Australia’s National Collecting Institutions (NCIs) play a key role in collecting, preserving and sharing items which are integral to Australia’s national identity, culture and achievements. The NCIs manage approximately 59 million heritage and cultural assets, with a combined estimated value of over $10.9 billion as at 30 June 2020.

This audit, as a follow-on to the Auditor-General report Management of the national collections, assessed the collection management practices of two additional corporate Commonwealth NCIs with high value collections, the National Library and the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA). Together, these two collections are worth approximately $1.6 billion.

The objective of this audit was to assess whether the Library and the NFSA have implemented effective collection management practices.

Main conclusions:

  • The Library and the NFSA have implemented largely effective collection management practices.
  • The Library and the NFSA have established largely effective strategic frameworks to support the management of their collections. Both entities could improve their performance measures to include efficiency and longer term measures, and enhance qualitative measures. The NFSA’s risk management framework and business continuity plans were effective. The Library has recently updated its risk management framework and should review its business continuity planning documentation.
  • Largely effective systems and processes are in place to support collection management in accordance with the entities’ mandates and collection policies. The NFSA could improve accessioning prioritisation and loan management, and both entities should develop de-selection plans and review backlogs.
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Auditor-General Report No.29 2020–21