The Unique Requirements of Government Clients

Government has the responsibility to ensure regulatory compliance and investigate bad actors. Governments also regularly enact independent investigations, with broad powers to hold hearings and compel evidence in the form of Royal Commissions or public Inquiries. Many areas of government therefore collect, review and analyse massive amounts of data that may become evidence. Legal technology including, document review platforms or AI-powered analytics, are deployed to drive efficiencies across the government EDRM cycle.  

 

icourts has a depth of experience providing legal technology services to government such as data hosting and migration, specialist consulting and advisory, and custom development. Our experience has highlighted several unique requirements of government clients, which we incorporate into every aspect of the engagement from the outset. 

 

Probity 

 

Every product or service is procured by government using public money; as such, probity is paramount in every interaction.  

 

Government demands complete integrity, honesty, and rectitude so that all procurement activities and processes are robust and can withstand scrutiny. 

 

The practical outcome of this is that government requires open and honest communication from their contractors. Building close collaborative relationships which thrive on information and knowledge sharing delivers the best outcome to government projects.  

 

Transparency  

 

Government is accountable to the people; it, therefore, requires the utmost transparency from suppliers throughout any engagement. The methodology, project planning, and processes must be consistent, accountable and, implemented at the granular level. Any contractor must keep excellent records and maintain robust audit trails. 

 

Sensitivity 

 

When government gets involved – as either regulator, inquiry, or Royal Commission – the stakes are high. Government deals with the most challenging topics such as natural disasters, systemic abuse or failings towards vulnerable communities, and large-scale illegal conduct.   

 

Providers must handle each engagement with the care and sensitivity it deserves. It is not just data but a part of someone’s (often traumatic) personal story. The ability to efficiently organise, search and understand the story in the data matters to the individuals and families involved. 

 

Limited resources 

 

When government launches an investigation into suspected wrongdoing, it is often a David v Goliath scenario. The regulator is facing an adversary such as a financial institution with far superior resources and manpower. Government often relies on technology to bridge that gap. 

 

Organisations working with government must deliver value across the lifetime of the engagement and beyond so that resources are applied precisely to deliver the best outcome. 

 

Security 

 

Government has a duty to safeguard official information from continuously evolving cyber threats. Government departments are targets for nefarious actors as they are known to hold such large quantities of sensitive information. Criminals also target government contractors hoping to identify vulnerabilities and access wider government networks through third parties. 

 

Any organisation working with government must demonstrate and deliver robust ICT systems and strategies to mitigate cyber security incidents. Government, therefore, favours providers maintaining international standards such as ISO 27001 Information Security Management or the Australian Cyber Security Centres IRAP certification.  

 

Privacy 

 

Society entrusts government with highly personal information, everything from health records to financial status. The Australian Privacy Principles guidelines lay out how and why government collects personal information. Policies and regulations govern the use and disclosure of personal information. 

 

Any supplier engaged by government must adhere to the Privacy Principles across every area of their organisation. Permissions for personal information must be strictly managed to prevent unauthorised access and redactions applied to de-identify specific details. 

 

Conflicts of interest 

 

Conflicts of interest are a very live issue in the public sector and failure to recognise and control appropriately can undermine the integrity of decisions, officials, and government. The government is responsible for the proper use of public money, resources, and assets and any suggestion of impropriety may lead to accusations of abuse of power and corruption. 

 

An organisation working with government must employ strict procedures to identify any real, potential, or perceivable conflicts and resolve them quickly as they arise. 

 

Archival 

 

Australian governments records must be preserved according to the archival legislation of each jurisdiction.  

 

Archival seeks to create authentic, reliable, accurate, and durable evidence of government decisions and activities. Contractors must be mindful when working with government that any documentation produced may potentially become government records. Each project must be undertaken with the retention policies around archival considered from the outset. 

 

icourts Government Advisory 

 

Our work with many arms of government, across decades and many different projects; means we are uniquely placed to help deliver government services and provide technical advisory services to those looking to expand their government client base. Contact one of our government analysts for more information.