Tuesday 12 May 2020

Getting the Backlog Done

The UK in lockdown
I wrote yesterday (Tuesday) about falling daily PAS record numbers, and wrote to the head of the Scheme who told me this was "not surprising" because metal detectorists (slip of the tongue, should have been "members of the public") were not allowed to go out hoiking and FLOs were using the time to "update old records". That seemed to me to be a weak excuse since on every UK metal detecting forum you will find constant reference to finders not getting their stuff back from the FLO for months because of the backlog. Now there's a chance to get the backlog cleared.

The 40 FLOs (41 minus one) working-from-home most of them have recently been managing an average of seven a week - so one and a half records a day and a very long coffee break. But it seemed my letter provoked a reaction, while Monday was just 30 objects and the previous Friday was ... just two (one PUBLIC and not a PAS employee at all), the day I wrote to the PAS it went up from 30 to to 106 objects (a whopping 2.6 each!).  Perhaps I should write more often. 

How does this period actually look in the overall statistics?   The UK was late beginning and implementing a lockdown, it's lasted just seven weeks. Here's who has been recording objects 23rd March to yesterday. I'm just listing those that managed an average of one new record made a day for 35 working days in that period.

Among the number of constructive things the PAS could have been doing, even remotely, one of the things they could have been doing in the lockdown was looking at the 'information value' of their website. There is no list of what all the increasing number of acronyms mean - who is NMS? Nautical Museum in Sark? You can click on the link and all it gives you are a list of eight names - that I happen to know (but my Mum would not) all work in Norfolk Museums Service.  Taxpayers in the regions are supporting regional partners - how can they easily see where their money is going on this nonsense?

PUBLIC (volunteers, not PAS employees)   327
NMS         505
LEIC         368
SF             301
LIN           234
BH            226
OXON      209
NARC      182
LIV          162
SUR         160
WMID     156
YORYM  150
DEV        150
GLO        133
NLM       115
WAW        93
SWYOR   90
IOW          84
SOM         66
NMGW    49
WILT        49
LON         46
ESS          57 (the one who called the Police on me)
HESH      38
Contributing 15-30 records in the whole period: DOR, BERK, KENT, WREX, GAT, GGAT, BUC; Contributing less than 15: HAMP, CORN, DENO, Mouthy FLO in DUR (just five), NCL, CAM, SUSS, FASAM, FAKL. 

 All 40 FLOs are on this list, we should remember that there might be attenuating circumstances for low record rates (such as FLOs getting the disease, duty of care etc.) nevertheless it raises some questions what the PAS has been doin and using resources in this time.

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