Design Flanders and the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (both in Belgium) have just published a bilingual Dutch-English booklet entitled Service Design, A Strong Strategy for Local Authorities, based on a seminar in Antwerp on 7 December 2010.
Eighty-five percent of everything that local authorities are tasked with is in relation to service provision: personalised services such as in the Department of Civil Affairs and the Leisure Activities department, social services in the social centre or the OCMW (Public Social Assistance Centre), but also community services through the local services centre, domestic refuse collection service, services to ensure safety and so on. It is, therefore, not an exaggeration to say that good, customer-oriented services are a priority for every local authority.
Service Design provides a powerful strategy for improving these services. This is why the Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten (VVSG, Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities) wants to put the spotlight on this relatively new discipline. This method appeals to the VVSG because of its integrated approach to service provision and the cooperative and participatory method of working together with the users and staff members of a particular service.
Service Design is a method of listening properly, while simultaneously being a method of working to reach solutions relatively quickly and in a manner that is highly visual and comprehensible for all. This is what emerged from all the statements and presentations at the seminar organised by the VVSG and Design Flanders in Antwerp on 7 December 2010, which has resulted in this report.