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 2013–14, the Library implemented the Auditor-General recommendations contained in the following Australian National Audit Office reports:

  • Control of Credit Card Use (No. 35, 2012–13);
  • Agencies Implementation of Performance Audit Recommendations (No. 53, 2012–13).

Internal Audit Reports

The Audit Committee considered a number of internal audit reports.

Parliamentary Committees and Government Inquiries

The Library made a submission in response to the Discussion Paper arising from 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 are in place.

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 Pty Ltd at the Court of Appeal of the ACT. The Court of Appeal conducted hearings into the appeal in February 2014.


During 2013–14, the Commonwealth Ombudsman did not advise referral of any issues relating to the Library.


The Library introduced a new Privacy Policy in response to the amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) which came into effect on 12 March 2014. The Library provided training to staff in the new amendments and audited functions to ensure compliance with the amendments.

The Library made two submissions to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s public consultation on the draft guidelines for the new Australian Privacy Principles. The Library responded to one request for access to information under the Privacy Act in 2013–14.

Public Interest Disclosure

The public interest disclosure legislation took effect on 15 January 2014.  From that date until 30 June 2014 no public interest disclosures were lodged with the Library.

Freedom of Information

The Library finalised three requests, including a subsequent appeal, under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). Partial access was granted in respect of the requests.

Agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement of the FOI Act 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.

Indemnities and Insurance Premiums

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 a 9.3 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 participated in 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 2013–14, the Library:

  • provided an introductory program to international students of English as an additional language or dialect;
  • provided exhibition and education tours for adults and young people with special needs, and senior citizens groups;
  • supported community projects, including National Reconciliation Week, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, National Simultaneous Storytime, Children’s Book Week, National Volunteer Week, and Libraries and Information Week;
  • supported the development of youth arts activities through events and education programs;
  • conducted oral history interviews with thalidomide survivors regarding their experiences living with the severe and ongoing effects of this drug, with Vietnamese veterans who migrated to Australia after the war, and with Indigenous elders for the Centenary of Canberra oral history project;
  • supplied gratis photographs from the Library’s collections for various Aboriginal history research projects, including for Arrernte families who were part of the Little Flower/Santa Teresa Mission;
  • hosted a group of senior Indigenous artists from Kalkarindji (Gurindji) in the Northern Territory to view and listen to special collection material relating to the Wave Hill walk-off;
  • 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 and volunteers, including training in mental health awareness;
  • reviewed online accessibility in relation to event podcasts and promotional videos to ensure transcripts are available;
  • established a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies enabling Link-Up staff to receive regular training about Library resources and services.

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 2013–14, the Service Charter standards were met as follows:

  • 98 per cent of general reference inquiries were answered within timeframes (target 90 per cent);
  • 94 per cent of collection items were delivered within timeframes (target 90 per cent);
  • the Library’s website was available 24 hours a day for 100 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, 186 formal compliments and 72 formal complaints were received from users, as indicated in Tables 2.1 and 2.2 respectively.

Table 2.1: Compliments Received, 2013–14




Information and online services to individuals


•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


Public Programs activities


•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


•Quality of food services

•Quality of support for events




In addition, several hundred informal compliments were received from visitors for the Mapping Our World exhibition and from users of the Library’s Trove, Copies Direct and reading room services. 

Table 2.2: Complaints Received, 2013–14




The collection


•Cataloguing information for collection material

•Online access to collection material

Information and online services to individuals


•Use of mobile phones by Library users

•Wireless connectivity problems and slow response times

•Access to e-resources

•Use of new scanners

•Delays, misunderstandings and perceived lack of assistance relating to requesting/receiving and discharging material

•Reader registration processing

•Copying and inter-library lending fees and delays in delivery

Public Programs activities


•Content and display of exhibitions

Facilities and support


•Car-parking availability

•Restrictions in reading rooms

•Cloaking arrangements




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.

Consultancy Services

The Library entered into 21 new consultancy contracts during 2013–14 involving total actual expenditure of $163,446 (inclusive of GST). Appendix E lists the new consultancies with an individual value of $10,000 or more. There were also 12 ongoing consultancy contracts that were active during the same period, involving total actual expenditure of $900,523, bringing the total level of expenditure on consultancy contracts in 2013–14 to $1,063,969.

Advertising and Market Research

Advertising and market research in excess of $12,400 for non-recruitment and non-tender services amounted to $78,578 (inclusive of GST). 

Table 2.3 summarises expenditure by the Library in 2013–14.

Table 2.3: Library Expenditure, 2013–14



Value ($)


Media advertising in The Canberra Times



Evaluation research of the Mapping Our World exhibition



Media monitoring services