I’ve been at the coalface of government procurement, contracting, public law and technology law since the end of 2006 when I joined the State Services Commission (SSC) as legal advisor to the All-of-government Authentication Programme. Prior to that I’d been a public and commercial law litigator for a decade (with a particular focus on judicial review and commercial contract disputes), here and abroad, with Bell Gully, Ashurst and the Commerce Commission. Enjoyable as that was, I couldn’t shake the technology bug and wanted to get stuck into more constructive and transactional work with a technology focus.
What a ride it’s been. I probably joined SSC at the perfect time, just when the government was developing all-of-government technology approaches with what became the igovt services. I remember having to broaden my mindset to the needs, interests and sensitivities of the wider Crown and other agencies. I learned the importance of public trust and confidence in the government’s technology projects, I benefited from the Programme’s steadfast focus on privacy-centric design and I gained hands-on knowledge of the machinery of government.
I came to advise SSC’s wider ICT Branch, the operational corpus of which became Government Technology Services (GTS). When GTS shifted to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), I shifted along with it, and came to advise what would become the broader Knowledge, Information, Research and Technology Branch.
I’ve been fortunate to be involved in a wide range of fascinating projects alongside some great people. They include igovt, one.govt, data.govt.nz, NZGOAL, offshoring, IP/ICT guidance, whole of government directions under the Crown Entities Act, SEEMail, igovt partnering, shared workspaces, DigitalNZ, common web services and all manner of sole supply, panel supply, syndicated supply and common capability ICT supply arrangements for the provision of technology and other systems and services to government.
I’ve learned huge amounts from the talented people within government with whom I’ve worked over the years. I’m genuinely grateful to them for that as I don’t think I could have acquired the knowledge and experience I have if I hadn’t been in-house counsel for SSC and DIA before returning to private practice.
I enjoy being able to apply that knowledge and experience for the benefit of my clients.
Degrees: LLB (Hons)/BA (Psyc/Crim)
Admitted: 1996 (New Zealand) and 2001 (England and Wales)
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About Richard Best Law
Richard Best Law is one of the two sole practices that make up Best+Hancock | Sole Practitioners (which is a consortium, not a firm). The Best + Hancock | Sole Practitioners consortium is a member of the All-of-Government External Legal Services panel.
Richard’s areas of practice
Contracting and procurement
Copyright, open data and licensing
Public law and process
Privacy and other information laws