If you've lost count of all the government's myriad design bodies, here's a handy guide

At a time when our parliament’s reputation is at an all-time low thanks to its cavalier spending of taxpayers’ money, it’s worth remembering exactly what else the government pours its money into – overstuffed quangos. For some reason, the design community appears to have a surfeit of these.

For example, on the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) website, under the heading “Resources to deliver good urban design”, you will find a number of different bodies dedicated to promoting design quality. I thought it might be informative to look a little bit closer at some of the crossovers:

Design and Sustainable Development Team

The HCA assures us that the DSDT will work to create a “harmonised set of core standards” by April 2011 to “set a threshold on design and sustainable development”. How will it do this? By “consultation and collaboration with partners and key stakeholders” which includes … Cabe. Er, isn’t this exactly what Cabe is doing?


The Advisory Team for Large Applications has a website all of its own, with a “Process Zone” that explains all you need to know about applying for a large scale planning application. But why take it from the website when you can ask one of ATLAS’ three teams in Milton Keynes, Ashford and Bristol? Above all, ATLAS highlights “the need for active stakeholder involvement and support through a collaborative design approach”. With, no doubt, the Design and Sustainable Development Team, Cabe, and the National Consultancy Unit.

Read the rest of this article in Dan Stewart's blog.