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Internal and external scrutiny

Internal audit

An external service provider, KPMG, delivers internal audit services to the Museum under a three-year service contract. The major reviews completed by the internal auditors during 2005–06 included:

  • financial compliance
  • procurement and contract management
  • a risk management framework
  • human resource compliance.

A review of information technology governance was underway as at 30 June 2006.

External audit

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is responsible for auditing the Museum's annual financial statements. An unqualified audit opinion precedes the annual financial statements in Part 4 of this report.

The ANAO has completed fieldwork for a performance audit of compliance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. The Museum is continuing to implement recommendations from the performance audit titled Safe and Accessible National Collections, conducted in 2004–05. This performance audit included the Museum and other national collecting institutions.

Risk management and fraud control

To ensure efficient and effective delivery of programs, and to promote sound business practices, the government requires all Commonwealth agencies to have risk management plans.

The Museum is committed to fostering a culture of risk management throughout the organisation through its risk management framework, which comprises:

  • a risk management policy
  • strategic and corporate risk registers
  • guidance material, including risk management plan templates and a ratings matrix.

The Museum's formal risk management framework assists in the efficient and effective delivery of its programs, and in the promotion of good business practices. The framework, available via a dedicated section of the staff intranet, is continuously developed and improved. This is to ensure that it continues to meet changing requirements and to further simplify the task for all business units to incorporate formal risk management processes into their work.

During 2005–06, the Museum completed an extensive review of its risk management framework and the Strategic Risk Management Plan was reviewed every six months. All divisional and business unit risk management plans are scheduled for their annual review in October 2006.

Risk management awareness training was provided for managers, and an introduction to risk management was included in the induction training sessions provided for new employees.

The Museum continued to participate in Comcover's Annual Risk Management and Insurance Benchmarking program (see Indemnities and insurance). The Museum also accepted Comcover's invitation to participate in their risk-profiling exercise aimed at assisting Comcover to gain a better understanding of the risk exposures for all member agencies.

The Museum's Fraud Risk Assessment and Control Plan is endorsed by Council's Audit and Finance Committee and was updated during 2005–06. There were two specific instances of fraud in 2005–06 with a value of $2400 related to theft of stock from the Museum shop.

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 requires each Commonwealth Government agency to publish a statement setting out its role, structure and functions, the documents available for public inspection, and how to access such documents. This statement is available in Appendix 10. There was one formal request for access to documents under section 15 of the Act during 2005–06.

Privacy legislation

The Museum provides information as required to the Privacy Commissioner for inclusion in the Personal Information Digest. No reports by the Privacy Commissioner under Section 30 of the Privacy Act 1988 concerning actions or practices by the Museum were received during 2005–06.

Formal decisions/notifications/ministerial directions

The Museum received no formal notifications or ministerial directions from the Minister during 2005–06 apart from Council appointment notifications.

Significant events

There were no significant events advised to the Minister by the Museum during 2005–06 in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

Legal actions

In 2005–06 the Museum settled four claims relating to injuries sustained on Museum premises, one from a contractor's employee and three from members of the public. The claims were met by the Museum's insurer, Comcover.

As at 30 June 2006, there were three outstanding claims relating to injury lodged against the Museum by contractors' employees and one by a Museum visitor.

Ombudsman

No new issues or matters about the Museum were referred to, or raised with, the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Office.

Occupational health and safety

During 2005–06 the Museum continued to manage occupational health and safety (OH&S) through its well-established OH&S management framework. This included:

  • an OH&S committee
  • four designated work groups for OH&S management in different areas of the Museum
  • health and safety representatives elected by employees in each of the four designated work groups
  • regular training for staff
  • staff monitoring
  • safety improvements
  • incident reporting and investigation.

The Museum's OH&S Committee met four times during the year. The minutes of each meeting were made available to staff via the intranet and noticeboards. The committee consists of the Safety and Risk Manager, management representatives, and health and safety representatives (HSRs) from the four designated work groups, as well as representatives from the Employee Relations and People Development, and Facilities sections. The committee is chaired by the General Manager Operations.

The designated work groups are Acton Administration, Acton Annexe, Acton Front of House, and Mitchell. Each has an HSR and Deputy HSR. There are also trained first aid officers and fire wardens at all Museum sites.

The Museum recognises that training is an integral part of achieving and maintaining a high standard of workplace safety. Training provided during 2005–06 included:

  • courses to educate managers and supervisors about their obligations under the Commonwealth OH&S legislation
  • an awareness session for managers on psychological injury
  • OH&S and risk management induction presentations for new employees
  • manual handling training sessions.

As the Museum makes extensive use of contractors, targeted efforts were made to improve the safety of their work to minimise the risk to themselves, and to others, at or near Museum sites. In addition to the Contractor Site Book already in use, a program of contractor induction sessions was commenced during 2005–06 to further raise contractors' awareness of the Museum's OH&S requirements. These sessions are run every six months, and over 130 contractors attended the sessions this year.

The Museum continued its approach of identifying, assessing and rectifying safety hazards in a functional and practical way that also took into consideration environmental aspects. Some of the key improvements made during this year include removable bollards that can be deployed around the Garden of Australian Dreams (GOAD) mound when wet, an additional safety barrier under the First Australians gallery roof in the GOAD, and floor line marking of emergency exits and equipment throughout the premises at 90 Vicars Street, Mitchell.

