Louise Downe

Head of Design for the UK Government, GDS

Clearleft Says

We’ve know Louise Downe since her sister Natalie worked for Clearleft in the late naughties. We’ve watched her career as a service designer go from strength to strength, from her early days at The Tate, to the Head of Service Design at GDS. Andy shared a stage with her a few years back and was suitably impressed, so we’re excited to introduce her to the UX London audience.

Wed 18 May, 2016, 11:50

Redesigning Government for the 21st Century

Public services account for approximately 1/5th of UK GDP. That's about 80% of the cost of central government. Of that though, up to 60% is spent on the cost of service failure - calls and casework that could be avoided by better designed services.

Since the founding of GDS, we’ve created and built one consistent user experience for government, saving £1.7 billion pounds for the UK taxpayer, and beating the Olympic cauldron to the Designs of the Year award with a ‘black and white website’ that means users don’t need to know how government works to make it work for them.

But our work has only just started. The Autumn spending review announced £1.8 billion of spending on making digital services better (and cheaper to deliver) over the next 4 years. But how do we make sure that these changes meet the needs of users? and how do we scale user centred design in the UK's largest single organisation?

About Louise Downe

Louise is Head of Design for the UK government, based at GDS where she leads a community of designers working across government to reform the relationship between the citizen and the state. Her focus is on scaling the transformation of government to be user centred - identifying patterns in human behaviour and making things to fit.

She’s a passionate believer in using design to solve complex problems and is a prominent protagonist in the design industry - redefining the practice of service design to be a practical, technically embedded profession.

With a background in Art, Linguistics and Economics Louise started her career as a journalist and producer at Tate, where she lead on digital audience development before joining Seren and Engine to specialise in the design of large, recently privatised utilities like health, telecommunications, energy and finance.