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, advertising, transactional banking, cleaning, catering, security and exhibition design. Its 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 best practice principles. The Museum annually reviews its Procurement Guidelines to ensure consistency with Commonwealth policy.
The total number of consultancy services provided to the Museum in the period 2007–08 was 29, and the total expenditure on consultancy contracts during the year was $1.217 million. Major services involved program evaluation, market research, information and communication technologies, and financial services.
During 2007–08, the Museum finalised the tender process for the provision of telecommunication services, and a contract was awarded to Telstra for the next three years.
Major facilities management projects commenced or completed during the year included:
- major refurbishment work at the Museum's leased premises at 9–13 and 90 Vicars Street at Mitchell to relocate the Museum's conservation section and create dedicated areas for the photographic studio and receiving and dispatching space; this work also included the construction of new office accommodation and laboratories
- a series of fit-outs within Museum buildings — the Annexe, Medical Superintendent's Building (MSB) and Limestone House – to accommodate new project teams
- an upgrade of emergency lighting and exit signage in the main Museum building, which will continue in 2008–09
- replacement of furniture in the Axis restaurant and catering equipment within the Cuiseum kitchen
- a continuing program of energy management works, including the installation of more energy-efficient external lighting, modifications to existing lighting circuits to improve efficiency, and the installation of additional energy and water meters to allow the Museum to monitor consumption more accurately
- provision of hybrid (semi-waterless) urinals within the high-use public toilet facilities in the main Museum building; toilets in all the Museum's leasehold premises have also been converted to dual-flush systems and all showers have had AAA rated showerheads fitted
- ongoing works within the 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
- provision of consultancies to validate the structural integrity of various building elements, including a review of the structural integrity of the Loop and a structural and occupancy loading review of various elements of the Museum
- additional work on the roof harness safety systems at 8 McEachern Place in Mitchell, completing all the required modifications to the roof safety systems within the Museum's portfolio of buildings
- revision of chilled-water plant programming to provide better environmental conditions within the Museum's exhibition areas while also reducing energy consumption through improved sequencing of the HVAC plant
- resealing the concrete surfaces within the Museum's Garden of Australian Dreams to improve slip resistance in this public area.
The Council's Audit and Finance Committee monitors the financial management of the Museum's assets.
During 2007–08, the Museum continued ongoing training and implementation of changes to its Asset Management System, to streamline and strengthen some procedures within the system. The Museum has also redeveloped its Asset Management Plan, revising its life-cycle maintenance and replacement program of plant and equipment.
Major assets added to the database during the year included the refurbishment of Museum buildings, the Annexe, MSB, Limestone House, 9–13 and 90 Vicars Street, and the redevelopment costs of Circa.
Storage and accommodation planning
Centre for National Museum of Australia Collections (CNMAC)
In accordance with its functions under the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 — to develop and maintain a national collection of historical material — an ongoing strategic priority for the Museum is to develop and plan for collection storage needs. This year a detailed functional design brief was completed, and included site evaluations, environmentally responsible building studies, climatic studies and a storage strategy.
The Museum continues forward planning to address the storage space issues. Work has progressed on the development of such initiatives as:
- securing an additional lease above unit 4 at 90 Vicars Street to provide an additional 1600 m2 of collection storage space
- a new 400 m2 panel room to be used as processing space for incoming collections, such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Collection
- adding new conservation staff office accommodation, an objects workshop and transit store
- constructing a new photographic studio and receiving and dispatching space adjacent to the main store
- providing dedicated curatorial research and assessment spaces.
The Museum has engaged the consultants Woods Bagot to undertake a staff accommodation efficiency exercise. The scope of this project is to:
- resolve immediate issues and shortcomings within the workplace through practical solutions and options
- provide baseline data and analysis as input into future accommodation planning
- identify business unit synergies.
This work will produce the baseline data that will be utilised in the further development of the Museum's Property Plan.
During 2007–08 the Museum's Security section maintained a safe and secure environment for all collections, visitors, staff, contractors and assets. To ensure the currency of its security arrangements, the Museum reviewed a number of key documents during the year, including the security policy, security operating procedures and the security management procedures, and amended these where appropriate.
A review of security was also undertaken, in conjunction with refurbishment works carried out during the year. These reviews recommended a number of changes regarding access control and CCTV coverage, and the majority of this work was completed during 2007–08.
Other activities during the year included:
- conducting security awareness training at staff inductions and contractor site inductions
- entering into maintenance contracts for the security electronic management system and electronic secure key cabinets.
The Museum worked with the Australian Federal Police Intelligence Unit to provide specialised security for numerous VIPs who visited the Museum during the year. The Museum also continued to provide a venue to assist the Australian Federal Police and the Attorney-General's Department Protective Security Coordination Centre with a range of specialised training courses.