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.
Major consultancy services for 2013–14 included internal audit, legal advice, valuation services, collections research, WHS advice and a fundraising consultancy.
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 relevant legislation, policies and procedures including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and, where relevant, the Museum Act.
During 2013–14, 36 new consultancy contracts were entered into, involving total actual expenditure of $161,436. In addition, five ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the 2013–14 year, involving total actual expenditure of $256,682. Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on contracts for consultancies. Where the value of a consultancy meets the relevant reporting thresholds it is reported on the AusTender website, www.tenders.gov.au.
Property management and capital works
In 2013–14, the Facilities and the Design + Environment (D+E) teams merged to become the Property + Environment (P+E) team. This team oversees the design, build and ongoing management of the building infrastructure across the Museum’s main building and its portfolio of leasehold properties. Completion of large-scale capital works projects, such as the Museum Cafe and administration extension projects and the associated defects liability period, were a focus this year. Ashton Raggatt MacDougall, the architects engaged by the Museum to complete the projects, received two awards for their work on the Museum at the ACT Architecture Awards.
Capital works in 2013–14 included:
- initiating and tendering for the replacement of electric humidifiers with an adiabatic system
- work towards a secure staff bicycle storage facility on the Museum site
- improvements designed to optimise space at 90 Vicars Street, Mitchell
- remedial work on the Garden of Australian Dreams
- refurbishing the Museum Shop and Peninsula Room.
Progress was made this year towards an operational (strategic) plan, a Museum property management plan, as well as reviews of policies governing the fire evacuation system and the provision of building work guidelines.
The Museum continues to engage and, where possible, collectively partner with other agencies to achieve savings in the delivery of utilities. This includes participation in the whole-of-government electricity contract and combining with other cultural agencies to seek efficiencies and reduced energy costs. A new gas contract has been sourced with other Canberra-based cultural institutions to commence in 2015.
Enhancing key services: Information and communication technology (ICT)
The Museum continued a range of projects as outlined in its three-year ICT strategic plan covering 2013–15. The plan promotes the adoption of innovative technologies and new business approaches to deliver operational efficiencies and the streamlining of business processes. The Museum completed a range of digital information projects, including the implementation of an e-forms platform, and an upgrade to the electronic document and records management system. As part of this process, approximately 300,000 digital files and 15 metres of paper files have been destroyed in accordance with the Museum’s records authority.
As part of ongoing enhancement of its technology infrastructure, various projects have been completed, which include:
- the removal of all legacy access control and file directory systems, resulting in a modernised and flexible computing environment
- the upgrade of core networking equipment providing security compliance, improved performance and reliability
- the duplication of the Museum’s internet gateway to provide a high-availability infrastructure to ensure accessibility by our digital visitors and minimise disruption to a range of programs
- the implementation of a contemporary data backup solution to ensure the ongoing integrity and security of Museum information, which can cater for the increasing growth in digital assets.
Client computing has also been enhanced, with Windows 8 based tablet and notebook solutions being finalised to cater for the Museum’s increasingly mobile workforce. The Museum has also implemented a remote access solution that allows staff to connect when travelling and teleworking.
ICT continues to underpin the Museum’s programs and exhibitions. A new scalable digital storage system underpins the Museum’s web-based collection search function, ‘Collection explorer’, and supports its multimedia production capability. The Museum has also continued to enhance its wi-fi network to support the Museum’s robot tours and improve visitor access to the Museum’s online content. The Museum looks forward to the implementation of a digital signage and content management system to facilitate the delivery of digital content across the Museum in 2014–15.