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 Museum's Procurement Guidelines are reviewed annually to ensure consistency with Commonwealth policy.
The total number of consultancy services provided to the Museum in the period 2005–06 was 54, and the total expenditure on consultancy contracts during the year was $0.960 million. Major services involved program evaluation, market research, information and communication technologies, and financial services.
In 2004–05 the Museum undertook an independent operational review of the facilities maintenance contract. As a result, the facilities maintenance contractor engaged additional support staff to assist the site manager with day-to-day operations. This led to a major improvement in the contractor's service delivery and reporting procedures in 2005–06. The Museum will undertake further reviews during 2006–07 as part of its ongoing contract management.
The extension of the Annexe to provide further staff accommodation was a major achievement during the year. Other major facilities management projects commenced or completed during the year included:
- Vicars Street, Mitchell repositories — upgrade of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning fixed plant and equipment, including the provision of a new main mechanical switchboard and building management system, upgrade of fire systems, provision of a new portable building to provide further staff work areas for conservation/registration, fit out to improve staff accommodation
- continuing the program of energy management assessments, revising general lighting configurations and revising lighting parameters to reduce power consumption while still delivering appropriate lighting levels for exhibition areas
- installation of carbon filters and corrosion monitoring within the Temporary Exhibition Gallery area to optimise environmental conditions for Museum and loaned objects
- ongoing works within the main Museum building to validate and document the operating relationships between the fire system and the building management system and fire/building code of Australia requirements
- ongoing installation of surge protection equipment to limit operational risks due to electrical surges and drops in power supply, particularly to the large amount of audiovisual equipment. The upgrade works will be continued in 2006–07
- market testing and subsequent engagement of a new cleaning contractor
- replacement of the Cuiseum, Hall, Lakeside Terrace and Backyard café furniture.
The Museum's Building Management System was also upgraded, allowing greater capacity to help in the tracking and management of the environmental conditions.
During 2005–06 the Museum undertook ongoing training and implemented changes to the Asset Management System (AMS) to streamline some of the procedures within the system. The refurbished Annexe building will be added to the system during 2006–07.
The Museum also commenced a trial of barcode scanners for stocktake and purchasing, and the use of personal digital assistants to track programmed and corrective maintenance works.
Financial management of assets is monitored through the Council's Audit and Finance Committee.
Storage and accommodation planning
In September 2005 a report on the storage of the Museum's National Historical Collection was completed by consultants Property Concept & Management and Sinclair Knight Merz. The report considered a number of options to meet the Museum's long-term storage requirements, ranging from extensions to current facilities to building and owning a customised facility.
The Museum's request to government for funding for a new storage facility was unsuccessful. As a result of this the Museum is reviewing its existing storage arrangements to ensure that it can meet its more immediate storage needs. Workshops were held with appropriate executive, conservation, registration, curatorial, facilities and finance staff to determine suitable short, medium and longer term storage solutions.
As well as focusing on issues associated with the storage of collections, the Museum has identified a need to review staff accommodation to ensure future growth can be supported. The Museum will develop an accommodation plan in 2006–07 to consider this issue.
As part of the ongoing program to maintain appropriate security measures and awareness in the Museum, a protective security risk review was completed in June 2005 with recommendations from this review substantially completed by June 2006. Resulting work included additions to the existing electronic surveillance and access control systems. Improvements were also made to security monitoring, procedures and training.
The implementation of these measures will ensure the Museum continues to provide and maintain a safe and secure environment for the collections, visitors, staff and contractors.
Other activities during the year included:
- the release of the request for tender for the Museum's security guarding and patrolling services
- upgrading the closed-circuit television camera surveillance system from video cassette recording to digital video recording
- the installation of a boom gate to control vehicle access to the service road behind the main Museum building
- updating emergency/evacuation procedures for all Museum sites
- development of the Security Management Plan outlining the operating policies and procedures for the security of the Museum.
The Museum provided specialised security for VIP visits on 70 occasions, including a visit from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf and Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden. These visits were coordinated with the Australian Federal Police Intelligence Unit. The Museum continued to provide a venue to assist the Australian Federal Police and Attorney-General's Protective Security Coordination Centre with specialised training courses.