25 September 2023

Collections audit finds practices missing

Start the conversation

An audit of the management of the heritage and other assets held by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) and Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra has found that neither institution is following effective collections management practices.

In his report, Management of the National Collections, Auditor-General, Grant Hehir investigated whether the Agencies had established effective strategic frameworks to support the management of their collections and if they had implemented effective systems and processes.

“The Australian War Memorial has implemented collection management practices which are effective,” Mr Hehir said.

“The National Gallery of Australia’s collection management practices are not.”

He said the NGA’s governance and financial management controls required improvement, with the entity in a high risk financial position.

“The NGA’s collection management documentation framework requires improvement by ensuring that relevant policies, plans and procedures are finalised and in place and that structured review, update and storage arrangements for these documents are established,” Mr Hehir said.

“The NGA’s risk management framework is yet to reach a state of maturity.”

He said his audit of the AWM’s system found that its Collection Development Plan had been out-of-date for five years and it did not have a conservation plan in place, making it difficult to assess whether it had allocated sufficient resources to conservation.

The audit found that the NGA’s planned conservation activities exceeded the current resources allocated by management.

The Auditor-General made nine recommendations, including that the NGA develop and implement a multi-year financial plan to improve its ratio of expense to revenue, and that it put a fully funded plan in place to provide timely maintenance and replacement of critical infrastructure.

It urged both institutions to improve their collection management frameworks and for the AWM to continue to improve its acquisition procedures.

The Auditor-General’s 88-page report can be accessed at this PS News link and the audit team was Jess Scully, David Hokin, Nathan Callaway, James Sheeran and Paul Bryant.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.