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Compliance and reporting

Australian Government agencies have reporting obligations under the Legal Services Directions 2017.

This includes reporting on:

Reporting of significant issues

Non-corporate Commonwealth entities under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, and any agencies that were an FMA agency on 30 June 2014 are required to report as soon as possible on issues arising in the delivery of legal services, especially the handling of claims and litigation.

Once a matter has been reported to the Office of Legal Services Coordination (OLSC) as significant:

  • entities are required to provide updates on the progress of those issues
  • significant claims are not to be settled without the Attorney-General's prior agreement.

A guidance note on the reporting of significant issues is available on the Legal Services Directions and guidance notes page.

Refer to paragraphs 3 of the Legal Services Directions 2017 and paragraphs 2(e)(iv) and 5.2 of Appendix B of the Legal Services Directions 2017 for more information.

Download the significant issues reporting template below:

Download the significant issues settlement request template below:

Legal services expenditure

Australian Government agencies are required to report to OLSC about their legal services expenditure within 60 days after the end of the financial year.

Download the Legal Services Expenditure Report template below:

Agencies submitting expenditure reports should use the XLS template as the PDF template is read-only. If you are unable to use the XLS template, please contact OLSC on olsc@ag.gov.au or 02 6141 3642.

Compliance with the Legal Services Directions 2017

Non-corporate Commonwealth entities and former FMA agencies are also obliged to report to OLSC as soon as practicable about any possible or apparent breaches of the Legal Services Directions 2017.

After each financial year the accountable authority of a non-corporate Commonwealth entity or former FMA agency must provide a certificate setting out the extent to which they believe the entity has complied with the Directions.

Download the Agency Notification Form below:

Compliance Framework

The Compliance Framework sets out the approach of the Office of Legal Services Coordination to achieving compliance with the Directions and how OLSC prioritises its compliance activities.

Download the Compliance Framework below:

Statistical data

  Matters recorded Assessed as non-compliant Assessed as compliant Matters awaiting - assessment at year end or withdrawn
2015-16 75 29 45 1
2014-15 90 24 57 9

In 2015-2016, OLSC recorded 29 assessments in which agency’s advised of instances of non-compliance with the Directions. One matter was withdrawn by the individual that raised allegations against an agency. Of the matters which concluded non-compliance:

  • eleven related to the model litigant obligations
  • three related to the performance of tied work by non-tied work providers
  • six related to procuring legal services from external legal providers not listed on the Legal Services Multi-Use List
  • two related to the engagement of counsel without an approved Commonwealth rate
  • one related to the process for seeking constitutional law advice
  • two related to the process around reporting on significant issues.

Reporting by legal services providers

If a Commonwealth entity, approved Commonwealth company or approved government business enterprise contracts in a financial year with an external legal services provider on the legal services multi-use list for legal work, the entity, company or enterprise must ensure the contract requires the provider to report to OLSC.

This must be done using an approved form and no later than 30 days after the end of the financial year.