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AGLS Board membership

The Attorney-General’s Department is calling for nominations to become a member of the inaugural Australian Government Legal Service (AGLS) Board in 2020.

About the AGLS

The AGLS will be an overarching professional network for government lawyers, consistent with the ‘professions model’ recommendation in the Final Report of the Independent Review of the APS Our Public Service, Our Future.

Establishing AGLS also implements recommendation 1 of the Secretary’s Review of Commonwealth Legal Services  (the Secretary’s Review). The Secretary’s Review recommended linking government lawyers through automatic inclusion in the AGLS. This would facilitate information sharing, collaboration, guidance and professional development.

The AGLS will be a centralised formal professional network of government lawyers to improve legal risk management and create a more consistent approach to legal issues. The AGLS will emphasise the role of government lawyers within the context of whole-of-government legal obligations.

All government lawyers (including from the Australian Government Solicitor) will automatically be included in the AGLS. This will connect more than 2,000 Commonwealth government lawyers working in over 90 entities across Australia. AGLS members will remain employees of their entity, but their membership will be a core part of their professional identity.

The AGLS will build on the work of the Australian Government Legal Network (AGLN), its board and committees. The Office of Legal Services Coordination within the Attorney‑General’s Department will provide secretariat services to the AGLS Board.

AGLS Board member responsibilities

Board members will be experienced senior lawyers, representing a diverse range of agencies. They will be responsible for delivering the board’s objectives, including through determining the priorities and strategic direction of the AGLS and developing the inaugural AGLS Strategic Plan.

The current AGLS Board Terms of Reference are available on the Terms of reference page.

Board members will attend six board meetings in the first 12 months after the AGLS is established, and at least four board meetings per year after that. Meetings will be up to two hours long.

In line with the terms of reference, board members will also take on ‘sponsorship’ roles for one or more of the AGLS committees. Meetings will generally occur in Canberra, but the expectation is that AGLS Board members will be geographically diverse, so teleconference and audio-visual conference facilities will be available.

The Attorney-General’s Department, in partnership with General Counsel/heads of legal from across the Commonwealth, is also progressing key AGLS initiatives arising from the Secretary’s Review. We expect that the board and its committees will be responsible for supporting this work, as well as overseeing the work of AGLS committees in accordance with the board’s Strategic Plan.

Once the AGLS is in place, the work previously being done by the AGLN Board and its sub-committees will continue, with some adjustments made to the governance arrangements. There will be no stops and starts and we are all working towards a seamless transition.

Some of the work underway includes:

  • AGLS Newsletter – formerly the AGLN Newsletter. The AGLS Engagement and Communication committee creates and publishes the AGLS Newsletter. The committee chooses a theme for each edition and collects articles from AGLS members. 
  • AGLS Mentoring Circles program – formerly the AGLN Mentoring Circles program. The AGLS Professional Development Committee will oversee this program. It aims to support the professional development of AGLN members through small group mentoring. 
  • Foundational Australian Government Lawyer Training Program – cost-effective training on foundational competencies for junior lawyers developed and delivered by senior lawyers from within government. The sold-out program was run twice in 2019 to 2 groups of 60 attendees and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The program will be run twice a year, together with the AGLS Professional Development Committee.  
  • Reciprocal Secondment Program – involving short-term secondments between high performing government in-house lawyers and other government in-house lawyers or private practice lawyers. Among other benefits, the program assists in-house lawyers to strengthen their current legal professional skills as well as build insights and gain new perspectives from other legal practices. The program is being comprehensively evaluated and is expected to be run together with the AGLS Professional Development Committee.
  • Whole-of-Government Legal Advice Database – the database aims to reduce overlap and duplication of Commonwealth advice, promote greater consistency in entities’ approach to cross-cutting issues and thereby improve legal risk management. The Database Advisory Working Group established to develop governance arrangements in conjunction with the establishment of the database, is an informal AGLS working group.

As head of the AGLS, Attorney-General’s Department Secretary Chris Moraitis PSM will consider nominations and determine AGLS Board membership. Once the board has been constituted, we will provide more details about the inaugural AGLS Board meeting.

Nominate a board member

 To nominate yourself to the AGLS Board, email AGLS@governmentlawyers.gov.au with:

  • a short summary (300 words or less) of your interest in nominating
  • a written endorsement of your nomination from your agency head
  • the name of your agency
  • your usual work location
  • a copy of your current CV.

To nominate someone else to the AGLS Board, email AGLS@governmentlawyers.gov.au with:

  • a short summary (300 word or less) of the reasons for your nomination
  • confirmation that the nominee has agreed to the nomination
  • written endorsement of the nomination from the relevant agency head
  • the nominee’s agency (and your own, if different)
  • the nominee’s usual work location
  • a copy of the nominee’s current CV.

Nominations are due to the AGLS Board Secretariat by Tuesday 15 September 2020.

This process may also be used to fill future board vacancies in 2020. You are welcome to forward this expression of interest to others within your network.

Contact the AGLS Team if you have any questions about the nomination process.

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