Resource agreement 2016–17
The Parliamentary Service Act 1999 provides that the Librarian and the Secretary of DPS make an annual agreement specifying the resources that will be provided to the Library. The Act provides that the agreement must be:
- made between the Secretary and the Parliamentary Librarian, and
- approved by the Presiding Officers in writing after receiving advice about the contents of the agreement from the JSCPL.
Each agreement identifies the resources and services provided to the Librarian by DPS for the provision of library and research services for the Parliament. It also sets out the services provided by the Library to the broader department; and makes provision for a mid-term review by the Librarian and the Secretary to establish whether any variation is required.
The Resource Agreement helps assure the Parliamentary Librarian’s continued independence and, importantly, enables parliamentary scrutiny of the Library’s resourcing.
The 2016–17 agreement was developed in the context of: DPS’ annual appropriation and corporate plan; the relationship between the Library and the rest of DPS in delivering services to parliamentary clients; and the Department of Parliamentary Services Enterprise Agreement 2011–14.
The 2016–17 agreement was signed by the Parliamentary Librarian and Secretary DPS in June 2016; however, its consideration by the JSCPL and the Presiding Officers was delayed due to the May 2016 double dissolution. The JSCPL considered the proposed Resource Agreement at its first meeting on 30 November 2016, and resolved that the Joint Chairs write to the Presiding Officers recommending its approval. The Presiding Officers approved the Resource Agreement 2016–17 on 12 December 2016.
The Resource Agreement 2016–17 provided the Library:
- an operating budget of $16.620 million
- a capital budget (used for the Library collection and minor capital projects—mainly digitisation) of $3.491 million, and
- an average FTE, including capitalised salaries, of 134.
Employee costs accounted for the majority of the Library’s budget, with the remaining funds largely spent on the collection.
The major pressures on the Library’s budget in 2016–17 were cost increases for collection resources of around seven per cent over the previous financial year, exacerbated by fluctuations in the value of the Australian dollar. Both affected the Library’s purchasing power.
Actual expenditure was $16.411 million in operational funding (an underspend of $0.209 million or 1.2 per cent) and $3.326 million in capital (an underspend of $0.164 million or 4.7 per cent).
A more detailed breakdown of budget and actual expenditure can be found in the financial tables at pages 160–161.
While the end of year result was closely aligned with the available budget, there were some internal variations to anticipated expenditure on employee and collection costs (both operational funding). Employee costs were under-spent by some four per cent ($0.595 million). A number of factors contributed to this, including delays in recruitment processes and challenges in filling positions on a short-term basis. The majority of funds not needed for employee costs were redirected to the information resources budget.
The underspend of $0.164 million in the Library’s capital budget was primarily the result of a short delay in completing the first phase of the digitisation of the Parliamentary Papers Series 1901–2012. This is discussed later in this report.
Total expenditure on the Library collection in 2016–17 was:
- information resources (including database subscriptions and news services)—$2.486 million (operational funding)
- reference serials and monographs—$0.854 million (capital funding, including capitalised salaries)
- digitisation—$2.015 million (capital funding), and
- digital repository and data remediation—$0.317 (capital funding).
Figure 5: Parliamentary Library budget 2005–06 to 2017–18
Figure 6: Parliamentary Library budget (resource agreement) and expenditure 2014–15 to 2016–17
The year ahead
The Presiding Officers approved the Parliamentary Library Resource Agreement 2017–18 on 22 June 2017. It provides that the Parliamentary Librarian receive:
- operating funding of $15,491,243, and
- capital funding of $3,593,168.
Figure 6 (above) shows a decrease in the Library’s operational funding for 2017–18 compared to the 2016–17 financial year. However, the net impact on the Library’s core budget is minimal (-$261,317), as the reduction in operational funds is largely offset by an associated increase in capital funding.
This movement from operational to capital funding is a consequence of a change to the accounting treatment of aspects of the Library’s collection. From 2017–18, the majority of the costs of the Electronic Media Monitoring Unit, purchased news clips, and a greater proportion of the work of the Library Databases team will be capitalised as the resultant digital assets will now form a permanent part of the Library’s collection (in accordance with the ‘Framework for the Digital Delivery of Parliamentary Library Products and Services’ and the Library’s ‘Digital Preservation Framework’ and ‘Digital Collection’ procedure).
The 2017–18 Resource Agreement also reflects the completion of the first and most expensive stage of the Parliamentary Papers digitisation project, which was allocated funding of $1.2 million in 2016–17, reducing to $0.323 million in 2017–18.
Parliamentary Service Act 1999 section 38G.