Public Accountability

External and Internal Audit

The Library’s Audit Committee met three times to consider external and internal audit reports.

Australian National Audit Office Reports

During 2012–13, Australian National Audit Office reports containing Auditor-General recommendations that were implemented by the Library were:

  • Information and Communications Technology Security: Management of Portable Storage Devices (No. 18, 2011–12)
  • Records Management in the Australian Public Service (No. 53, 2011–12).

Internal Audit Reports

The Audit Committee considered a number of internal audit reports, as listed here.

Parliamentary Committees and Government Inquiries

The Library made submissions responding to the Attorney-General’s public consultation paper, Extending Legal Deposit, the National Cultural Policy (Creative Australia) Discussion Paper, and the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into Copyright and the Digital Economy.

Ministerial Directions

Under section 48A of the CAC Act, the Minister for Finance and Deregulation (Finance Minister) may make a General Policy Order specifying an Australian Government general policy applicable to the Library, provided the Finance Minister is satisfied that the Minister for the Arts has consulted the Library on the application of the policy. No General Policy Orders applying to the Library were made in 2012–13, although Council provided input into a General Policy Order proposing that the Government’s Protective Security Policy Framework apply to agencies operating under the CAC Act. General policies of the Australian Government that apply to the Library under section 28 of the CAC Act are:

  • Foreign Exchange Risk Management Guidelines
  • Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines
  • National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry.

Legal Action

A claim was lodged in the ACT Supreme Court in 2003 on behalf of Wagdy Hanna and Associates Pty Ltd, seeking damages for an alleged disclosure of information in respect of a 1996 tender process for one of the Library’s offsite storage facilities. The court proceedings were held in December 2008, with Justice Richard Refshauge reserving his decision. In August 2012, the court found in favour of the Library. The outcome is under appeal by Wagdy Hanna and Associates to the Court of Appeal of the ACT.

Ombudsman

During 2012–13, the Commonwealth Ombudsman did not advise referral of any issues relating to the Library.

Australian Human Rights Commission

A visitor had lodged a complaint in the previous financial year alleging that the Library indirectly discriminated against the person on the grounds of disability. The Library defended the claim and its actions, asserting there had been no discrimination. The matter was resolved during the course of the financial year.

A user lodged a complaint with respect to operation of the Trove website. The complaint was subsequently discontinued by the Commission, as it was held to be misconceived.

Freedom of Information

The Library finalised two requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). One, received on 30 June 2012, was granted, and the second, received in 2012–13, was formally withdrawn.

Agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a Section 8 statement in an annual report. Each agency must display on its website a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with IPS requirements. The Library complies with IPS requirements, and a link to the scheme is provided on the Library’s website (nla.gov.au/corporate-documents/information-publication-scheme).

Indemnities and Insurance Premiums

The premiums under the Library’s insurance coverage with Comcover encompass general liability, directors’ and officers’ indemnity, property loss, damage or destruction, business interruption and consequential loss, motor vehicles, personal accidents and official overseas travel.

The Library’s insurance premium attracted an 8 per cent discount as a result of its performance measured by Comcover’s Risk Management Benchmarking Survey. Under the terms of the insurance schedule of cover, the Library may not disclose its insurance premium price.

The Library continued to be represented at the Insurance and Risk Management Corporate Insurance Forum of cultural agencies, which holds regular meetings with Comcover to discuss insurance issues.

Social Justice and Equity

The Library serves a culturally and socially diverse community and aims to make its collection accessible to all. The Library’s collection includes material in over 300 languages. Its programs and services are developed with an emphasis on public accessibility, and adhere to the principles outlined in the Australian Government’s Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Community. The Library is conscientiously implementing the charter, and seeks to provide all Australians with the opportunity to access documentary resources of national significance. In particular, during 2012–13, the Library:

