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Management performance

Collaboration with other national cultural institutions

The Museum acknowledges that the sharing of knowledge, expertise and resources on common services wherever possible with other national cultural institutions is important to maintain and improve standards of service. The Corporate Management Forum, a regular meeting of national cultural institutions based in Canberra, continued to meet during the year. Some of the key issues discussed by the forum during the year included:

  • implementation of the recommendations from the Review of Cultural Agencies - including issues relating to collection conservation and storage, procurement activities, and shared services
  • benchmarking functions across institutions to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness
  • ongoing accrual reform issues, federal budgetary arrangements, and depreciation policies
  • staff development activities, including the continuation of the successful Cultural Management Development Program and the Advanced Workplace Skills Program
  • forecasting of exhibitions and public programs
  • fraud management.

Consulting and contracting services

The Museum is committed to achieving the best value for money in its procurement practices including contracted services for internal audit, information technology hardware and support, media, transactional banking, cleaning, catering, security and exhibition design. Purchasing practices and procedures are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and are also in accordance with the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 and better practice principles. The National Museum's Procurement Guidelines are reviewed annually to ensure consistency with Australian Government policy.

The total number of consultancy services provided to the Museum in 2003-2004 was 67 and the total expenditure on consultancy contracts during the year was $606,500. Major services involved program evaluation, market research, information and communication technologies and financial services.

Facilities management

The major project during the year was the refurbishment and fitout of the Administration Annexe (the building formerly known as the ACT Hospice). The building is on a long-term lease from the National Capital Authority. All works were completed within budget and in accordance with the Annex Conservation Management Plan, which required retention of the original footprint of the former hospice. Base building and fitout works were completed in March 2004. This enabled Museum staff and services to be relocated in April from offices in the suburb of Braddon. By consolidating its staff in two locations (Acton and Mitchell) instead of three, the Museum gained substantial operational benefits. The Museum's Library, which also moved from Braddon to the Annexe, became more accessible to staff and the public.

Following the completion of the first year of its facilities maintenance contract, the Museum engaged an independent consultant to review the contract's operation and conduct an audit of work carried out by the contractor. It is expected that the consultant will recommend some streamlining of processes and reporting requirements under the contract. In addition, the facilities maintenance contractor is required under contract to provide an annual condition assessment of the plant and equipment to feed into the review of the 25-year Asset Management Plan.

Work continued during the year to improve the acoustic clarity and sound levels in the Hall. The Museum engaged an acoustic engineer, whose report recommended installing specialised speakers and applying acoustic treatment to a number of surfaces in the Hall. The design and placement of the acoustic treatment is being done in consultation with the building architect and is expected to be finalised in 2004-2005.

Other major facilities management projects commenced or completed during the year included:

  • building an additional storage area at Loading Dock 3 to provide space for retail operations and catering equipment
  • installation of sunshades in the Amphitheatre to enhance the use of that space for public programs
  • reconfiguring the South Back of House area to provide improved staff accommodation, security of exhibition changeover material and to accommodate Records Management
  • improving non-slip coating to public areas, installing additional Early Warning Information System speakers, and improving maintenance access to the Garden of Australian Dreams
  • reviewing the conducted heating ventilation and air conditioning at the Acton site and the main storage repositories to assess operational adequacy and identify future requirements for inclusion in the Museum's 25-year Asset Management Plan
  • reviewing the chilled water capacity to assess future load and operational requirements
  • reviewing the heating ventilation and air conditioning systems at 9-13 Vicars Street Repository to determine asset condition and replacement strategy
  • installing an energy monitoring system to allow tracking of energy use in targeted areas of the Museum
  • implementing energy management strategies, including revised lighting configurations to reduce power consumption, installation of power factor correction controllers and revised lighting parameters for exhibition areas
  • commencing implementation of the Museum's environmental management system with stage one energy and environmental audits carried out
  • completing stage one installation of carbon filters in gallery areas to further refine environmental conditions for Museum and loaned objects.

