Mayor’s advisory body set to continue in a reduced form as Design Council outlines Cabe’s future.
The mayor of London’s architectural adviser Design for London (DfL) looks set to survive the government’s spending cuts.
Following the news that central government quango Cabe will escape abolition through a merger with the Design Council, mayor Boris Johnson’s top architectural adviser Daniel Moylan said he was hopeful that DfL staff would be retained along with its name.
It has also emerged that seven out of around 20 DfL positions have escaped the current redundancy process including DfL head Mark Brearley.
DfL’s parent the London Development Agency (LDA) is set to be wound up in just over a year’s time with the Greater London Authority poised to take over many of the LDA’s functions. But Moylan told BD that all plans were provisional because of a final funding settlement being thrashed out with central government.
He added: “The mayor is keen, if he can, to retain some form of design presence. I think there is a good chance that the name DfL will also survive.
“The mayor will have a regeneration arm within the GLA and we would expect DfL to make a significant contribution to regeneration as it has in the past.”
Meanwhile at Cabe, remaining staff will find out next week who will have a job when the quango merges with the Design Council at the beginning of April.
Around 40 staff remain ‹ down 125 from a year ago ‹ with a total of 20 set to move to the Design Council’s Bow Street offices.
Cabe chief executive Richard Simmons confirmed this week he was stepping down for personal reasons. His deputy Joanna Averley and director of campaigns Matt Bell have already gone and Cabe Space director Sarah Gaventa is also set to leave.
But chairman Paul Finch is expected to retain a role as is Diane Haigh, director of architecture and design review.
Simmons, who said he wants to remain in the regeneration industry, added:
“Some [staff] are going to unemployment, some to academia and others to set up consultancies.”
Cabe has been given £5.5 million in funding from the communities department over the next two years, but Design Council chief executive David Kester admitted he had been told that funds would have to come from elsewhere after that. “The main objective is to create a self-sustaining model,” he said.
Kester said the Cabe name would not completely disappear, with its logo likely to feature on its website. He added Cabe's main functions would be to continue with design review and enabling work. But he admitted it would only be able to carry out a fraction of the 350 design reviews it handled last year.
“Reviews and enabling are going to be at the heart of what we do. It does take Cabe back to its early days,” he said.