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AGLS Board Communiqués

The AGLS Board will meet every 1-2 months to progress AGLS initiatives and will provide an update on work in progress.

2021 AGLS Board communiqués

The AGLS Board met with the AGLS committee chairs on 25 June 2021.

Summary of discussion and decisions

The Chair welcomed AGLS committee chairs to the meeting and thanked them for their work and commitment to the AGLS. The Chair said the AGLS Board is aware that the work of the AGLS is that done by the Board, committee chairs, committees themselves and through the participation of government lawyers more broadly. The Chair acknowledged that in this first year of the AGLS, the governance frameworks being developed by the Board and committees will support those who come after us.

Engagement and Communications Committee

One of the Co-Chairs of the Engagement and Communications Committee (ECC) updated the Board on the committee’s priorities, including looking to increase engagement on social platforms like Twitter and developing a policy for authorising content. The Board agreed that in addition to its core role in engaging and communicating with AGLS members, the ECC will act as an enabling service for the work of all AGLS committees.

AGLS Conference Committee

The Chair of the Conference Committee presented an overview of key activities included in the committee’s work plan, primarily directed at organising the inaugural AGLS Conference to take place on 14 October 2021. The AGLS Conference will offer in-person and online attendance options. The Conference program is close to being finalised, and features a mix of eminent legal speakers, panel and wellbeing sessions.

Professional Development Committee

The Chair of the Professional Development Committee presented an overview of the committee’s draft charter and draft work plan for 2021‑22.

Legal Practice Managers’ Forum

The Board sponsor of the forum, Tim Ffrench, provided a paper updating the Board on the forum’s work. Discussion of this update was deferred to the next meeting due to timing. 

The AGLS Board met on 20 May 2021.

Summary of discussion and decisions

AGLS virtual launch

The Board noted the successful virtual launch of the AGLS on 30 April 2021. The launch consisted of a series of videos and updates to the AGLS website. Heads of legal of Commonwealth agencies and people who have subscribed via the AGLS website were notified.

Foundational Australian Government Lawyer Training

The Board acknowledged the success of the third Foundational Australian Government Lawyer Training program, which ran from 5-7 May 2021. There were 62 participants from 20 agencies in attendance.

Appointing advisors to the Significant Legal Issues Committee (SLIC)

The Board agreed to invite nominations for 2 AGLS SLIC advisors from amongst the heads of legal or senior government lawyers of all agencies, and appoint advisors from these nominations at the Board’s discretion. Criteria will be developed for the AGLS SLIC advisors.

Statement of roles and responsibilities of government lawyers

The Board agreed to continue work to develop a statement of roles and responsibilities of government lawyers, and consult heads of legal and AGLS members before finalising it.

Committee updates

Relevant Board sponsors provided an update on the work of their committees.

The Board was advised work is underway to stand up the Legal Risk Committee.

The Board endorsed a theme, program and speaker plan for the 2021 AGLS Conference.

The Board was advised an external provider has been engaged to develop an AGLS stakeholder engagement and communications plan.

The Board agreed to invite AGLS Committee Chairs to the next Board meeting.

The AGLS Board met on 22 April 2021 to discuss the purpose, structure and membership of the Legal Risk Committee, a committee established by the AGLS Board Terms of Reference.

The Board endorsed Terms of Reference for the Legal Risk Committee.

The AGLS Board met on 11 March 2021. All members attended.

Summary of decisions

AGLS Strategic Plan

Board members participated in a strategic planning workshop in February 2021. At the meeting, members discussed a draft AGLS strategic plan, prepared following the workshop, setting out the vision for the AGLS and actions linked to overarching themes of governance, engagement or personal development. The plan will be published on the AGLS website after it is finalised by the board.

AGLS virtual launch

The board noted plans are being finalised for the virtual launch of the AGLS, expected to occur shortly and involve a series of updates to the AGLS website – www.governmentlawyers.gov.au.

AGLS Legal Risk Committee

The board discussed establishing the new AGLS Legal Risk Committee, including its proposed functions and membership. The committee will be a representative group of senior legal services practice leaders from the Commonwealth public sector (e.g. General Counsel, Chief Lawyer, Chief Legal Officer, Special Counsel). The committee will provide a forum to identify, analyse and provide input on issues of whole-of-government legal risk and assist in managing Commonwealth legal risk in a coordinated manner. The board agreed to progress terms of reference for the committee.

2021 AGLS Conference

The board discussed proposed themes and dates for the 2021 AGLS Conference. Further details will be made available on the AGLS website.

Statement of roles and responsibilities for government lawyers

The board discussed a draft statement of roles and responsibilities for government lawyers, a key recommendation from the Secretary’s Review, which is intended to complement the General Counsel Charter. The board agreed to consult the Professional Development Committee about the draft.

2020 AGLS Board communiqués

The AGLS Board met for the first time on 10 December 2020. All members expressed their eagerness to participate in the AGLS’s work and initiatives and promote its key values.

Summary of decisions

AGLS Board members

In accordance with the board’s Terms of Reference, board members are drawn from a representative mix of senior legal advisers and heads of legal in small and mid-size agencies and include representatives from non‑Canberra based agencies. A list of AGLS Board members is available on the AGLS website.

AGLS Board Chair

Board members elected Sarah Godden (General Counsel – Communications & Arts at the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications) as board chair for the calendar year.

Strategic Plan

The board discussed developing an AGLS strategic plan as a key priority for early 2021.

AGLS Conference

The board discussed holding an AGLS conference in the second half of 2021 and agreed to nominate possible chairs and members for a Conference Committee to progress this work.

Statement of Roles and Responsibilities of Government Lawyers

The board agreed to develop a statement of roles and responsibilities of government lawyers, who are the members of the AGLS. The statement will emphasise the AGLS’s key messages, with reference to the AGLS strategic plan and the General Counsel Charter

National Engagement Strategy

The board discussed the importance of engaging with government lawyers across Australia, particularly those not based in Canberra, and agreed to develop a National Engagement Strategy.

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