The final outstanding building defect on the Acton building, remaining from the Acton Alliance, was rectified during the year. This was weatherproofing large panel windows and the weather shield on the external aluminium cladding adjacent to Circa.

Asset management

During the year, the Museum developed a consolidated maintenance program to cover all fixed plant and equipment assets across all Museum sites. This enables the organisation to monitor maintenance projects and costs more efficiently.

With the benefit of three full years of operational information from the Acton site, the Museum is reassessing its 25-year asset maintenance and lifecycle plan. This will help with development of a more detailed asset replacement and refurbishment plan for the next five-year period.

Financial management of assets is monitored through the Council's Audit and Finance Committee.


In light of ongoing concerns about security in Australia, a further review of the security was conducted at all Museum sites to assess the standard of security activities. The review included audits of security operating procedures, emergency procedures and associated procedures and practices. It made a number of recommendations for improvements to the Museum's operations and activities. The recommendations of the review were all implemented during the year and included measures such as:

  • revising the operational activities of security staff
  • installing additional security related equipment
  • implementing additional maintenance cycles for security equipment
  • providing additional staffing awareness bulletins
  • revising a number of internal procedures.

The Museum's Security Coordinator meets regularly with other agency security advisers located within and around the Parliamentary triangle. Strategic planning is in place to assess any further requirements under escalated levels of threat.

The Museum provided specialised security for VIP parties on 75 occasions. These visits were coordinated with the Australian Federal Police Protective Security Intelligence Unit. The Museum also continued to assist the Australian Federal Police and the Attorney-General's Protective Security Coordination Centre by providing an operating venue in which to conduct training courses.

People management

The Museum places high value on the performance and capability of its people. It is committed to attracting, developing and retaining high-quality staff commensurate with a museum of national and international standing.

Workplace agreement

A significant highlight during the year was the implementation of the National Museum of Australia (Productivity and Performance) Workplace Agreement 2002 to 2005.

The agreement delivers a 12 per cent salary rise over the life of the agreement. This included a 3.5 per cent salary increase from 1 July 2003. A further 0.5 per cent increase, from the same date, was also delivered in recognition of the commitment of staff to the implementation of the Museum's new staff performance framework Workplace Conversations (see page 82).

Productivity gains in the agreement flow from initiatives in these areas:

  • the alignment of organisational performance targets with staff performance agreements
  • operational and cost savings initiatives, including office and workplace accommodation changes, improvements to visitor host rostering, greater use of technology, and a reduction in the accrual of unused personal leave
  • greater operational flexibility to improve the capacity for organisational change, including less prescriptive consultation arrangements, clearer dispute resolution arrangements, more effective excess staff provisions and more flexible recruitment arrangements.

In line with government policy Australian Workplace Agreements continue to be available to Museum employees.

Staffing and recruitment

Museum staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999 and employment conditions are established under legislation applying to the Australian Public Service and, in particular, the Museum's Workplace Agreement.

At 30 June 2004, the Museum employed 244 staff consisting of 201 ongoing and 43 non-ongoing employees, which represent a full-time equivalent number of 213. A full break down is shown in the following table. An additional breakdown, by employment category and division as at 30 June 2004 and by level respectively are in the next two tables.

Staffing by employment status

Status Male Female Total
Ongoing full time PEO 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full time PEO 1 0 1
Ongoing full-time staff SES 0 2 2
Ongoing full-time staff non-SES 48 65 113
Ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Ongoing part-time non-SES 12 51 63
Non-ongoing full-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing full-time non-SES 6 19 25
Non-ongoing part-time SES 0 0 0
Non-ongoing part-time non-SES 0 15 15
Temporary movements SES 0 1 1
Temporary movements non-SES 7 17 25
Total 74 170 244

Staffing by division

Division Ongoing Non-ongoing Total
Directorate 17 4 21
Operations 90 13 103
Collections, Content and Technology 71 21 92
Public Programs and Audience Development 23 5 28
Total 201 43 244

Staffing by APS level

Staff spread across levels Male Female Total
PEO 1 0 1
SESB1 0 3 3
EL2 9 11 20
EL1 9 11 20
APS6 12 28 40
APS5 12 19 31
APS4 8 29 37
APS3 5 15 20
APS2 18 54 72
APS1 0 0 0
Total 74 170 244

Individual performance management

Between July 2003 and January 2004 the Museum introduced Workplace Conversations, an innovative new staff performance management framework and a key productivity initiative in the National Museum of Australia (Productivity and Performance) Workplace Agreement 2002 to 2005.

