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, at the same time as the Treasure Report 2005-06. The official press release is attached below this text.
Our principal funding body, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (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 it states (p. 8):
‘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.’
‘PAS is generally well managed with a clear sense of direction, efficient administration and excellent reporting on outputs’ (p. 30)
and concludes (p. 38)
‘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. 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. We have five bids to outside funding bodies totalling just under £500,000 currently pending.