Consulting and contracting services
The Museum engages consultants where it lacks specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem, carry out defined reviews or evaluations, or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist in the Museum’s decision-making.
Prior to engaging consultants, the Museum takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the National Museum of Australia Act 1980 and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and relevant internal policies.
During 2011–12, 12 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $227,394. In addition, four ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2011–12 year, involving total actual expenditure of $17,293. Major consultancy services included a review of the Asset Management Plan, a commercial services review, advice on wi-fi and Cloud computing security risks, and an assessment of Museum air-conditioning deficiencies and replacement options.
A review of roles and responsibilities within the Facilities section was undertaken this year to enable more efficient delivery of building services. The Museum also reviewed existing leases and contracts during 2011–12 and exercised the option to extend the Facilities Maintenance contract until 30 March 2013. The Museum entered into a new five-year lease for its building at McEachern Place and exercised an option to extend its lease on the Medical Superintendent’s Building at Acton. Negotiations also commenced on the extension of the leases for the Administration Annexe building and Limestone Cottage.
Several consultancies were completed during the year, including an update of the Museum’s Infrastructure Asset Management Plan and a feasibility study for the redevelopment of the Circa theatre.
Major facilities capital projects completed during the year included:
- installing a new staff kitchen, meeting room and outdoor staff amenities area to Museum facilities at 90 Vicars Street
- providing new bulk chemical storage and battery charging facilities at 90 Vicars Street. This included the provision of chemical storage cabinets and an evaporative cooling system to ensure hazardous chemicals are stored in suitable conditions
- upgrading the fire systems at 9/13 Vicars Street and 90 Vicars Street, including reconfiguration of the main store fire sprinkler systems and revised exit signage
- providing ‘on floor water sensors’ to the Museum’s main plant rooms to minimise possible water damage to the gallery areas from water leaks in upper plant room.
The Museum continued to join with other agencies where possible to achieve savings in the delivery of utilities. This included participation in the whole-of-government electricity contract and combining with other cultural agencies for the purchase of gas.
Enhancing key services: Information and communication technology
The Museum completed a number of major infrastructure and business system changes during the 2011–12 year. Major achievements included:
- installation of a wireless network covering all Museum locations. This infrastructure will service both the Museum’s corporate and exhibition needs, as well as provide free internet access for visitors to the Museum
- increased network performance to 10 gigabits between the Museum’s primary and secondary data centres as well as a major electrical upgrade to the primary data centre to extend its useful life
- migration from an ageing analogue telephone system to a managed digital network using the existing data network, which provided increased functionality
- replacement of the Groupwise email system with a Cloud-based Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook 2010 client (Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation)
- completion of the first stage of a museum-wide Client Relationship Management system (CRM). The CRM solution replaces a number of disparate systems across the Museum and provides a range of enhancements.
The Museum’s technology and information management objectives for 2012–13 are to maintain stable and secure systems and infrastructure, while focusing on continuous improvement.