The Design Council is the leading authority on how to use design principles to improve processes, products and places and was incorporated as a charity by Royal Charter in 1976. In 2011 it ceased to be a non-departmental public body of government, but although independent continued to receive government grants. The same year the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) became a subsidiary of the Design Council. CABE supports communities, local authorities and developers involved in built environment projects by offering design review, customized expert-advice, training and professional development. Design review is an important way of assessing the quality of major new developments, e.g. by identifying weak and inappropriate schemes at an early stage. The Design Council published Design Review: Principles and Practice in 2013.
The Design Council’s programmes are broad in scope, covering the built environment, public sector design and social innovation, and business innovation, and are delivered by experienced independent specialists. These seek to demonstrate how design supports creativity and innovation and include challenging programmes that bring designers together from different disciplines to tackle a range of issues (e.g. Design Against Crime). The Design Council trains undergraduates through its Design Academy programme and also helps universities to capitalise on their research base and take projects to market.
The campaign DesignCAN was launched in 2019 calling for the design industry to be more inclusive. It is critical of an industry that would not reflect the world it serves and it calls on the industry to champion and commission underrepresented talent.
The Design Commission for Wales was established by the National Assembly to promote good design by working with local planning authorities, developers and clients, and nurturing design talent.
Architecture is a regulated profession and, once qualified, architects have to register with the Architects Registration Board. The main professional body is the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), while the Architectural Association administers the oldest training school, which is one of the most prestigious in the world. A review of the UK’s architecture and built environment policy in 2014 – The Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment – commissioned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, called for a new proactive approach to the planning system by anticipating needs and opportunities and looking at places in their entirety rather than simply individual buildings and their design. The review concluded that a formal architecture policy (as in Scotland and Northern Ireland) was not required in England. Instead it argued for better connection between government departments. Subsequently, architecture policy was transferred from DCMS to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
In 2018 many UK architects criticised the government for establishing a Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission (BBBB) to improve design of homes and places, arguing that it was a retrograde step that would promote deeply conservative tastes. Their ire was provoked especially by the choice of its first chairman, the right-wing writer and philosopher Roger Scruton, an outspoken critic of contemporary architects. Scruton was sacked over controversial comments not long afterwards, then re-instated as co-chair, but has since died.
The fashion industry is the largest UK creative industry employing almost 800,000 people in fashion, textiles and fashion retail according to some reports. The largest percentage of employees work in retail. The British Fashion Council (BFC) is the industry’s lead body and reported that fashion was worth GB£ 32.3 billion to the UK GDP in 2018. It published a detailed report on The Value of the UK Fashion Industry in conjunction with Oxford Economics in 2015. The UK is often considered to be the world leader in fashion education and London Fashion Week is one of the major international fashion festivals. In 2018 the Exceptional Talent category of Tier 1 visas to the UK was extended to fashion designers and the BFC is the independent assessor for visa applications for the industry.
The fashion industry is especially concerned about the implications of Brexit on talent recruitment and skill shortages in some areas, on trade and the movement of goods, components and samples, and the consequences for intellectual property once the UK is outside the EU (see chapter 2.9).