Consulting and contracting services
The Museum is committed to achieving 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.
Museum purchasing practices and procedures are consistent with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines, and are 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 engagement of consultants is carried out in the same manner as the Museum's other procurement activities. The priority is to obtain value for money, and competitive processes are, as far as possible, used for the selection of consultants. Consultants are generally engaged when particular specialist expertise is necessary, sufficiently skilled expertise is not immediately available in-house, or independent advice on an issue is required.
The total number of consultancy services provided to the Museum in the period 2010–11 was nine, and the total expenditure on consultancy contracts during the year was $160,497. Major contracted services included audience and customer reviews, a review of the catering service, advice on risk management, and feasibility studies for the Museum site plan.
During 2010–11, the Museum entered into a new contract for the provision of cleaning services for a period of three years. The contract was awarded to Rolfe Property Services following an open tender procurement process.
Major facilities management projects commenced or completed during the year included:
- an upgrade to the lifts throughout the Museum to provide better access for disabled visitors and staff. This included the provision of braille lift buttons, audio commands and improved passenger detection systems to ensure the operation of the doors allows for people with disabilities
- refurbishment of the visitor services hosts' accommodation to locate all staff in one place. The lower administration kitchen and tearoom facilities were also upgraded as part of this work to enable them to handle the increased number of staff in the area
- replacement and strengthening of the external decking on the western side of the Museum. This work provided improved access to this area for heavy equipment such as elevated work platforms that are required for maintenance and external cleaning of the building
- construction of a new armoury at the Museum storage facility at Mitchell
- ongoing fire upgrade projects at the Museum building at Acton, including revised exit signage and emergency lighting works
- a continuing program of energy management works, including modifications to the programming of the Building Management System and the installation of more energy efficient lighting.
Enhancing key services: Information and communication technology
The Museum continued to augment, strengthen and upgrade its technical infrastructure during the 2010–11 year. Major achievements included:
- replacement of all desktop and laptop hardware to offer a standardised Windows 7 operating environment across the Museum, resulting in better performance, reliability and manageability
- implementation of a wireless networking capability within the Museum's collection storage sites to improve work practices for staff with mobility requirements, and completion of preliminary design work on a wider introduction of wireless technology
- major version upgrades to the Human Resource Information System and Library Information System
- commencement of a project to implement a digital asset management solution ensuring preservation and accessibility of the Museum's digital collection
- expanding video conference facilities for use between Museum locations.
Building upon its recently obtained Records Authority, the Museum has also continued to digitise paper collection files into the TRIM electronic records management system to enable ready access of this information to all staff. The development of a program to sentence historical records is well underway.
The Museum's technology objectives for 2011–12 are to maintain stable and secure systems and infrastructure, while focusing on standardisation and continuous improvement. Initiatives to achieve this include:
- development of a 2012–15 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategic Plan
- evaluation of personal access devices for their potential to deliver productivity improvements
- a program to raise awareness and take up of electronic recordkeeping practices across the Museum
- greater use of digital signage
- inclusion of telephony support and administration within ICT support services
- continuation of the replacement program for multimedia control systems, theatre equipment, solid state media players and production systems.
The Museum will also continue to take advantage of whole-of-government ICT initiatives and ensure a close relationship with other cultural institutions for the sharing of ICT information.