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Using the external legal services contract

This page provides step by step instructions on how to use the All-of-Government (AoG) external legal services contract.

Using this contract

  • 1
    Determine your requirements

    Agency requirements will vary and may include legal services that are:

    • one-off (ad hoc) or longer-term
    • project-specific
    • business as usual (BAU)
    • intensive enough to require the secondment of provider personnel to an agency.

    You need to decide what your agency’s or school’s requirements are, and which area of law they fall into to help you identify providers with the required expertise.

    Your requirements may fall solely into one area of law (or sub-area of law). If not, you'll need to decide which area (or sub-area) is most relevant to your needs. This might mean reaching out to more than one provider for information to assess whether they can deliver what you need.

    If your agency is subject to the Cabinet Directions for the conduct of Crown Legal Business 2016 , consider whether these also apply to your requirements. More detail on the Cabinet Directions is under What’s not covered.

    What's not covered

  • 2
    Search, shortlist and select a provider from the panel using the Online Panel Directory

    You can select providers from the panel in one of two ways. The method you choose will depend on your:

    • requirements
    • scale and complexity of the work
    • level of legal risk
    • budget and timeframes.
    1. You can source a provider directly from the panel, based on the information provided on the Online Panel Directory and/or your own knowledge and experience.

    2. You can complete a secondary selection process where you reach out to a number of providers on the panel.

    The list of external legal services providers is grouped by areas of law and gives a brief description of each provider.

    External legal service providers

    If you need to see provider rates and value-add services , use the Online Panel Directory (OPD) to review providers.
    If you need access to OPD, ask your agency’s procurement team.

    Online Panel Directory

    You can request information from providers to inform your secondary selection decision. This information must be provided free of charge.

    You should ask providers about conflicts of interest, if engaged by your agency to provide services. A provider must confirm whether they would have an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest related to the work. If a provider identifies a conflict of interest, they cannot provide services until your agency has given written approval to do so. The conflict of interest should be recorded and if necessary, a conflict of interest management plan put in place.

    When you've selected a provider from the panel, document your decision and get the approvals you need to go ahead, in line with your agency's internal procurement and decision-making processes.

    Online Panel Directory

  • 2a
    Going off-panel

    Some agencies are mandated to follow the Government Procurement Rules, including Rule 58, and purchase from AoG contracts.

    Rule 58 All-of-Government contracts

    In certain circumstances, you can purchase legal services from a provider who is not on the panel. The terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) set out when your agency can use off-panel providers. For example, if no panel provider has the necessary expertise or capacity to provide the required legal services.

    If you want to engage an off-panel provider make sure you:

    • get prior sign off from the Chief Legal Advisor (or equivalent) in your agency
    • document your decision following your agency's decision-making and recordkeeping processes.
  • 3
    Confirm the pricing approach

    Providers must provide an estimate or quote.

    Unlike an estimate, a quote means a fixed or capped price, or other pre-agreed basis for calculating the charges. For both estimates and quotes, the provider can’t increase charges without an agency’s prior written consent.

    You and your chosen provider may agree a fixed or capped fee based on their estimate or quote. Any estimate or quote must be calculated on the basis of the provider’s rates.

    There are various pricing models available under the contract, including:

    1. fees referring to the time a provider expects to complete the work
    2. fees referring to milestones or deliverables
    3. fixed or capped fee
    4. secondment rates
    5. fees paid by way of retainer.
  • 4
    Complete a legal services order

    Using a legal services order (LSO) is a contractual requirement.

    The content of the LSO must be agreed by both the agency and the provider. If you do not use an LSO, you expose your agency and the provider to avoidable risks (like contractual disputes).

    When you've selected a provider from the panel, document your legal services requirements using the LSO template.

    Make sure that:

    1. you include any relevant information in the background section
    2. the description of services is detailed and complete
    3. timeframes for delivering the required services are detailed
    4. pricing and invoicing terms are completed
    5. the conflict of interest declaration is completed.

    LSOs can be tailored to your agency’s particular needs and requirements, including:

    • any relevant policies and procedures that the provider must comply with when performing the services
    • the fees and any expenses to be charged (including any formula for calculating them)
    • whether your agency requires e-invoices.

    When setting the term of an LSO, it must not be longer than four months beyond the current term of the AoG external legal services contract, unless your agency obtains prior written approval for a longer term from NZGP.

    The LSO must be signed by both parties to confirm the terms agreed. You should agree to the LSO as soon as possible. You can find the LSO template in Contract documents.

    Contract documents

    Arrange for the LSO to be signed on behalf of your agency by a person with delegated authority to do so.

    Keep a copy of the signed LSO in your agency’s records. Set up reminders to proactively manage a provider’s delivery of your agency’s requirements, and to meet any of your own obligations (like payment of provider invoices).

    You can also use the LSO template to document any subsequent variation or change to the original requirements and specific terms. Parties can agree any changes to the original LSO by creating a restated version, adding a variation number, and signing and dating the restated version.

  • 5
    Complete a provider performance survey

    Your provider will send you a survey to complete and send back to NZGP following the completion of any legal services order. For longer term engagements, the survey will be sent at regular intervals during the term.

    Provider performance All-of-Government contract survey

    Under the terms of the MoU, you must complete the provider performance survey. The survey is short – you only need to answer five questions about your agency’s experience using the provider, including service delivery.

    Why do you need to fill in the survey?

    NZGP uses this feedback to monitor providers’ performance. We will generate an average performance rating for each provider, shared with agencies on OPD. Agencies can use these ratings to inform their selection of providers.
    There is more information in the Master Services Agreement or if you have any questions, email us.

    End of process