The future of the Portable Antiquities Scheme

Published: 9 years ago Author:

The Scheme's logoThe BM has agreed with DCMS to take responsibility for the governance and management of PAS with effect from 1 April 2011. DCMS is providing ring-fenced funding (from the Renaissance budget), which will be cut by 15% in real terms, from £1.412m in 2010-11 to £1.323m in 2014-15. This is the same reduction that the national museums and the Renaissance have received.

The British Museum's priority in taking the Scheme forward is to preserve the front line services provided by the current network of Finds Liaison Officers as far as possible and the following measures will be necessary:

  • To cease printing the Portable Antiquities & Treasure Annual Report. One final combined Portable Antiquities & Treasure Annual Report will be published in spring 2011 and thereafter short Treasure Annual Reports will be printed. The PAS website, www.finds.org.uk will contain new pages giving access to details of all Treasure finds from a particular year;
  • To reduce the current contribution made by the Scheme to PAS in Wales, the total costs of which is £75K pa, from £59K this year to £6K from 2012. This is on the basis that these costs should be borne by the Welsh Assembly Government, through CyMAL or the National Museum Wales;
  • To offer the partners that currently employ the 38 Finds Liaison Officers and 5 National Finds Advisers contracts based on this year's staff and travel costs, frozen for four years, and to make savings of £40K pa in the non-staff and travel elements of these grants
  • The remaining staff will be unaffected: the central unit and the National Finds Advisers. In a separate agreement, the DCMS has renewed the funding for the Treasure team which is also based in the British Museum.

The Museum hopes that the 33 partners which employ staff in the Scheme will be able to renew the contracts on this basis. We will work with the National Museum Wales is order to make the case for the continued funding of PAS in Wales.

There were no easy ways to reduce the funding for the Scheme since 92% of it is used for staff costs, but we hope that these measures will enable us to continue to focus on the main aim of PAS to record archaeological objects found by the public.


Head of Portable Antiquities & Treasure
British Museum

24 November 2011

Contact: Roger Bland 0207 323 8611

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