‘Design thinking’ could help address public health challenges

Public health challenges such as poor diet, smoking and binge drinking are just a few lifestyle issues that could be addressed with some ‘design thinking’ according to Design Council and the Local Government Association (LGA). Their Design in the Public Sector program is now open for applications with the aim of attracting forward thinking councils focusing on prevention.

The Design in the Public Sector program, delivered in partnership with the LGA, is a 16 week intensive program for public sector workers focused on applying design principles and methods to tackle public sector and social challenges. More than 100 local authorities have been supported by Design Council in the past including Mendip District Council, which transformed how it provides community services with the design of a new housing and complex needs framework and Haringey Council who are looking to redesign their approach to support children leaving care.

This autumn, Design Council and the LGA are targeting public health teams and prevention will be top of the agenda. Public health professionals and people working to improve the health of the nation are encouraged to sign up and explore how design can help them tackle some our biggest societal challenges.

Councillor William Nunn, Chairman, LGA Improvement and Innovation Board said:

We recognize that there is a growing movement of design thinking and innovation in public services and the LGA is keen to equip more councils with the necessary tools and knowledge. Public health is an area within local government being asked to deliver prevention strategies and improve the health of our communities and we believe an injection of design thinking will help them to achieve this.

Sarah Weir OBE, Chief Executive, Design Council said:

Design is increasingly being recognized as a critical tool to help transform services in communities across the globe. With increasing pressures on public health services and public sector staff there is no better time for public health professionals to sign up to our Design in the Public Sector program. Whatever the challenge, design led experts will help professionals to explore the issues impacting them and identify new ideas and opportunities to bring about positive change.

The program will be delivered to two cohorts – the first cohort will be delivered in Leeds and the second cohort in London. Local authorities across the country are invited to apply and deadlines are 20 September for applications from local authorities in the north (wishing to attend the Leeds program) and 29 November for local authorities willing to attend the program hosted in London.

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