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MLA commits to funding Portable Antiquities Scheme
#1
An independent report, published today, has endorsed the MLA’s approach to funding the highly-valued Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). MLA contributes the overwhelming portion of funds and is now able to confirm allocation of £1.3 million this year, rising to over £1.4 million in 2010/11.

The scheme, established 11 years ago, encourages members of the public to report archaeological finds. It will receive funding as part of the Renaissance in the Regions programme that supports the development of regional museums. The scheme will continue to be managed by the British Museum.

Roy Clare, Chief Executive at MLA says; “We have always seen the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) as strongly supporting the work of museums. We are delighted that the independent review we launched last year has confirmed the strength of this relationship. The report endorses our intention to support PAS as a vital component of our Renaissance in the Regions programme. Renaissance in the Regions is a major initiative, funded by the government, which is aimed at helping local authorities to improve museums and develop audiences across England.”

“We recognise the national importance of PAS and its potential to forge strong links between museums, members of the public, finders and metal detecting organisations for the mutual benefit of helping unearth, preserve and make accessible the nation's archaeological heritage. We look forward to working with the British Museum to build on the past years’ achievements and ensure the long-term sustainability of the scheme.”


The recent independent review was commissioned by the MLA in conjunction with the British Museum and DCMS. The report, by Kate Clark, recognises the connections with the work on regional museums and recommends that the scheme be continued. The MLA has welcomed the report’s recommendations and intends to maintain the scheme at present levels of activity.

The future of the national scheme has been the subject of talks between the MLA, the British Museum and DCMS since the government's three year spending plans for the MLA were announced last year, which included a significant reduction in funding for the MLA. At that time, MLA committed funds for one year only, indicating its intention in principle to develop the relationship between PAS and Renaissance in the Regions.


"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he
Thomas Rainborough 1647
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#2
Roger Bland has asked me to thank those on BAJR that supported the effort to save the PAS from the kippering that was proposed!

Here is his email:

The outcome of the Review of the Portable Antiquities Scheme commissioned by MLA was announced today. The Report by an independent consultant (Kate Clark) is published on our website <http://www.finds.org.uk/wordpress/wp-con...-final.pdf > > , at the same time as the Treasure Report 2005-06 <http://www.finds.org.uk/documents/TAR200...ighRes.pdf > > . I attach the press releases issued by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) about the PAS and by the British Museum about the Treasure Report.

On PAS, our principal funding body, the MLA, and the Government have both confirmed their acceptance of the recommendations contained within the Report. The Report is very positive. It recognises that the Scheme needs more funding:

‘Despite savings in posts, in travel and equipment budgets, IT and in operational costs, PAS is under-resourced’ (p. 7).

In discussing options for funding Kate Clark states (p. :face-thinks::

‘Option 4 (find an additional £160K) is favoured by everyone from finders to partners. No consultee has suggested that the scheme is not needed, or that its aims could be delivered in another way.’

Kate Clark states

‘PAS is generally well managed with a clear sense of direction, efficient administration and excellent reporting on outputs’ (p. 30)

and concludes (p. 3:face-thinks:

‘PAS appears to be well-liked, delivering genuine partnership and good value for money. Having reviewed budgets and operations, it is clear that with no increase in resources, posts must be cut and the scheme will not deliver regional equity.’

Specifically the Report recommends an increase in funding next year of 9.3%, made up of increased contributions from MLA (which is putting in an extra £80K, or 6%), the British Museum (which is putting in over £70K, up from £7.5K in 2006-07) and the 32 local partners where the posts are based (they are being asked to double their contributions to their posts from 5% to 10%). The detailed figures are in a table on p. 38 of the Report.

This means that we will be able to reverse the cuts that we had to make this year: we will establish two new part-time Finds Liaison Officer posts in the North East and Berkshire and we will be able to strengthen the National Finds Adviser team.

Kate Clark’s Report made no specific recommendations about the funding and management of the Scheme beyond the current Spending Review period, 31 March 2011 and that will be a matter for discussions between the BM, MLA and the DCMS.


There are a number of other recommendations that will be discussed at a meeting of the Scheme’s Advisory Group in December. Although the long-term management of the Scheme after 2011 is still to be decided, we now have a secure basis on which we can move forward over the next two and a half years, in partnership with finders all our key stakeholders - finders, archaeologists, museums. One priority to is to seek as much external funding to enable us to extend our activities and, now that the core funding has been secured, we will be able to do that.

Another piece of good news yesterday was that the Headley Trust decided to give us funding for 12 6-month internships over 3 years, which is very encouraging, as it will provide us with extra capacity to deal with backlogs of finds.

We have four bids to research bodies currently pending for research projects on our data.

I would like to conclude by offering my thanks to those readers of BAJR who gave their support when the Scheme was in difficulties a year ago.

Roger Bland
Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure
British Museum
London WC1B 3DG
Tel.: 020 7323 8611

"I don't have an archaeological imagination.."
Borekickers
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#3
Oo, does this mean that PAS can afford a website database that actually works now?
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#4
WE'll will see... there is one coming in new year.. so interesting to see how like the UKDFD one it is Smile

I hear that the long awaited new britarch website is a coming... 12 years of the previous one... so lots to look forward to!

"Gie's a Job.."
Prof. 'Dolly' Parton
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#5
I bet Dan Pett has had his work cut out in trying fixing that carbuncle.
I'm also sure he hasn't had much resources in funding to do it too.

I wish him all the best and look forward to seeing it when its finished.
Bet he will use quite a bit of the open source stuff that's available.



Website for responsible Metal Detecting
http://www.ukdfd.co.uk
Recording Our Heritage For Future Generations.

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