Monday 31 July 2023

How Much would a Polish PAS/DIME/MEDEA clone cost?

There are no costings in the public domain about how much will cost the proposed Polish system of online registration of metal detector searches and finds that is being voted on by parliament in two weeks time. The MPs pushing this amendment claim that it does not generate any additional costs. That is a naive and ridiculous claim. First of all there will be a big fat contract to somebody to develop, create and test the application. I wonder who'll get the contract this time? Then running it involves employing and providing office space for a whole new body of people to service it. The actual database as it grows will need more and more maintennce, storage space, backups and other security, not to mention troubleshooting any problems that arise in its use. Also there is the issue of maintaining data entry standsards, so the data are comparable across the whole system. So how much do comparable systems cost? Its authors say it is modelled on the British system (PAS) and the Danish one (DIME). Costings for DIME are not readily available, but it is not cheap - being linked to the Danfae system. We do have information for PAS however.

England and Wales, Number of metal detectorists (PAS estimate) - 37600
England and Wales, number of regional offices - 44 (one per 854 detectorists),
England and Wales, annual cost of central office (public domain) - 1.500,000 GBP (and it is not sufficient for the tasks involved)
England and Wales, estimated annual cost to local government partners of all local offices and equipment (my estimate from dissecting a sample of museum reports): between 2.8 and 3.6 million GBP
Total cost per detectorist if they all used PAS: between 115 and 135 GBP
Poland, Number of metal detectorists (MKiDN estimate) - 100 000
Poland, number of regional offices - 16 WKZ (one per 6200 detectorists - pandemonium),
Poland, annual cost of central office (unknown as yet)
Poland, estimated annual cost to local government partners of all local offices (unknown as yet - but potentially huge)
Total cost per detectorist if they all used it: ???
Well, 115 GBP x 100000 is the equivalent of 11,500,000 GBP. At today's rate that is 59,103,445 Polish Zloty. Annually.
I cannot help but think that funds of this size would be better spent on our health service than servicing metal detectorists that do not want to co-operate by getting permits.

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