The NSW Government Legal Services Panel (Panel) commenced on 1 July 2016. This is the first time a whole-of-government panel has been established in NSW.
The Panel consists of 40 law firms and is a mix of small, medium and large firms. The 42 firms make up 6 Sub-Panels covering 35 areas of Law.
The panel is made up of these sub-panels:
Detailed list of sub-panels and areas of law [PDF 172 KB].
Full list of Panel Firms [PDF 218 KB].
The Panel was established with the aim of supporting the savings targets for legal service procurement across the public sector by taking advantage of the combined purchasing power of NSW Government Agencies to secure more competitive pricing. Firms will also benefit from a level of certainty given the volume of Government legal work.
The Panel Rules govern the way firms are engaged and whether competitive quotes must be obtained.
The Panel Rules are available here [PDF 116 KB].
The Panel Deed is the contractual agreement between the Panel firms and the State of NSW. This Agreement sets out the terms on which the State and the Service Provider have agreed that the Service Provider will:
Be appointed as a member of the Panel; and
Supply legal services as a member of the Panel,including the terms under which the Service Provider will supply legal services to a Client in response to a Legal Services Order.
The Panel Deed is available here [PDF 1036 KB].
Agencies should contact a firm appointed for the appropriate area of law for the legal services to seek an estimate.
Panel Firm Relationship Manager's List [xlsx 1253 KB].
Alternative pricing arrangements may be requested and will be a matter for agreement between the agency and panel firm. The Panel rules govern whether competitive quotes must be obtained. The process is covered in clauses 6 to 8 of the Deed. The firm will provide an estimate or project outline, as requested. Instructions should be provided using the Legal services order form [word 37KB].
Questions about using the panel should be directed initially to agency contract managers (list available soon). The agency contract manager will contact the Panel Manager if necessary.
For Department of Justice queries please contact the Office of the General Counsel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Core Legal Work is excluded from the scope of the Panel in accordance with Premier's Memorandum 2016-04 NSW Government Core Legal Work Guidelines (the revised Guidelines replace the previous PM1995-39 Arrangements for Seeking Legal Advice from the Crown Solicitor's Office).
Agencies should consult the revised Core Legal Work Guidelines for more information regarding which matters are considered Core and non-Core.
All Core Legal Work is to be referred to the Crown Solicitor's Office (CSO) as required under Premier's Memorandum 2016-04.
An Agency's procurement of legal services outside the Panel arrangement will only be on an exceptional basis.
An Agency's procurement of legal services outside the Panel arrangement will usually only occur on an exceptional basis. For example, for work requiring unique or specialist expertise or resources that the Agency considers are not available among firms on the Panel, or for matters that may arise in new categories of legal work that were not included in the Services Brief.
Agencies must have regard to Off-Panel Engagements Guidelines at Schedule 3 of the Deed when deciding whether it is appropriate to engage a provider that is not a Panel Firm.
In the event agencies need to engage providers of legal services that are not Panel Firms, they must secure the necessary approvals in accordance with the agency's procurement framework having regard to Procurement Board Direction PBD-2016-01 and the NSW Government Procurement Policy Framework.
Reasons must be provided why an off-Panel engagement is required and all off-Panel engagements must be pre-approved by the General Counsel.
The Agency Contract Manager will be responsible for reporting on all off-Panel expenditure to the Procurement Board. All off-Panel engagements are then reported to the Procurement Board on a bi-annual basis.
The Panel is not subject to NSW Procurement Board Direction PBD-2012-02 Obligation by government agencies to use whole of government contracts but procurement of legal services must be undertaken as contemplated by the Panel Rules and accompanying Guidelines.
Further detailed information is available at the ProcurePoint Website.