This review was supposed to be commissioned in May, it seems to have only been bugun in June, it was supposed to be written by “September” and here we are at the end of October awaiting the results. The 2008 review was supposed to look at:
1. The objectives of the scheme in the light of changes in regional museum provision, most particularly the RenaissanceWell, let us see what conclusions the working party has come to, especially on the fundamental fourth point – which looks remarkably like the PAS’ own “fifth aim” formulated in 2003 which it announced in its annual report two years ago that it had already fulfilled. Apparently not.
2. Options for levels of activity and funding
3. How the scheme can be delivered in the future in the most cost-efficient manner
4. How the scheme can be funded and managed in the future in a sustainable way.
I find the term "options for levels of activity" a bit irritating. If this Scheme is to function at all, surely it needs to do so at a "level of activity" adequate to the task of recording the finds made by as large a proportion of the British public as possible, otherwise this is information about the past which is being lost. Since at the moment, the Scheme is only reaching a fraction (though opinions differ on "how large/small" a fraction) of the British public who are finders of potentially important achaeological evidence, the only acceptable answer to the question of "levels of activity" must from a heritage management point of view be "more effective than at present".Half measures are of little help to anyone, introducing an element of bias in the record which makes the whole unreliable as a source of information about the historic environment. It merely becomes a public-relations exercise rather than a meaningful resource.
Perhaps it would aid cost efectiveness if in addition to having an outreach scheme, reporting of finds - whether accidental or not - was made compulsory, as it is in many other countries (and is in the case of other sorts of things found by members of the public - such as human remains).