1997, the Labour Government came to power in the UK and embarked on a public sector reformation focusing on; personalizing public services for better quality and accessibility, tackling harmful public behaviours and regenerating local environments. By addressing these issues, the Government aimed to create ‘Sustainable Communities’, which promote social equality in health, education and living conditions.
The responsibility of creating Sustainable Communities lies with local level public sector organizations such as Local Councils and the National Health Service’s Primary Care Trusts. Over the past twelve years they have been in charge of commissioning services from organizations that they believe can support their Sustainable Community goals. The author believes that the implementation of this agenda has been a major factor contributing to designers working collaboratively with the public to develop and improve initiatives and services in health, education and regeneration.
By reviewing Government literature focusing on 20th century precedents for social change and transforming public services, such as the Beveridge Report, the Brundtland Report and Local Agenda 21, insight is provided into the development and structure of a market place in which design agencies are commissioned by public sector organisations. Interviews with key market players and the author’s first hand experience as the co-founder of Uscreates (one of the design practices in this new specialism) provide practical case studies that offer insight into the evolving industry.
|Keywords:||Public Service Reform, Public Sector Design, Sustainable Communities, Collaborative Design, User-centered Design, Social Change, Design Markets|
PhD Student, Architecture and the Visual Arts, University of East London, London, UK
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