Under the National Library Act 1960, the Library’s affairs are conducted by the Council of the National Library of Australia. The Council has 12 members, including the director-general, one senator elected by the Senate, and one member of the House of Representatives elected by the House.
At 30 June 2020, there were no vacancies on the Council. Appendix A lists Council members and their attendance at Council meetings.
In 2019–20, in addition to general accountability and governance issues relating to compliance and finance, the Council considered a range of matters including:
the 2030 strategic priorities
the Corporate Plan 2020–2024
digital futures for the Library
the Treasured Voices philanthropy strategy and its progress
the Public Service Modernisation Fund
the Library’s financial performance, including performance against the Portfolio Budget Statements
the collection development policy and the collecting strategy
the Library’s response to COVID-19
work health and safety updates
updates on facilities management and capital works projects, including the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system replacement; asbestos remediation; and roof replacement projects
The Library’s Council and Executive participated in a strategic planning workshop to consider and define priorities to shape the Library’s future direction. Priorities and actions are articulated in the 2020–24 Corporate Plan and will shape longer-term organisational planning, with a 2030 horizon.
The Council has two standing sub-committees: the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee and the Council Governance Committee.
AUDIT AND ENTERPRISE RISK COMMITTEE
The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee provides advice to the Council and the Director-General by independently reviewing the Library’s operations, its risk management and performance frameworks, and the integrity of its financial accounts. The committee reviews all internal and external reports relevant to the Library and receives presentations from external and internal auditors.
Details of committee members, including their qualifications, meeting attendance and remuneration, are listed at Appendix A. The committee’s charter is available at nla.gov.au/content/charter-of-librarys-audit-committee.
COUNCIL GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE
The Council Governance Committee comprises four non-executive Council members and has the authority to co-opt other non-executive Council members. The Council Governance Committee considered a range of matters in the reporting period, including draft charters for the Council and subcommittees.
Details of Council Governance Committee members are listed at Appendix A.
RISK MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
The Library has a clear structure for identifying, assessing and mitigating risks. Through regular review, it ensures that the framework reflects changes in practice and in the Library’s operating environment. The framework supports the Council, the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee and the Executive to effectively engage with emerging risks and manage identified strategic risks. The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee provides independent advice to the Council and the Director-General on Library risk and assurance frameworks.
During the reporting period, the Library refreshed its enterprise risk management framework, with a view to achieving a better integrated risk management and accountability framework that supports high performance at entity and business unit levels. Initial work, which began in mid-2019, focused on identifying strategic risks and reframing risk categories and risk appetite statements. Subsequent work was undertaken in 2019–20 to revise the Library’s Risk Management Policy, guidelines, tools and templates. The Library’s fraud control framework was also revised and a fraud risk assessment completed.
The Library’s internal auditor, Synergy Group Australia, reported to the Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee on three audits in 2019–20: performance information, cybersecurity prioritisation and collection management. The audits were a mix of compliance and performance assessments. The Audit and Enterprise Risk Committee receives reports on the progress of the implementation of audit recommendations. The Library also commissioned a management-initiated audit to scope the extent of underpayment of casual staff, which had been identified and self-disclosed to the Fair Work Ombudsman as a contravention of workplace obligations and industrial requirements.
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) began fieldwork at the Library in May 2020 as part of its follow-up performance audit of management of the national collections (the National Film and Sound Archive is also included in this audit). The ANAO is expected to report its findings in 2020–21.
PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES AND GOVERNMENT INQUIRIES
The Library was called to appear before the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, as part of the Budget Estimates hearings, in October 2019 and March 2020. The Library did not make any submissions to parliamentary committees or government inquiries in the period.
GOVERNMENT POLICY ORDERS AND MINISTERIAL DIRECTIONS
In accordance with 17BE(d) and 17BE(e) of the PGPA Rule 2014, it is noted that no government policy orders or ministerial directions were received during this period.
