Chapter 4—Management and accountability

Corporate governance

To oversee corporate governance and determine strategic priorities, the Director acts in consultation with the Deputy Directors and senior managers.

Corporate governance arrangements were effectively managed, in compliance with responsibilities under the Public Service Act and the FMA Act. Where policies and guidelines were developed or reviewed, this was achieved through a process of agency-wide consultation and input.

Key activities included:

  • managing, reviewing and updating policies and plans, including those covering key areas such as risk management, fraud control, business continuity and workplace health and safety
  • coordinating and managing strategic planning, including the strategic and business plans and input to the Portfolio Budget Statements
  • preparing and coordinating reports and advice to key stakeholders such as the minister, the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport, and the Advisory Council
  • managing the implementation of the new legislative regime for work health and safety
  • developing and implementing the agency’s first Reconciliation Action Plan.

Management committees

The two key senior management committees are:

  • the Executive Management Group—comprising the Director and Deputy Directors, the group addresses high-level management issues, sets strategic directions and ensures a unity of vision, purpose and action
  • the Senior Management Group—comprising the Executive Management Group and section managers, the group has responsibilities for both museum activities and corporate and business planning, and provides an avenue for consultation across the organisation.

Both groups meet fortnightly. Summary minutes of the meetings are published on the staff intranet.

Details of the roles and membership of the senior management committees and the other committees that assist in the organisation’s management are outlined in Table 15.

Table 15 Management committees, 2011–12
Attendance Role Meetings
Executive Management Group
Chair: Director

Members: Deputy Directors
Sets strategic directions. Provides an avenue for discussion and decision-making on agency-wide issues.

Oversees risk management.
Senior Management Group
Chair: Director

Members: Deputy Directors and all section managers
Provides an avenue for decision-making, consultation and feedback on agency-wide issues.

Promotes risk management, regularly reviews and assess key risks, and ensures appropriate linkages between risk management and planning processes.

Acts as the agency’s security committee.

Acts as the project management committee.
Audit Committee
Chair: currently filled by the external member

Deputy Chair: Deputy Director, Corporate and Heritage


Deputy Director, Interpretation and Programs
Manager, Visitor Experience
Manager, Research and Collection Development (until May 2012)
Manager, Schools Learning (from June 2012)
External member


Chief Finance Officer
Manager, Human Resources and Governance
Australian National Audit Office representatives


Human Resources and Governance
Enhances the control framework.

Assists in complying with legislative and other obligations.

Improves the objectivity and reliability of externally published financial information.

Provides assurance to the Director in relation to their responsibilities under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

Reports to the Executive Management Group on its activities.
Approximately four times a year
Heritage Actions Committee
Chair and Delegate: Deputy Director, Corporate and Heritage

Deputy Chair: Manager, Heritage and Information Communication Technology


Deputy Director, Interpretation and Programs
Assistant Manager, Heritage
Manager, Facilities
Manager, Human Resources and Governance
Manager, Visitor Experience
Manager, Learning and Interpretation
Assistant Manager, Interpretation and Community Learning
Manager, Research and Collection Development (until May 2012)
Senior Historian (from May 2012)


Heritage and Information Communication Technology
Discusses action proposals in accordance with Policy 21 of the Heritage Management Plan.

Makes recommendations to the delegate.

Suggests independent advice where relevant.

Provides input to ensure that decisions made regarding use and change in and on the place will not have a significant adverse impact on the heritage values of the place.

Reports to the Advisory Council.
Acquisitions Committee
Chair and Delegate: Deputy Director, Interpretation and Programs

Deputy Chair: Manager, Research and Collection Development (until May 2012—vacant at 30 June 2012)


Manager, Heritage and Information Communication Technology
Assistant Manager, Heritage
Manager, Australian Prime Ministers Centre
Reference Librarian, Australian Prime Ministers Centre
Manager, Learning and Interpretation
Manager, Visitor Experience
Assistant Manager, Interpretation and Community Learning
Research Manager and Senior Historian


Discusses and determines appropriate additions to the collection for approval by the delegate in accordance with Policy 3.3 of the Collection Management Policy.

Activities of the committee are reported to the Advisory Council.
Work Health and Safety Committee
Chair: Deputy Director, Corporate and Heritage

Deputy Chair: Manager, Facilities


First aid officers
Designated Work Group Health and Safety Representative and Deputy Representative
Representatives of Human Resources and Governance, Facilities, Visitor Experience and security staff


Human Resources and Governance
Oversights health and safety matters.

Identifies, develops and implements consistent strategies to address workplace health and safety requirements.

Reports to and advises both employees and the Executive Management Group on relevant issues.
Approximately quarterly
Workplace Consultative Committee
Chair: Director


Manager, Human Resources and Governance
Three staff representatives


Human Resources and Governance
Considers and advises employees and the Executive on workplace issues referred by employees, employee representatives or the Executive.

