Productivity Commission’s recommendations regarding pro bono provisions in tender arrangements
The Productivity Commission, in its 2014 Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry Report, made the following recommendations in relation to the incorporation of pro bono provisions in tender arrangements:
- the Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales’ governments should consider adopting the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target as part of their tender arrangements for legal services;
- appropriate conflict provisions should be included in tender arrangements for legal services so that it is clear that firms conducting pro bono legal work “against [the] government will not be discriminated against in allocating government legal work. Such provisions should be based on s.11.3 of the Commonwealth Legal Services Direction 2005” 1; and
- there should be a designated person within government whose role is being the pro bono ‘coordinator’ whose role it is to “approve firms undertaking pro bono action. The coordinator should be situated within the department with primary responsibility for legal policy.” 2
The Centre supports the first two of these recommendations but as outlined in its submission to the Productivity Commission while the ‘coordinator’ role had been successful in Victoria:
the exact nature and scope of this role may need to be adjusted to take into account circumstances in different jurisdictions. There may be possible differences in the efficacy of such a model depending on the factors such as the number and size of government departments.3
For further information on the Productivity Commission’s recommendations please see the December 2014 edition of the National Pro Bono News. For a copy of the Centre’s submissions to the Productivity Commission’s Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry please see our Submissions page.
1 Productivity Commission 2014, Access to Justice Arrangements, Inquiry Report No. 72, Canberra, 832 available at http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/access-justice .
3 National Pro Bono Resource Centre, Submission to the Productivity Commission – Access to Justice Arrangements (May 2014) 13.