vgso.vic.gov.au

Commercial, contracts and procurement

The VGSO advises Victorian government departments and agencies on:

  • procurement and contracting processes, 
  • machinery of government restructuring
  • government entity creation
  • governance, privacy, IT and IP considerations.  

Our solicitor's broad commercial experience and expertise in government processes assists our clients to achieve their objectives consistently with legislation and policy. 

Our team have advised on numerous matters where an outsourced activity is transitioned to a new provider. As a result, we have a unique understanding of key issues likely to arise during this process and means of ensuring they are properly dealt with. 

Our assistance includes advising on:

  • procurement strategies and market engagement, including the tendering process
  • drafting procurement documentation and contracts
  • assisting with legal compliance issues
  • negotiating contracts
  • advising on performance and contract management. 
  • We specialise in reviewing current arrangements for projects or activities, including any existing contracts in place and, if relevant, the regulatory framework for the project (including environmental and planning issues).   

    Our team efficiently and effectively identify any issues likely to arise for the project or procurement and are able to assist with ongoing project management. 

    We also offer an end to end service delivery by being able to advise on options for resolution of issues identified in the due diligence enquiries.

  • Our ability to advise on all aspects of public procurement is based on extensive experience in these areas:

    • probity and tendering
    • financial management
    • due diligence
    • drafting project contracts
    • evaluating tenders
    • tender process contracts
    • negotiation
    • contract management issues
    • preparing contract management manuals.  

    Our approach is to review a project or activity providing advice on the appropriate procurement process by ensuring it is compliant with relevant government legislation and policies and any other pertinent considerations. For example, whether the procurement is governed by the Financial Management Act 1994 or the Project Development and Construction Management Act 1994.

  • Our team is well versed in government communication and actively participates in and is able to report to, a procurement project governance team established to oversee a procurement. 

    Providing clear and transparent communication enables project teams to work effectively together and understand our client needs and strategic objectives. 

  • Given the depth of procurement knowledge and experience we are able to prepare relevant documents such as confidentiality deeds and liaise with probity advisors in respect of any probity issues, and advise on legal questions associated with probity issues. 

  • Our responsiveness to clients' needs includes reviewing the approach to market document suite to ensure they are best practice and reflect the client's intentions.

  • Draft any appropriate customisation to the contract(s) (in conjunction with review of tender documents, discussed below), and other ancillary agreements. 

  • Advise on legal issues in tender documents, including ensuring consistency between tender and contractual documents. 

  • Advise on data room processes and contents including seeking consents to disclose relevant documents. 

    Review of documents to be included in the data room (with particular focus on confidentiality obligations, transfer provisions and other provisions relevant to the project). 

  • Assist in responding to tenderer questions .and advice on tender process contracts.

  • We advise on the impact and risk of any contractual departures, draft or contribute to evaluation reports. 

  • Assist in evaluation, including attending and/or presenting at evaluation. 

  • Our team support clients throughout the procurement process and can confidently and strongly lead or support contact negotiations, advise on negotiation strategies and on issues arising throughout negotiations. 

    Commercial outcomes and legal integrity remain at the forefront of our teams' focus as we assist our clients to achieve their strategic objectives. 

  • Ensure the final contracts reflect the agreed position of the parties. 

  • Ensure that appropriate execution clauses are included, company searches conducted. 

  • If required, prepare sign-off letter advising on key risks and mitigation strategies. 

  • Prepare timelines and practical operational guides including training and contract management manuals to assist in performance management, contract management, extract maximum value and manage risk. 

  • Drafting, reviewing, negotiating and advising on a range of contractual arrangements for government, including goods and services agreements, confidentiality, funding and grant agreements, licensing, research, information sharing and inter/intra -governmental agreements (including MOUs) 

    We demonstrate experience in being able to identify and consider the legal issues particular to government contracts. 

    VGSO has extensive experience in working on projects which involve multiple departmental and agency stakeholders.  We have strong networks within government, and regularly assist in stakeholder management and in establishing and supporting appropriate project governance arrangements. 

    We understand the need to ensure that governance bodies are fully briefed on legal risks and issues throughout the duration of a project.  VGSO lawyers advise steering committees and evaluation teams on a range of substantial procurements and licensing processes.  We have extensive experience in preparing and reviewing Ministerial briefings. 

  • VGSO is experienced in the legislative frameworks, government policy and processes which underpin government contracting. Our team successfully advises on the options to achieve policy objectives and on all aspects of the legislative process. 

    As the principal advisers to government on its day-to-day operations, we have deep practical knowledge of many of the activities conducted on behalf of the State and the regulatory framework within which they must operate. Our areas of expertise include corrections, education, health, emergency services and transport. 

    This experience is coupled with our knowledge of governance issues including statutory powers/functions, public sector directors' duties and project governance. 

    We support individuals, boards and agencies to exercise their functions to produce lawful and robust decisions. We advise and assist decision makers to understand the requirements and limits of their functions, follow the necessary processes prior to making a decision, engage with the cognitive processes involved in decision making and record their decisions and reasons for such decision. We are experienced in defending these decisions on merits and judicial review. 

    We advise on compliance with public sector governance laws, on the scope of statutory powers and functions, on management of conflicts of interest and disclosures, and on responses to inquiries or investigations by oversight bodies such as IBAC, the Ombudsman and the Auditor-General. 

  • To provide better services and ensure the proper exercise of their functions, government agencies must consider the use and disclosure of information within the context of their statutory responsibilities. VGSO has a detailed understanding of the legislative landscape regarding sharing of information about individuals. As a major legal provider to government and its agencies, VGSO understands the challenges of applying privacy law to an ever changing landscape of information sharing and embedding a constructive privacy and data protection culture. 

    VGSO deals regularly with the legislation that governs the collection, management, storage and security of public sector information, including the Public Records Act 1973, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. We advise on the application of this legislation in the context of government procurement and the transition of outsourced activities to new service providers.  We advise on practical measures that can be adopted to ensure that government departments and agencies have the access and use rights required to obtain the full benefit of services provided by contractors and to ensure compliance with legislative obligations. 

  • Establishment and operation of public sector bodies including legislative development, structuring, governance models, employment activities, financial arrangements, reporting requirements and the application of whole of government accountability frameworks. 

  • Supporting contractor performance and dispute resolution and training to support contract administration and management. 

Reviewed 29 July 2021

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