Announcement hoped this week as sign off delayed by Cabinet Office
Plans to merge architecture quango Cabe with the Design Council have been provisionally approved, with an announcement expected as soon as this week, Building understands.
Cabe, which had its existence put in doubt by cuts to its funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review, now looks to have secured support from government for a merger which will allow it to continue its design review role.
An announcement was expected last week of the approval, which sources say has the support of Cabe’s funding departments - the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the communities department.
Separate sources close to the process said that the cross-departmental nature of the deal means it has to receive a final rubber stamp from the Cabinet Office, delaying the announcement.
Cabe has seen two directors and a number of other staff leave in the last two weeks, as the body winds itself down before its current funding settlement finishes at the end of March.
It is expected the merged body will need less than half of the 125 Cabe staff employed by the body in 2009.
The merged body will mean Cabe continues to run design reviews for major projects, but it will lose its job advising councils on major projects.
Currently the Design Council promotes design, including product and industrial design, amongst UK businesses.
A source close to the process have described the merged agency as a “one-stop shop for design, with expertise on buildings, products, places and services under one roof.”
It is not yet clear how the organisation will be funded, or who will lead it.
The news comes as architect Richard Rogers, in a letter to the Times, threw his weight behind the merger while hitting out at the cut in Cabe’s funding.
Rogers said the plans to merge Cabe with the Design Council would “benefit both parties as well as the government in terms of economies of scale and breadth of advice.”
But he said funding cuts jeopardised the UK’s fledgling urban renaissance. “There are, which If Cabe goes to the wall, we may not see the impact this year or next. But over time the urban fabric of our towns and cities will deteriorate, the quality of life that they offer will be diminished, and we will realise what we have lost,” he said.
11 February 2011
3 February 2011
1 February 2011
15 December 2010