LOCATION OF MAJOR ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES
The National Library of Australia operates from five buildings:
Parkes Place West, Canberra ACT 2600 (main building and administration)
44 Tralee Street, Hume ACT 2620 (repository)
64 Sheppard Street, Hume ACT 2620 (repository)
National Archives of Australia, corner of Flemington Road and Sandford Street, Mitchell ACT 2911 (repository)
Australian Embassy in Jakarta (with locally engaged staff).
PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
The Library’s Environment Network comprises staff who are committed to improving the Library’s environmental initiatives. The network meets at least biannually, and has established terms of reference and membership to guide its work.
To gain a deeper understanding of international library practices for offsite storage facilities, the Library’s Director, Facilities and Security was awarded a staff travelling fellowship to visit the United States and Canada to conduct research. This visit presented a number of ideas for constructing environmentally sustainable passive storage facilities. Lessons from these visits will inform the planning of a new offsite storage facility with a strong focus on ecologically sustainable development principles. The Library’s existing offsite storage facilities continue to operate passively, without reliance on heating and cooling.
In a severe hailstorm in January 2020, the Library sustained significant damage to the heritage copper roof, which now requires replacement. Consultation on this significant project has begun with the Library’s heritage consultant and the National Capital Authority, which is responsible for planning in the Parliamentary Zone. A like-for-like replacement with copper is considered the best option from a heritage and planning perspective. Careful design and planning will be undertaken to ensure an appropriate roof profile and design, in keeping with the heritage significance of the Library building.
Progress was made in 2019–20 on some of the works proposed in the Library’s Conservation Management Plan. This included cleaning the external travertine façade and repainting the heritage entrance to the theatre and main reading room.
WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY
During the reporting period, the Library launched an updated version of its work health and safety management system, which consolidated multiple policies and procedures into a single document for practical use by all staff. An independent audit of the new document confirmed its conformance with regulatory requirements.
The main work health and safety (WHS) focus in early 2020 was responding to multiple unprecedented events: challenging environmental conditions, extreme weather and COVID-19. The Library developed an air quality protocol in response to the impact of bushfire smoke in January and February. The COVID-19 response included developing a pandemic plan, risk analysis, and guidance and protocol documentation to ensure ongoing WHS compliance and support of staff and visitors. WHS was a key consideration in the gradual reopening of the Library once COVID-19 restrictions were eased.
Refresher training was delivered to the Library’s health and safety representatives to maintain their skills. Several planned training courses with face-to-face components have been postponed until COVID-19 restrictions ease further. Staff wellbeing was supported through the delivery of influenza vaccinations to more than 320 staff at an onsite online clinic in April 2020. Three regulator-notifiable incidents occurred in 2019–20. In each case, Comcare required no further action.
The Library monitors rehabilitation performance against a range of measures, including time off work and adjustment of duties following an injury. To date, the key performance measures for 2019–20 have been met or exceeded. Two compensable claims were submitted to Comcare in 2019–20. The Library’s premium rates for workers compensation since 2017–18 are shown in Table 3.1.
Table 3.1 Premiums for injuries suffered 2017-20 (as a percentage of wages and salaries)
Note: Includes rates as amended retrospectively by Comcare.
The National Library notes an error in the Annual Report 2018–19. Page 54, paragraph 4 should read:
One notifiable incident occurred in 2018–19, relating to medical treatment. During this period, the Library also worked actively with the regulator by notifying Comcare of planned asbestos removal work.
ADVERTISING AND MARKET RESEARCH
In accordance with section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, Table 3.2 is a summary of amounts paid by the Library to advertising agencies, market research organisations and media advertising organisations in excess of $14,000 (inclusive of GST) for non-recruitment and non-tender services. The Library did not pay for the services of any polling or direct mail organisations.
Table 3.2 Library expenditure on advertising and market research 2019-20
SIGNIFICANT NON-COMPLIANCE WITH FINANCE LAW
Under the PGPA Act paragraph 19(1)(e), accountable authorities are required to notify their responsible minister when significant issues have been identified.
Table 3.3 Significant non-compliance with finance law