Facilitates communication, consultation, cooperation and input from staff on matters that affect the workplace.

Plans and policies

Proposals for the development and review of plans and policies are considered and endorsed through the Senior Management Group. It also regularly discusses the management of plans and progress reports against them.

Several elements of the corporate planning and policy framework were reviewed, and new elements were added, in 2011–12. Table 16 summarises the main plans and policies that underpinned management and operations.

Table 16 Corporate management plans and policies, 2011–12
Plan/policy Purpose Period
a Superseded in 2011–12 by the Work Health and Safety Strategy.
Building and Collection Disaster Recovery Plan Manages the agency’s response to and recovery from emergencies, disasters and other disruptive events. 2011–12
Business Continuity Plan Outlines processes designed to ensure that the agency resumes normal operations quickly and efficiently following disruptions. 2011–12
Business Plan Provides a detailed outline of the activities and services that the agency will deliver during the year. 2011–12
Certificate of Compliance Provides a comprehensive overview of the agency’s compliance with the Australian Government’s financial management framework, including an assurance regarding the financial sustainability and awareness of the known risks to the financial sustainability of the agency. 2011–12
Chief Executive’s Instructions Ensures compliance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act). 2011–12
Collection Management Policy Sets out guidelines for the management, maintenance and development of the Old Parliament House collections. 2008–13
Disability Action Plan Sets out the agency’s commitment to improve the visitor experience for people with a disability. 2011–14
Fraud Policy and Fraud Control Plan Comply with statutory obligations and provide guidance to staff on the policy and procedures for dealing with fraud. 2011–13
Fraud Risk Register Provides the agency and its staff with a tool to identify and manage fraud. 2011–12
Heritage Management Plan Meets agency obligations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and provides appropriate guidance and direction on managing the site. 2008–13
Internal Audit Program Provides the agency with a level of independent assurance on the appropriateness of the internal controls and business risk management that meet the agency’s obligations under the FMA Act. 2011–12
(revised on an ongoing basis)
Interpretation Plan Ensures that the Old Parliament House building is interpreted as a symbol of Australia’s national heritage that inspires and engages visitors to celebrate, debate and experience the past, present and future of Australia’s democracy. 2008–13
Life Cycle Cost Plan Guides activity for necessary conservation, refurbishment and cyclical building works for a 15-year period. 2007–22
Occupational Health and Safety Policya Assists the agency to maintain a safe and healthy workplace in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991. 2008–11
Reconciliation Action Plan Assists the agency to build organisational understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and promote the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 2011–12
Risk Management Policy and Guidelines Provides the agency and its staff with a tool to identify and manage risk. 2011–14
Staff guidelines on the APS Code of Conduct Provide staff with guidance on the standards of behaviour with which they are expected to comply under the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct. 2008–12
Strategic Plan Identifies and provides detail on the agency’s key objectives, priorities and measures of success. 2009–12
Visitor Experience Plan Guides activities to enable museum visitors to tailor their visits to meet their particular needs or interests, while delivering the museum’s key messages and themes. 2011–14
Whistleblower Policy and Procedures Provides staff with information on whistleblowing and procedures the agency and the whistleblower should follow. 2009–12
Work Health and Safety Strategy Assists the agency to maintain a safe and healthy workplace in compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (from 1 January 2012). 2012–14
Workplace Harassment Guideline Provides staff with the procedures to follow to address an allegation of workplace harassment. 2011–14

New plans

A new project management framework and supporting tools were developed in 2010–11, following the recommendations of an internal audit review of project management. The new project management framework was fully implemented during the year. It encompasses policy and procedures, document templates, a project management IT system and a training package. This provides a detailed framework for staff and project managers to follow to develop and maintain a high standard of project management. It will underpin and support the overall planning framework.

The agency’s first Reconciliation Action Plan was developed, endorsed and implemented in conjunction with museum staff and Reconciliation Australia. The plan will help the museum to develop better organisational understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories by providing training to staff, and to promote reconciliation within the government and museum sectors across Australia, including promoting the status and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

A Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group was formed, consisting of senior staff and a representative of Reconciliation Australia, and met for the first time on 30 April 2012. The meeting discussed a number of issues to do with training for Indigenous people within the museum sector, and activities to promote NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week.

The new Disability Action Plan was also finalised. The plan will help the museum to better meet its obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and will be implemented in a staged approach as resources permit (More detail on the plan and the associated Disability Reference Group is provided in the ‘Visitors’ section on pages 47–8).

A comprehensive policy and guidelines for the management and use of intellectual property were developed. Relevant training was provided to staff to support the implementation of the guidelines.

Work commenced on developing a strategic plan for information and communication technology. The plan is expected to be completed and implemented in early 2012–13.