Flu vaccines were made available to all staff and volunteers. This was seen as a cost-effective measure to help staff and volunteers maintain their health and provide productivity through a reduced requirement for sick leave.

The Museum provides regular medical screening for staff who work with potentially hazardous substances, with the next round of testing to be undertaken in July/August 2006.

Staff, visitors or contractors reported a total of 92 injuries during the year, including one serious personal injury. The serious personal injury and one dangerous occurrence were reported to Comcare in accordance with Section 68 of the Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991.

There were no fatalities or provisional improvement notices recorded during the period.

Causes of injury or dangerous occurrences

Graph showing the causes of injury or dangerous occurrences in the Museum.

Category of reported incidents

Category of person injured or involved in dangerous occurrences

Left: Graph showing the category of reported incidents in the Museum. Right: Pie chart showing the category of person injured or involved in dangerous occurrence.

Indemnities and insurance

In accordance with Section 16 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act (Report of Operations) Orders 2005, which requires reporting on indemnities and insurance premiums for officers, the Museum confirms that it has:

  • director's and officers' liability insurance cover through Comcover, the Commonwealth self-managed fund
  • not entered into any deeds of indemnity in relation to director's and officers' liability.

The Museum reviewed its insurance coverage, as part of its annual insurance renewal process, to ensure that it remained appropriate for its activities. The Comcover Risk Management Benchmarking program recognised the positive impact of the Museum's risk management strategies and activities by awarding the Museum a 3 per cent discount on its 2005–06 insurance premium.

A focus on client service

The Museum's Client Service Charter is available to the public as a brochure and on the Museum's website. The Client Service Charter is contained in Appendix 11.

A review of the Client Service Charter was completed during the year. Museum clients, staff and volunteers were consulted and comments sought on the relevance of information, the clarity of content and the overall layout. Clients were also asked for feedback on whether the level of service promised in the charter reflected their needs.

Key outcomes of the review were that:

  • information for hearing impaired clients on how to access the National Relay Service will be incorporated
  • a small number of minor text changes will be made
  • the charter continues to be relevant and meets the needs of all stakeholders.

The charter, updated to reflect key outcomes, will be reprinted and made available to all clients in 2006–07.

During the year, the Museum received more than 1559 written comments from visitors regarding services, programs, exhibitions, the building and facilities. The written comments were received via email and from visitors completing the Client Service Charter feedback form. The majority of the feedback was positive. The Museum uses visitor feedback to improve its services and amenities. Examples in 2005–06 included:

  • making changes to text labels in the Exiles and Emigrants temporary exhibition in direct response to comments from visitors
  • producing the Museum map in Chinese, Japanese, French and Italian and making it available to visitors
  • purchasing more seating for permanent and temporary exhibition galleries.

Awareness of the Client Service Charter was promoted to all new employees through the Orientation Day New Starters program and was included in detail in the induction and training sessions provided to new and existing Visitor Services Host staff. Through these sessions all staff were made aware of the Charter, their role in supporting and fulfilling the Charter, and what expectations must be met. 'Focusing on the customer', a training session for administration staff about the skills required to meet the service-level expectations of clients, was also developed and launched during the year. This training was provided twice in 2005–06.

Environmental performance and ecologically sustainable development

During 2005–06, the Museum continued to undertake activities aimed at the conservation of natural resources. This was done through improved energy management and the implementation of a number of other initiatives aimed at minimising the impact on the environment from its operations. The following is a summary of the Museum's activities during 2005–06 (a more detailed list of activities is in Appendix 9):

  • The Museum developed and implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS) that meets or exceeds the requirements of ISO14001. To reduce the circulation of paper-based documents the EMS has been placed on the staff intranet. Training aimed at raising awareness of the EMS was provided for all staff following the implementation.
  • The newly constructed extension to the Annexe building included occupancy sensors to activate lighting only in areas that were occupied.
  • During the refurbishment of 9–13 Vicars Street, Mitchell, materials used in workstations, for example the pinboards and the metal framework, were fabricated using substantially recycled material.
  • Ongoing strategies continued to be put in place to reduce the Museum's environmental impact. These included measures aimed at reducing energy consumption, increasing waste recycling (including the introduction of cardboard recycling) and the use of environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals.

The EMS includes procedures to guide staff and volunteers in minimising the impact of their work on the environment. Some of these procedures include:

  • office energy conservation
  • office waste
  • disposal of waste oils and chemicals
  • response procedures in the event of an accidental discharge of preserving agents.

Relevant procedures are also provided via the Contractor Site Book to contractors undertaking work on Museum sites. The Museum continues to contribute funding and expertise to the Lower Sullivan's Creek ecological survey.

Disability strategies

The Museum recognises the importance of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Compliance with the Act helps identify and remove barriers that might prevent people with disabilities from accessing Museum programs, services and employment opportunities. The Museum meets its obligations under the Act by implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy and the Museum's Disability Action Plan. Details of the Museum's performance during the year in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy are set out in Appendix 12.

Advertising and market research

In accordance with reporting requirements contained in Section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the total payment by the Museum to advertising and market research organisations in 2005–06 was $1,780,986 and comprised:

  • advertising agencies
  • market research organisations
  • media advertising organisations.

A detailed list is shown in Appendix 13.