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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, media, transactional banking, cleaning, catering, security and exhibition design. 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 better practice principles. The National Museum's Procurement Guidelines are reviewed annually to ensure consistency with Commonwealth policy.
The total number of consultancy services provided to the Museum in the period 2004-2005 was 39 and the total expenditure on consultancy contracts during the year was $741,301. Major services involved program evaluation, market research, information and communication technologies and financial services.
In 2003-2004, the Museum underwent an independent review of the operation of the facilities maintenance management contract and audit of the facilities management contractor's performance. As a result, a number of processes and reporting requirements were streamlined. A series of workshops held with the facilities maintenance contractor and Museum staff refined operational facilities maintenance processes and clarified contractual obligations. The 2004-2005 operational review of the contractor's performance commenced in June 2005 and the report will be presented in early July 2005.
The Museum had expected to complete design and installation of acoustic treatment in the Hall to improve clarity and sound levels during 2004-2005. The work was more involved than initially anticipated and required extensive assessment and design.
Other major facilities management projects commenced or completed during the year included:
- installing a new low load chiller at the Acton site to provide a more energy efficient operation of the chilled water system. The installation is expected to be completed early in the new financial year and will also enhance the Museum's back-up capacity in the system
- negotiating with the owner of one of the Museum's offsite storage premises to determine an acceptable replacement strategy for the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Works to replace the HVAC system and associated plant and equipment, as well as linking the system monitoring back to the Acton control room, will commence in the first quarter of 2005-2006
- implementing the energy monitoring system to track energy use in targeted areas of Museum to build an annual energy signature to readily compare current and new energy efficiency strategies
- continuing the program of energy management assessments, revising general lighting configurations and revising lighting parameters to reduce power consumption while still delivering appropriate lighting levels for exhibition areas
- replacing carbon filters in gallery areas to optimise environmental conditions for Museum and loaned objects
- conducting a fire matrix review to validate and document the operating relationships between the fire system and the building management system
- upgrading of decking areas to allow for easier use of machinery within the Hall and gallery areas
- assessing the electrical distribution systems to determine the requirements for surge protection and phase failure protection. The recommendations will be progressively implemented in 2005-2006
- reviewing system capacity and redundancy options to determine requirements for business continuity and system backup
- developing documentation and schedules for the cleaning request for tender issued in late June 2005.
With the benefit of four full years of operational information from the Acton site, the Museum reviewed the 25-year asset maintenance and lifecycle plan. Part of the review was based on condition assessment information provided by the facilities maintenance contractor. An additional feature of the review was the inclusion of a detailed asset replacement and refurbishment plan for the next five-year period.
Financial management of assets is monitored through the Council's Audit and Finance Committee.
As part of the ongoing program to maintain appropriate levels of security measures and awareness in the Museum, a protective security risk review was completed in June 2005. The review covered all of the Museum's sites and provided a two-year costed program for implementation of the report's recommendations. While usually it could be expected that an implementation program from such a review would have a timeline of three to five years for completion, the Museum had already recognised most of the issues and commenced remedial action.
There will be progressive implementation of the remainder of the recommendations and it is anticipated that the two-year program will be completed substantially by the end of 2005-2006. The recommended works involved cover areas of additional electronic surveillance, additional access control, improved monitoring, improved security/emergency procedures/policy and training. The Museum will enhance the standard of its safe and secure environment for visitors, staff and contractors.
Other activities during the year included:
- ongoing strategic planning and forecasting to ascertain what resources, equipment and procedures may be required if the level of threat is escalated
- providing regular security awareness bulletins for staff
- presenting awareness sessions to new staff as part of the induction process.
The Museum provided specialised security for VIP visits on 87 occasions, including a visit from Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. The Museum continued to provide a venue to assist the Australian Federal Police and Attorney-General's Protective Security Coordination Centre with specialised training courses.
The Museum places high value on the performance and capability of its people. It is committed to attracting, developing and retaining high-quality staff commensurate with a museum of national and international standing.
During the year the Museum continued to implement the National Museum of Australia (Productivity and Performance) Workplace Agreement 2002 to 2005. Over the life of the agreement, productivity gains flowed from initiatives in these areas:
- the alignment of organisational performance targets with staff performance agreements
- operational and cost saving initiatives, including office and workplace accommodation changes, improvements to visitor host rostering, greater use of technology, and a reduction in the accrual of unused personal leave
- greater operational flexibility to improve the capacity for organisational change, including less prescriptive consultation arrangements, clearer dispute resolution arrangements, more effective excess staff provisions and more flexible recruitment arrangements.
In line with Government policy, Australian Workplace Agreements continued to be available to Museum employees.
The Museum's Productivity and Performance Workplace Agreement has a nominal expiry date of 30 June 2005. In December 2004, the Museum established a Certified Agreement Working Group (CAWG) to develop a new certified agreement to commence in July 2005. The working group completed its task in May 2005 and the Minister approved the new agreement in June. The agreement was scheduled for staff ballot in July. The new three-year agreement will be underpinned by staff commitment to delivering productivity improvements through a range of initiatives, including the new payroll system with self-service functionality, improved business processes and reviews of visitor host rostering and workload management.