VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT SOLICITOR'S OFFICE
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION STATEMENT

 

Pursuant to Part II of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), this information statement contains details regarding the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office (VGSO) on the following matters:

  1. Organisation and functions
  2. Categories of documents
  3. FOI arrangements
  4. Publications
  5. Rules, policies and procedures
  6. Report literature

This statement has been prepared in accordance with Part II of the FOI Act and FOI Practice Note 14 - Part II Information Statements.

Statement 1 - Organisation and functions

The Victorian Government Solicitor (VGS) is the solicitor to the Government of Victoria and the head of the VGSO.  The VGSO is responsible for the provision of the full range of professional legal services to Ministers (including, collectively, Cabinet), departments and agencies (including administrative offices) and other bodies and persons in the Victorian public sector (including statutory officers, statutory bodies and members of the legislative and judicial branches of government).

The VGSO does not develop policy and is not responsible for the administration of any Acts or legislative schemes. 

Unlike most other Victorian government departments and agencies, the VGSO is not funded by a budget appropriation and meets its expenses with the revenue earned by it from its provision of legal services.

The VGSO is subject to the Public Administration Act 2004 and, unlike private law firms, is required to conduct its operations in accordance with government policy decisions and directives.  However, the VGSO provides independent legal services and is not subject to direction or control in respect of the legal services it provides. 

The VGSO does not have any powers to make decisions directly affecting the public.  However, the VGSO receives and decides requests under the FOI Act made by members of the public for documents in the possession of the VGSO.

The VGSO does not have any bodies that have been established for the purpose of advising VGSO and does not hold any meetings that are open to the public. 

The VGSO does not maintain a reading room or library that is open to the public.  Its website is available at www.vgso.vic.gov.au, which is accessible by members of the public.

More details of the VGSO can be found in the "About VGSO" section of the website: www.vgso.vic.gov.au

Statement 2 - Categories of documents

The VGSO creates and maintains a large number of documents and records in the course of its operations and functions.

Legal documents: the VGSO is a law firm and the majority of its documents are legal documents.  Legal documents include legal advice, documents filed in courts and tribunals, contracts and agreements and correspondence with clients.  The VGSO also holds client files, which are obtained in the process of taking instructions and providing legal services.

Administrative and operational documents: the VGSO holds a range of administrative documents relating to the operation and functions of the office.  Such documents include financial records; information management records; resource management; communications records; records relating to property e.g. leases and storage sites; certification documents; personnel records relating to VGSO employees; corporate strategic documents; and OH&S records and documents.

Policy and procedure documents: the VGSO holds a range of policy and procedure documents relating to areas including pro bono, IT, finance, recruitment, employment conditions, OH&S and facilities.

Publications: the VGSO also holds a range of publications such as podcasts, newsletters, case notes and seminars.

Statement 3 - FOI arrangements

FOI requests must be made in writing, accompanied by the relevant application fee (non- refundable unless fee is waived) and addressed to:

Alison O'Brien
Acting Victorian Government Solicitor
Level 25, 121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne Vic 3000

Once a request is received, the VGSO will process the request in accordance with the FOI Act.

Statement 4 - Publications

As part of the VGSO's client services, the VGSO publishes a range of documents that are made available to the public free of charge via the VGSO's website (www.vgso.vic.gov.au).  The VGSO also presents seminars and workshops.  Information and resources relating to VGSO seminars and workshops can be found on the VGSO's website.

The following categories of information are available from the "Resource Centre" section of the VGSO website:

  • Seminar information and resources
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • General Information
  • Case Notes
  • Workshop information and resources

This information is also available to our clients by way of an email mailing list.  This mailing list is not open to public subscription.

Statement 5 - Rules, policies and procedures

The only decisions made by the VGSO that directly affect members of the public are decisions relating to FOI requests.  VGSO processes FOI requests in accordance with the FOI Act and caselaw regarding the FOI Act.  VGSO does not have regard to a manual or other policy document when processing FOI requests. 

The VGSO is not responsible for enforcing any Acts or administering any schemes that may directly affect the public.  Therefore the VGSO does not hold any documents containing interpretations or particulars of Acts or schemes or any manuals, rules or procedures or statements of policy relating to Acts or schemes.

Statement 6 - Report literature

The VGSO does not produce an annual report.  Information relating to the VGSO's performance and efficiency can be found in annual reports produced by the Department of Justice and Regulation (DJR), which can be located in the "Publications" section of the DJR website: www.justice.vic.gov.au