Monday 19 January 2015

PAS Scope Creep and Resource Shortfall

The PAS was set up to document finds made by members of the public which could not be acquired by the state under the new Treasure laws and thus remained for the most part in private hands. The idea of the Scheme was to record the evidence of the findspots and information about the identity of such finds before this was lost as the finds got scattered.

It now appears that the Scheme has lost that focus and is suffering from 'scope-creep'. Not only did they absorb two large academic databases of coin finds a couple of years back, but they are are now cataloguing long-lost items found in the depths of museum stores, see  micropasts /Devizes .

This may boost record numbers and will be presented as another 'success' for the scheme, but this is now being done at the expense of the Primary Mission of the Scheme, the one it gets the public funding for. In the section of the PAS website "FLOs and work pressure" we read that finders are being turned away and freshly-surfaced dugup artefacts  going unrecorded: 
most FLOs are now working at capacity, and therefore unable to record all finds offered for recording [...] it is [...] necessary for FLOs (Finds Liaison Officers) to develop strategies to decide what to record [...] FLOs will limit the number of finds they take in for recording, and this might vary from FLO area to FLO area. [...] many FLOs are working at capacity they need to be selective in what they record. It is at their discretion whether or not they record a particular find, based on local knowledge and experience.
It makes no sense to give objects safely curated in a museum reserve collection priority over freshly surfaced finds scattered among numerous ephemeral personal collections. If the PAS has not got the resources to do its job properly, then let it at least not squander part of them doing instead something which does not in any way reflect what it was originally set up to do.

1 comment:

Brian Curtiss said...

How canthey solve the resource shortage? Yes it does seem to come down to that plus proper leadership by PAS on following their mission properly.

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