Many of the key plans and policies were reviewed and updated during the year. Examples include:

  • The Chief Executive’s Instructions were regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they remained consistent with all relevant legislation and guidelines, including the Public Service Act, the FMA Act and Department of Finance and Deregulation templates.
  • A new strategic plan, for 2012–16, was developed and finalised. It drew on extensive input from staff and was ratified by the Senior Management Group. It defines the values, mission and objectives of the agency and ensures that the corporate goals and focus effectively align with its outcome. It is available on the museum’s website.
  • The Life Cycle Cost Plan for the building establishes a framework for building works over the 15-year period from 2007–08 to 2021–22. A review of the current plan commenced in June 2012, with a view to extending the plan to 2027–28.
  • To ensure compliance with the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, a Work Health and Safety Strategy was developed and introduced. This replaced the Occupational Health and Safety Policy. (More details on the agency’s arrangements and activities in relation to work health and safety are provided in Appendix C on page 145).

Audit arrangements

The Audit Committee operates under the FMA Act, and is directly responsible and accountable to the Director. The committee’s functions and membership are outlined in Table 15.

The committee met five times and considered progress and outcomes of internal audit reviews. Completed reviews covered:

  • visitor numbers
  • the operations of the Acquisitions Committee and Heritage Actions Committee
  • visitor services information technology
  • the agency’s resource allocation
  • the museum’s current bookings system, including its ability to meet the agency’s needs, and potential alternative systems.

A review of the museum’s current visitor technology security was commenced.

The committee also undertook a range of other audit-related functions on an ongoing basis, including:

  • considering registers of whole-of-government and Old Parliament House–specific audit recommendations
  • reviewing financial reports on current issues and developments provided by the Chief Finance Officer
  • receiving and considering update briefings on current issues from the Australian National Audit Office
  • considering and endorsing proposed control framework measures
  • reviewing and endorsing the agency’s annual financial statements
  • oversighting risk management.

The committee acted in accordance with its role and obligations under the Old Parliament House Audit Committee Charter and Operating Procedures. These documents were also reviewed and revised during the year.

Ernst & Young provided contracted internal audit services during the year.

Ethical standards

A high priority is placed on ensuring a safe, healthy, supportive and productive workplace, preventing discrimination or harassment, and fostering ethical behaviour on the part of staff.

Such standards are guided by the Australian Public Service (APS) Values and Code of Conduct and the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, and reinforced by a range of specific instruments including the:

  • Risk Management Policy and Guidelines
  • Fraud Control Plan and Fraud Risk Register
  • Workplace Harassment Guideline
  • Whistleblower Policy and Procedures
  • Staff Guidelines on the APS Code of Conduct.

Remuneration of executives

Remuneration for the Director is determined by the minister, with advice from the Remuneration Tribunal, under the Public Service Act.

At the commencement of 2011–12, remuneration for the two Senior Executive Service officers was determined in line with the guidelines of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The remuneration of each officer was negotiated between the individual officer and the Director. The conditions were prescribed in individual s. 24 determinations.

Risk management

Risk management underpins the agency’s approach to delivering its outcome, under the oversight of the Audit Committee, Senior Management Group and Executive Management Group.

During 2011–12, the Risk Management Policy and Guidelines and Register of Key Risks were reviewed and updated. The register, which identifies the major risks that face the museum and treatments for their control, was regularly updated by senior managers and submitted to both the Executive Management Group and the Audit Committee for comment and endorsement.

Improvement in overall risk management practices and standards continued. Risk management training continued to form a component of the compulsory training for staff and was undertaken by the majority of staff members.

The agency participated in the annual Comcover risk management benchmarking survey, and achieved an improvement on its previous year’s score, up from 6.1 to 7.

Business continuity and disaster management

The Business Continuity Plan and Building and Collection Disaster Recovery Plan outline the agency’s response in the event of a serious incident or disaster, taking into account Old Parliament House’s status as a major heritage site.

The Business Continuity Plan was tested, with a view to ensuring a quick and effective response to any disruption that may occur, and prompt resumption of normal operations afterwards. The plan was revised and updated in light of the outcomes of this testing process.

A memorandum of understanding was signed with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, enabling the museum to make use of the department’s premises as an offsite base in the event of an incident that disrupts business operations in Old Parliament House.

Fraud control

The agency complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines and has in place appropriate fraud control mechanisms to meet its needs. The Director’s certification that the agency has appropriate fraud prevention plans and processes in place is contained in this annual report’s letter of transmittal to the minister on page i.

The Fraud Policy, Fraud Risk Register and Fraud Control Plan were updated in 2011–12. Annual fraud control data was also collected and reported in accordance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines.

No cases of suspected fraud were reported and no investigations were undertaken during the year.


A new, fully integrated access control system was installed in 2011–12. The security system was successfully upgraded, replacing all previous hardware and software. These works have enhanced the overall internal and external security of Old Parliament House.

A number of new security policies, plans and procedures were finalised to ensure full compliance with the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework.

All staff continued to be required to hold baseline security clearances, and all new staff were required to undergo security checks in order to be cleared to that level.

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