Annual performance statement
National Archives of Australia and National Archives of Australia Advisory Council Annual Report 2015-16
National Archives of Australia and National Archives of Australia Advisory Council Annual Report 2015-16
I, David Fricker, as the accountable authority of the National Archives of Australia, present the Archives’ annual performance statement for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). These results are reported against the performance measures outlined in the National Archives of Australia Corporate Plan 2015–16, and as published in the Archives’ 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements.
In my opinion, the annual performance statement is based on properly maintained records, accurately reflects the performance of the Archives, and complies with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.
National Archives of Australia
4 October 2016
The purpose of the Archives is outlined in the Archives Act which identifies its key roles and responsibilities. In particular, the objects of the Archives Act are:
The Archives fulfils these functions by undertaking a range of business activities, supported by strategic direction setting, governance and corporate areas.
A total of 14.9 terabytes of digital records and 1shelf kilometre of paper and analogue records of national archival value were transferred to the Archives for preservation and public access. While 100 per cent of records planned for transfer in 2015-16 were transferred, 11 per cent of those transfers were not completed within the processing period set out in the National Transfer Plan or the transferring agency was not informed of a delay ahead of time. Steps have been taken to help ensure that this percentage improves, including closer monitoring and simpler and more accessible data and templates.
More than 196,000 items received preservation treatment, including on-demand and proactive digitisation and imaging services, preservation services and record-based projects. The Archives did not meet the target of 200,000 items owing to the commencement of preparations of the Canberra-based collection for the move to the NAPF.
More than 14.4 million record pages were added to RecordSearch, greatly exceeding the target of 1.5 million. This significant over-achievement is a result of the completion of several projects including the digitisation of 6 million passenger arrival cards and the microfilm collection, and the preservation, description and digitisation of selected World War I repatriation records.
This criterion relates to the issuing of records directly to reading rooms and government entities. It refers to records open and available for public inspection.
The Archives facilitates access to the collection by responding to enquiries from the public and government entities. The Archives received 85,292 reference enquiries and responded to 75 per cent of them within 30 days. The Archives did not meet the target of 85 per cent owing to increased demand for service records associated with the centenary of World War I consuming available resources.
Of the 53,670 records that were subject to a request for access, 48,835 were access examined and 44,945 (92 per cent) were cleared within the statutory 90 days. The target of 100 per cent was not met due to delays in receiving advice from the entities controlling the records (in accordance with the Archives Act).
The Archives maintains a network of reading rooms in each capital city where original records – including documents, maps and audiovisual material – can be viewed. Staff assist people to locate information and resources, and to access and use the collection. Reading room opening hours met Service Charter standards 99 per cent of the time, exceeding the target of 90 per cent.
More than 111,500 records were accessed in reading rooms, or by Archives staff on behalf of those seeking information about, access to, or a copy of a record. As well as the ongoing interest in accessing migration records, the centenary of World War I heightened interest in the personnel and repatriation records of those who served in the war.
The Archives' comprehensive online presence reaches a very broad audience, providing information, collection research services and several specialised web spaces including RecordSearch, Discovering Anzacs, Australia’s Prime Ministers and social media sites. Despite minor unscheduled outages, the Archives met its target of websites being available 99 per cent of the time.
The Archives builds digital information and records management capability across the Australian Government through face-to-face training, e-learning, online videos and advice. Training services are further strengthened by a fully digital learning environment. A 98 per cent satisfaction rating with these services was determined through conducting random sample surveys of clients who accessed the Agency Service Centre, feedback rating surveys of clients who attended face-to-face training and events, and feedback surveys from clients who accessed online training programs.
The Archives assists entities to effectively manage their information and records, and to achieve digital transition and digital continuity. A total of 125 government entities participated in courses and workshops, equating to an achievement of 69 per cent against a target of 75 per cent. The Archives will continue to promote information management training and events during 2016–17 to increase engagement with government entities.
Check-up Digital is an online assessment tool for entities to gauge their information management maturity. It also allows the Archives to monitor the status of information management across the Australian Government, and to provide targeted standards, guidelines, advice and other services. A total of 99 per cent of entities completed Check-up Digital, exceeding the target of 95 per cent. This reflects the success of the Digital Transition and Digital Continuity 2020 policies and entity commitment to manage digitally business information.
The Archives arranges and describes records in the collection with respect to their provenance and original order. This facilitates greater public access to the collection. At 30 June 2016, a total of 34 per cent of the collection was described at item level, exceeding the target of 32 per cent. This reflects the success of description projects such as Project Albany, and innovative approaches to description such as the crowdsourcing ArcHIVE website.
Visitor satisfaction is measured through responses to surveys available at reading rooms and public programs, and teacher evaluations of school programs. Visitor feedback is a valuable tool in planning future programs and services. A total of 93 per cent of visitors reported being satisfied with their experience, exceeding the target of 90 per cent.
The Archives engages with the public through networks, forums, exhibitions, and education and outreach programs. More than 470,700 people visited the Archives, greatly exceeding the target of 177,000. Visitors included those who attended reading rooms and exhibitions across the nation, and people accessing Archives records through loan arrangements with other cultural institutions.
The Archives delivers onsite and online educational programs to schools across Australia, including remote communities, regional areas and home-schooled groups. Overall 123,805 students engaged with the Archives 8707 onsite and 115,098 online, reflecting a significant increase in student engagement with the collection online. Programs include a curriculum-based civics and citizenship program and the Centenary of Anzacs program utilising key records in the collection in an experiential hands-on guided delivery. Online resources include digi-books developed for ABC Splash.
Visitor and teacher responses to evaluation surveys provide insight into their level of awareness and understanding of the Archives and Australia’s heritage and democracy. A total of 91 per cent of visitors reported an increase in their level of awareness and understanding, against the target of 90 per cent.
The Archives facilitates a range of outreach programs to increase access to the collection. These include touring exhibitions, temporary visiting exhibitions and public events such as the Enlighten Festival (where Australian National University School of Art students lit the National Office façade with projected images) and the Constitution Day Speakers Forum. Indigenous records tours were held during National Reconciliation Week, and school-holiday programs attracted young audiences. More than 106,000 people attended outreach programs, exceeding the target of 90,500.
RecordSearch is the Archives’ online collection database and is available through the corporate website. Several hundred thousand descriptions and digital copies of records are added to RecordSearch each year. Users are also able to access RecordSearch via a number of the Archives’ satellite websites. Nearly 10.6 million records were accessed through RecordSearch, against a target of 12 million. Users spent an average time of 12 minutes, which equated to around 25 pages, for each session.
The Archives maintains a corporate website and satellite websites that allow people to engage with and explore the collection. Nearly 4.7 million visits were made to the Archives' websites, against a target of 5 million. While the number of visits was slightly lower than expected, the number of page views was significantly higher than anticipated.
The Archives maintains a corporate and satellite websites that allow people to engage with and explore the collection. There were more than 36.1 million page views on the Archives’ websites, against a target of 15 million. The number of page views on the Archives’ websites was significantly higher than anticipated, indicating that users find the material both relevant and engaging.
In 2015–16 the Archives achieved its outcome and, with only a few exceptions, met or exceeded its performance targets. It also responded to environmental factors that determined its activities and priorities. Among the most significant of these environmental factors were the:
In support of identifying the archival resources of the Commonwealth, the Archives focused on:
In support of making publicly available the archival resources of the Commonwealth, the Archives focused on:
In support of overseeing Commonwealth information and records management by determining standards and providing advice to Australian Government entities the Archives focused on: