In the UK, historic artefacts that are found by members of the public are subject to the rules of the Treasure Act regarding who the find must be reported to & the financial compensation given to the finder etc. Changes to the way the act is administered give the British Museum a key role in assessing the value of rewards. This seems to go completely against the British Museum’s assertions that it is independent of the government when it suits itself to be so – yet in this instance seems to have the power to act as though it was an arm of the government. Not necessarily a problem per-se, but they need to think hard about the regular passing of responsibility that seems to occur in both directions when they are asked awkward questions.
The way the Treasure Act 1996 is administered is changing
From today the British Museum will provide certain services to the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport in relation to the performance of her functions under the Treasure Act. These services will include the valuation of treasure finds, the invoicing of museums, the payment of rewards and supporting the Treasure Valuation Committee.
(Media-Newswire.com) – From today the British Museum will provide certain services to the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport in relation to the performance of her functions under the Treasure Act. These services will include the valuation of treasure finds, the invoicing of museums, the payment of rewards and supporting the Treasure Valuation Committee.
Locating the performance of these functions within one body will improve the service offered to finders of Treasure, landowners, occupiers and acquiring museums. Those involved will only have to deal with a single set of staff who will be better placed to ensure the smooth progress of any Treasure find through the system.
However, steps have been taken to ensure that any potential conflicts of interest are avoided. Therefore, for those finds that the British Museum has shown an interest in acquiring, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will continue to undertake valuation, invoicing and payment of rewards.
Notes to Editors
1. Before the transfer, the DCMS managed the valuation of Treasure cases. This involved:
* Commissioning a provisional valuation;
* Arranging the meetings of the Treasure Valuation Committee;
* Notifying interested parties of the outcomes of the meetings and handling any challenges; and
* Invoicing museums and paying rewards to finders and landowners.
2. These functions will now be performed by the British Museum, along with other miscellaneous functions, such as the publication of the Treasure Annual Report.
3. Further details of the break down of responsibilities after 19 March can be found on the DCMS’s website ( see link below ) where a copy of a Memorandum of Understanding, between the DCMS and the British Museum, has been published.
4. The British Museum will operate via its wholly owned trading company – The British Museum Great Court Ltd, in the performance of these functions.
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