A service level agreement, at its most basic, is an informal legally-binding agreement between an individual who will provide a service and a person or entity that needs that particular service. The service level agreement will clearly state what the responsibilities of the service provider are and what the client or customer should expect if the service provider fails to satisfactorily provide that service.
A service level agreement should be able to define the requirements for every stage of outsourcing, namely, the specific type of service that the client wants; the degree of service that the service provider should provide; and what responsibilities, obligations and duties should be prioritized by the service provider in meeting the needs of the client. A service level agreement becomes particularly important if the service provider is going to offer a consultancy service (meaning he will act as a consultant to the project in question.
A consultancy service level agreement has all the components of a standard service level agreement, but should also take into account the question of conflict of interest. This means that the consultant will be required to fully disclose whether he has interests that may come into conflict with those of the project for which he is being considered as consultant. One example of this is consultancy service level agreements that are provided by the US Federal government to service providers who are going to provide services to US Federal agencies.
The consultancy service level agreements now require adequate and clear disclosure of potential conflict of interest by the service provider, due to the recent allegations of consultancy fraud that arose out of the Operation III Wind procurement process at the US Pentagon.