  • provided an introductory program to 201 international students of non-English-speaking backgrounds
  • provided exhibition and education tours for adults and young people with special needs, and senior citizens groups
  • supported community projects, including the National Year of Reading, National Reconciliation Week, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, National Simultaneous Storytime, Children’s Book Week, Get Reading!, and Libraries and Information Week
  • supported the development of youth arts activities through events and education programs
  • provided remote interactive Trove training and assistance to Australians in metropolitan, regional and rural areas
  • conducted oral history interviews with people regarding their experience of polio, with Paralympians, and with activists for Indigenous rights reflecting on the 1967 referendum
  • acquired artworks and photographs documenting aspects of the Indigenous experience, including a self-portrait by internationally recognised Indigenous photographer Tracey Moffat, and a series of 25 photographs by Darren Clark focusing on Indigenous communities in Gunbalanya (Oenpelli), Tennant Creek and Alice Springs
  • using a staff photographer, documented Bengali New Year celebrations held at Olympic Park in Sydney, which drew crowds of over 10,000 people
  • acquired artist Jeannie Baker’s collages for her children’s book, Mirror, which portrays parallel stories of the family life of two boys: one living in inner Sydney and the other in a village in Morocco
  • acquired papers of Professor Janice Reid relating to effects of torture and imprisonment on refugees, and the establishment of the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors
  • continued to offer a range of assistive technologies in the reading rooms to help people with sight, hearing or mobility impairments to access services and collections
  • provided an ongoing customer service training program for front-of-house staff, including training in mental health awareness
  • following staff participation in a workshop conducted by the Family History Unit of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, hosted a reciprocal visit for Institute staff.

Service Charter

The Library’s Service Charter sets out its commitment to users, the standards of service that users can expect, and the mechanisms for providing feedback or making a complaint.

Revised in 2011–12, the Service Charter is available online (nla.gov.au/service-charter) and as a print publication.

During 2012–13, the Service Charter standards were met as follows:

  • 97.5 per cent of general reference inquiries were answered within standards (target 90 per cent)
  • 94.7 per cent of collection items were delivered within standards and timeframes (target 90 per cent)
  • the Library’s website was available 24 hours a day for 98.9 per cent of the time (target 99.5 per cent).

The Library welcomes feedback and suggestions for service improvements. Feedback forms are placed throughout the Library and on the website (nla.gov.au/feedback). During the financial year, 222 formal compliments and 107 formal complaints were received from users, as indicated in Tables 2.1 and 2.2 respectively.

Table 2.1: Compliments Received, 2012–13

Compliments Received, 2012–13

Subject

Number

Nature

Information and online services to individuals

192

  • Quality, professionalism, responsiveness and dedication of staff
  • Quality and speed of response to inquiries and delivery of collection material
  • Quality of reproduction services
  • Quality of website
  • Trove

Public Programs activities

17

  • Quality of tours and support for educational visits
  • Quality of events program
  • Quality of publications
  • Quality of galleries and exhibitions
  • Quality of volunteer-led tours

Facilities and support

13

  • Quality of food services
  • Quality of support for events

Total

222

 

In addition, several hundred informal compliments were received from users of the Library’s Trove, Copies Direct and reading room services. The number of compliments received was 36 fewer than in 2011–12.

Table 2.2: Complaints Received, 2012–13

Subject

Number

Nature

The collection

6

  • Cataloguing information for collection material
  • Collecting of digital format material
  • Online access to collection material

Information and online services to individuals

55
  • Use of mobile phones by Library users
  • Wireless connectivity problems and slow response times
  • Access to e-resources
  • Use of new photocopiers
  • Delays, misunderstandings and perceived lack of assistance relating to requesting/receiving and discharging material
  • Reader registration processing
  • Copying and inter-library lending fees

Public Programs activities

3

  • Content and display of exhibitions

Facilities and support

43

  • Car-parking availability
  • Bag restrictions in reading rooms
  • Cloaking arrangements

Total

107

 

The Library provided explanations and/or apologies in response to all complaints, and undertook remedial action to address them as appropriate. Complaints relating to car parking were referred to the National Capital Authority as the responsible body. The number of complaints received was 19 fewer than in 2011–12.

Consultancy Services

The Library entered into 30 new consultancy contracts during 2012–13 involving total actual expenditure of $1,028,407 (inclusive of GST) during this financial year. Appendix E lists the new consultancies with an individual value of $10,000 or more. The most significant of the new consultancies involved the design and superintendence of the Reading Room Integration project. There were also 14 ongoing consultancy contracts that were active during the same period, involving total actual expenditure of $316,127, bringing the total level of expenditure on consultancy contracts in 2012–13 to $1,344,535.

Advertising and Market Research

Advertising and market research in excess of $12,100 for non-recruitment and non-tender services amounted to $60,448 (inclusive of GST). This work, contracted to Adcorp Australia Ltd, was for newspaper advertising promoting the Library.