AGS strives to anticipate and adapt to the changing needs of the government legal services sector. Our lawyers develop their advice with an eye to the broader context of our clients' business objectives, and we invest time and creative thought in developing innovative services that best fit the particular needs of each client.
We have developed a range of innovative products and services to support our clients. Some examples are provided below.
In 2013–14 we played a central role in helping our clients' in-house practices. Our outposted lawyer service continued to be successful. The number of placements almost doubled in comparison to the previous year, with up to 50 (and occasionally more) of our staff on secondment at any given time. We also continued to offer temporary placements, including free graduate assistance placements and other short-term roles, and we provided training for clients, specifically designed to help them develop and maintain their in-house legal expertise.
We continued to keep our clients (many of whom are lawyers) up to date on legal and policy issues via social media. For instance, we published our legal updates on Twitter and LinkedIn (AGS has many followers in both media), and we use podcasts and videocasts to quickly update our clients.
AGS Assist is a new web facility that we developed for our clients during 2013–14. Client organisations will have access to a suite of services tailored specifically to their own needs, including a shared calendar (particularly useful for litigation matters), an electronic quote form, and a shared document facility (using SharePoint) to enable clients, counsel and AGS to work collaboratively on matters.
Innovative pricing options
We recognise that value for money is a key concern for our clients. During the year we worked with individual client organisations to ensure that our approach to pricing met their particular needs. We gave clients the option to choose fixed-fee structures for routine services, offered discounts on agreed volumes of work from specific clients, and packaged training, publications and access to AGS resources with our core legal services, to provide optimal value to clients.
Connecting and working collaboratively with our clients is key to everything we do. We run successful training programs and our client forums for major clients bring together staff from legal teams to discuss topics of interest. Our CCELN (formerly the CAC Act Legal Network) also provides a forum for legal and program staff from these agencies to discuss their business and receive professional development. In 2013–14, the Network met on 3 occasions:
- 28 August 2013 – AGS Sydney
- 12 December 2013 – National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
- 12 March 2014 – Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney.
We regularly hold round-table forums with clients to discuss a business issue, with a view to identifying risks and planning options for success. Forums held in 2013–14 include Intellectual Property, Civil Penalties, Freedom of Information and Privacy, Constitutional Law, Employment Law, and Property and Infrastructure.
We also cooperated with our clients to find better and more efficient ways of carrying out their business. With one of our major property clients, we worked on a suite of improvement initiatives so that the way that they engage AGS (and other firms) is more consistent and streamlined. This included developing standard leasing and acquisition precedents, setting out agreed guidelines about fixed-fee arrangements to better describe roles and 'who does what' from start to finish, as well as a methodology around this.
Innovation is evident in all areas of our business, and is integral to our client service and relationships.
This is an extract from the 2013–14 AGS annual report