Attorney General: Government Contracts

Attorney General written question – answered on 1st March 2017.

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Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Shadow Lord President of the Council

To ask the Attorney General, what the total (a) number and (b) value of Government contracts that have been contracted out by the Law Officers' Departments was in each year since 2010; what the value of pro bono costs was in each such year; and what estimate he has made of the number of work days contracted out in each such year.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

Contracted out is defined as ‘the transfer of the provision of services previously performed by in-house personnel to an external organisation under a contract with agreed costs and conditions’.

The Government Legal Department (GLD ) and Attorney General’s Office (AGO)primarily provide legal services to government and while they use external suppliers, including law firms and barristers, to support this legal work, none would fall under the definition of contracted out and therefore no pro bono work has been received as part of such arrangements.

The (AGO), GLD and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) use third party suppliers to provide human resources, finance, information technology, facilities management and other accommodation services. Some elements of these services may have previously been provided in-house but there has been no significant contracting out of these services since 2010. There are no plans for significant contracting out in 2016-17.


The SFO’s procurement team oversees contract awards at the SFO and has records of 944 contracts awarded since 2010. Some low value contracts which are handled by individual teams may not be captured in these records. To provide a breakdown of the number awarded and cost per year would require data to be gathered manually and therefore incur a disproportionate cost.

Since 1 April 2015, details of SFO contracts over £10,000 have been published on .

The SFO does not undertake or commission pro bono work.

SFO contracts are not awarded or recorded on a working day basis, and it would incur disproportionate cost to review each contract in order to provide an estimate.

Crown Prosecution Service:

Since 2012 the Crown Prosecution Service has shared a purchasing service with the Government Legal Department. The department does not hold complete records of the information and to assemble the material would incur disproportionate cost. Estimates of the number and value of contracts completed by the Commercial team have been made as follows:

Financial year ended

No. Contracts

Estimated Value (£000s)

31 March 2013



31 March 2014



31 March 2015



31 March 2016



- 28 February 2017



It has not been practical to estimate the value of pro bono costs or the number of work days contracted out in each year.

Since January 2011, central government departments have been required to publish details of contracts above the value of £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder. Contracts published prior to 26 February 2015 can be viewed at:

Those published after 26 February 2015 can be viewed at:

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