Following a successful three-month trial, commencing in June 2003, the Museum undertook training for all staff in October and November and supervisors commenced initial performance discussions under the new framework in November. The new framework was implemented six months ahead of schedule.

Workplace Conversations uses a 'guided conversation' approach and has been well received by managers and staff. It uses Museum-specific Work Level Standards to clarify job roles and expectations. It also uses an associated Museum-specific Capability Profile to identify and reinforce work behaviours that support the Museum's objectives

Evaluation of Workplace Conversations has been integral to its successful implementation. A final overall evaluation report on the first performance cycle is due in August 2004.

Development of the Museum's people

Through Workplace Conversations, Museum staff are encouraged to identify individual learning and development needs and to further their skills through external development activities relevant to their field. A number of staff presented papers at conferences and seminars, undertook research and attended technical and professional workshops. Staff professional activities are listed in Appendix 8. In addition, five staff took part in cultural management programs and four staff attended advanced workplace skills training.

The National Museum of Australia (Productive and Performance) Workplace Agreement 2002 to 2005 also enables staff to access Museum-sponsored study leave, with special provisions for staff to learn languages other than English.

Other staff training included:

  • Workplace Conversations training for all staff provided an introduction to the new staff performance management framework and helped staff improve their communication, negotiation and conciliation skills
  • seminars on occupational health and safety for all managers and supervisors
  • refresher courses for first aid officers, fire wardens and section health and safety representatives.
  • regular and comprehensive orientation program for all new Museum employees.

Consultative arrangements and employee relations

During the year the Museum implemented new, more collaborative, staff consultation arrangements in accordance with the National Museum of Australia (Productivity and Performance) Workplace Agreement 2002 to 2005. Two new consultative bodies, the Museum Consultative Forum and Workplace Development Committee were established, replacing the former Workplace Relations Committee. The new arrangements focus on dealing with issues at the appropriate level within work groups. The forum met twice during the year and the committee three times.

Workplace diversity

The Museum values the skills and knowledge of all staff, and the contributions they bring through their different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. By promoting an inclusive environment, the Museum demonstrates its commitment to workplace diversity and equity.

During the year the Museum continued to encourage a staffing profile reflecting modern Australia's cultural diversity. This was done through recruitment strategies and through initiatives such as the Indigenous Support Group for current employees.

The Museum continued to successfully implement the Government's Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society. In its 2003 report to Parliament, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs acknowledged that the Museum had achieved 100 per cent of key performance indicators relevant to its roles as a purchaser and a provider of services, and cited several Museum practices as examples of better practice.

As at 30 June 2004, the Museum staff who identified themselves as being from target groups were:

Number of staff
Group 2002-2003 2003-2004
Person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent 10 7
Person with a disability 5 5
Person from a culturally and linguistically diverse background 20 30
Females 165 170

Better service delivery

The Museum continued to strengthen its human resource management and workplace relations operations during the year. Payroll processing services, including those previously noted by the Museum's auditors, were improved. The Museum began a review of its human resource information system to ensure best performance for the future. The review will be a key strategic priority for the human resources area during 2004-2005.

Post-separation employment

There were no applications for post-separation employment during the year.

Educational and developmental placements

The Museum continued to be a highly sought after venue for secondary and tertiary students seeking work experience. More than 50 high school students from the ACT and surrounding country NSW enquired about placement with the Museum. Of these, 12 were placed and worked across most areas of the Museum. Approximately 30 tertiary students were involved in paid and unpaid work experience, project work and research activities. During the year the Museum also supported the Public Service Commission's Senior Women in Management Program by providing a temporary placement in the Visitor Services area.