Thursday, February 16, 2006

The scoping exercise

In her blog, Sarah identifies some of the daft activities that organisations get up to. Why don't those organisations invest in staff, which in turn makes it so much easier to provide good service to the public?

And of course, we've got a great useless activity in archaeology: the scoping exercise. Broadly speaking, it means spending an awful lot of money (in archaeological terms) asking archaeologists what they have that needs doing - it could be specifically to do with researching finds, sorting out archives, training, etc. It'll have a title like: The research agenda for Roman archaeology in Borsetshire for the next ten years or Training needs for pottery specialist. Everybody's expectations rise. At last, something's going to be done! The obligatory report appears. And ... nothing happens.

There's no money to carry out the work they've identified. Well, frankly the money for the scoping exercise should be used on at least carrying out some of the research or whatever was being 'scoped' in the first place. We all know what needs to be done. Every archaeologist I know is trailing behind them a long list of grey literature, that needs to be written up, but for lack of funds they can't. The scoping project is surplus to requirements, unless there is a real pot of money at the end of it..

Everytime I hear there's another scoping exercise in the offing, I switch off and have a short fantasy on what I could have done with the money wasted on the 'scoping exercise': writing up important fieldwork and put the information about the publics' heritage into the actual public domain, that sort of useless project!


At 12:54 pm GMT, Blogger Sarah Cuthbertson said...

Sounds like a pen-pusher's charter. What a sad waste of time and money in a profession that seems to be kept chronically short of the readies, already.

Can't say the same for BAA, which makes profits almost without trying.


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