Review of Commonwealth Legal Services Procurement

Posted 19 April 2011

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, announced in 2009 a broad review into the procurement of legal services following the significant increase in legal expenditure by Commonwealth agencies in the 2007-08 financial year. Following earlier reforms to Australian Government legal services arrangements, the Government commissioned the review to achieve further efficiencies and to maximise value for taxpayers' money in the procurement of legal services. The Review examined current practices and advise whether another model (for example, a more centralised model) of legal services procurement should be adopted, taking into account:

  • the reforms already implemented, in particular the release of a standard form request for tender and deed of standing offer for legal services;
  • the nature of the market for Commonwealth legal services, including the operation of the Legal Services Directions 2005
  • Commonwealth procurement policy;
  • the range and type of legal services required by Commonwealth agencies, including the need for services that are of high quality, efficient, independent, confidential, consistent and coordinated, and range in complexity from routine to highly specialised;
  • the costs and benefits to the Commonwealth of implementing any proposed new arrangements;
  • appropriate arrangements for bodies regulated by the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997; and
  • the views of stakeholders.

The Review also examined how the Commonwealth can best make use of in-house legal services.

The Report was co-written by Tony Blunn AO and Sibylle Krieger.

Mr Blunn has a distinguished career in public administration and public policy. His career in the Australian Public Service commenced in 1957. He was Secretary to a number of Commonwealth Government departments including the Attorney-General's Department from 1998 to 2000. Since retiring in 2000 Mr Blunn has chaired a range of committees and independent inquiries.

Ms Krieger is a commercial lawyer with 29 years of broad experience in corporate law. She was a partner of Clayton Utz for 18 years until 2008, representing and advising both private sector organisations and government entities. She was a non-executive director of Sydney Ports Corporation from 2002-2005 and since 2006, has served as one of three members of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW.