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Performance measure 1.1: Australian Government Solicitor legal services

​Legal services and support provided to the Australian Government and its entities by Australian Government Solicitor (AGS), including in relation to High Court and other significant litigation, is effective in helping to ensure that legal risk is managed and the Commonwealth’s interests are protected, and to promote the fair and efficient resolution of disputes involving the Australian Government.

This performance measure was achieved.

Performance targets

Result

1.1.1 Overall client satisfaction (via AGS Client Survey) greater than 75%

ACHIEVED

1.1.2 Analysis shows the effectiveness of AGS’s legal services, via the AGS mid-matter and end-of-matter client survey feedback

ACHIEVED

Source

  • Portfolio Budget Statements 2020–21, Outcome 1, Program 1.3, page 34
  • Corporate Plan 2020–24, page 22

1.1.1 AGS strives for high levels of client satisfaction with the quality of its services. The aim is to remain the provider-of-choice for Australian Government agencies. This positions AGS to assist with the government’s most complex, strategic and important issues.

AGS conducts a client satisfaction survey to assess the level of client satisfaction with the legal services it provides. This is done via 2 mechanisms: a biennial online survey and, in alternate years, face-to-face client feedback meetings.

This year, AGS conducted client feedback meetings to assess performance. Clients were asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 10 their level of overall satisfaction with AGS as well as satisfaction with key service attributes. Client feedback meetings also allowed for qualitative discussion about client experiences and perspectives.

Heads of Legal were invited to meet and provide feedback. Forty meetings were conducted and 60 individuals provided feedback. The target of greater than 75% overall client satisfaction was met, with an overall rating of 79% achieved. The comments from participants support the satisfaction rating and indicated good relationships and a high quality of work. AGS received a score of ‘8 out of 10 or above’ for the desired attributes of legal expertise, quality of relationship, timeliness and understanding of a client’s business.

1.1.2 As part of a rolling spot check on yearly satisfaction reviews, AGS undertakes a series of mid-matter and end-of-matter surveys to assess the effectiveness of its service on specific matters and to measure satisfaction with meeting matter objectives.

Reports from the AGS financial system on matters with fees in excess of $100,000 in the last month or matters with fees greater than $100,000 that have closed in the last month are reviewed to identify matters that are suitable to be surveyed. Factors considered included whether the client is amenable to being surveyed, if the client has not been surveyed recently and the strategic importance of the matter. AGS is conscious of, and manages, the risk of client survey fatigue. The survey data is stored on an online platform and reports are stored in the AGS document management system.

In 2020–21, the matter surveys were revised to improve the quality and value of the data. As a result, the data across the full year was split into 2 sections for assessment as they are not directly comparable:

  • For the period July to November 2020, we issued 17 surveys and received 13 responses.
  • For the period December 2020 to June 2021, we issued 30 surveys and received 14 responses.

Results from the matter surveys are consistent with the results of the annual face-to-face client meeting process used for Target 1.1.1. Ratings received included:

  • an average overall performance rating of 4 out of 5 or higher, supported by average ratings (4 out of 5 or higher) on desired attributes of usability of advice, strategy and responsiveness
  • an average overall rating of 9 out of 10 for helping to achieve client outcomes, supported by average ratings of 8 out of 10 or higher on desired attributes of accuracy of estimates, timely communication, senior lawyer involvement and managing risk.

The surveys are managed by AGS. Feedback is passed onto practice group staff who address and respond to any concerns raised by clients. This may include a ‘lessons learned’ session with the client to review the matter and consider changes that may produce better outcomes in the future. A quarterly report is prepared for the AGS Management Committee.