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Internal and external scrutiny

Internal audit

An external service provider, RSM Bird Cameron, delivers internal audit services to the Museum under a three-year service contract. The major reviews completed by the internal auditors during 2008–09 included:

  • fraud control
  • financial compliance
  • catering turnover
  • payroll
  • procurement.

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 Four of this report (see Independent Auditor's Report).

The Museum is continuing to implement recommendations from the Safe and Accessible National Collections performance audit, which was conducted in 2004–05. This performance audit applied to the Museum and other national collecting institutions.

Risk management and fraud control

The Museum's risk management practices have been developed in accordance with the Australian Standard 4360: Risk Management, and have been in operation for a number of years.

The focus of the risk management framework is to assist all managers and supervisors to incorporate formal risk management processes into their work to enable the efficient and effective delivery of the Museum's programs, and to promote sound business practices. The Museum's risk management framework focuses on categories including occupational health and safety (OHS), preservation of the National Historical Collection, damage to the building and infrastructure, financial loss, loss of reputation and damage to the environment.

The Museum's dedicated Risk Management unit is committed to fostering a culture of risk management throughout the organisation and, within an overall risk management framework, maintains and advises on:

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

The Museum's Strategic Risk Management Plan was reviewed during the year by the Council's Audit and Finance Committee. Divisional and business unit risk management plans were also reviewed as part of the annual review process.

The Museum participated in Comcover's Annual Risk Management and Insurance Benchmarking program (see Indemnities and insurance).

The Museum has in place fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures and processes, which, together with the Fraud Risk Assessment and Control Plan, meet the specific needs of the Museum and comply with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

The Museum's Fraud Risk Assessment and Control Plan is endorsed by the Council's Audit and Finance Committee, and the associated action plan was reviewed during the year. The Museum provides fraud awareness training to staff as part of its induction training program and through staff circulars.

An internal audit was conducted of the Museum's controls to minimise risks to the Museum resulting from the actions of third party providers.

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 8. There were no formal requests for access to documents under Section 15 of the Act during 2008–09.

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 2008–09.

Formal decisions/notifications/ministerial directions

The Museum received no formal notifications or ministerial directions from the Finance Minister during 2008–09.

Ministerial directions that continue to apply in 2008–09 from previous financial years relate to the:

  • Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines
  • Commonwealth Cost Recovery Guidelines
  • Foreign Exchange Policy
  • Implementation Guidelines for the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry
  • Compliance Report requirements.

Significant events

The Museum did not advise the Minister of any significant events during 2008–09 in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.
Detailed architectural shot of an exterior feature of the National Museum. Concertined metal panels fan across the shot, with black, textured panels visible in the background.
Exterior, National Museum of Australia.

Legal actions

In 2008–09 the Museum settled three claims. One claim related to premises formerly leased by the Museum and the others were employee compensation matters.

Ombudsman

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

A focus on client service

The Museum's Client Service Charter (see Appendix 9) is available to the public as a brochure and on the Museum's website.

During the year the Museum received 484 written comments from visitors regarding services, programs, exhibitions, the building and facilities, an increase of 29 per cent over the number received in 2007–08. The increase can be attributed to visitors commenting on the new Australian Journeys gallery and the redeveloped Circa theatre.

The main source of feedback was through visitors completing the Client Service Charter feedback form. The majority of the feedback was positive. Some changes to the Museum's services, amenities and exhibitions were made as a result of visitors' comments, including:

  • improved accessibility for visitors with special needs
  • continued enhancement of visitor comfort through changes to sound and lighting in the Circa theatre
  • improvement in the readability of exhibition labels
  • further improvements in lighting in permanent and temporary exhibition areas
  • continued delivery of new face-to-face interpretative programs
  • increased seating for temporary exhibitions.

Positive references to the service provided by the visitor services hosts were the most common visitor comments recorded through the Charter, accounting for over 33 per cent of all feedback received in 2008–09.

All new employees are made aware of the Client Service Charter in the Museum's Orientation Day New Starters program, and it was included in detail in the induction and training sessions provided to new and existing visitor services staff. 'Focusing on the customer', a training session for administration staff in the skills required to meet client service expectations, was also provided in 2008–09.