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Where's the money going?


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#1 megilleland

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Posted 22 January 2017

Looking through the latest expenditure figures for Herefordshire Council December 2016 and this entry stands out.

 

£481,700.54 REDACTED / Commissioning Capital (Expense Area) / Capital Expenditure (Cipfa T)

 

Nearly half a million pounds and we have no idea who is receiving this payment. Is it a person, a business or another? We obviously won't find out. 

 

A lot of expenses which are redacted are in the following expense areas. Including the above expense, a total of £876,326.27 was paid out in December. The next largest sum paid being £36,875. 

 

Adults Operations
Central Childrens Directorate Costs
Commissioning Capital
Communities
Education and Commissioning
Environment and Place
Growth
Growth Capital
Housing & Independent Living Capital
Learning Disabilities
Mental Health
Resources
Safeguarding and Family Support
Schools
 
Including the above expense, a total of £876,326.27 was paid out in December - the next largest sum paid being £36,875. This single unknown expense represents 54% of the total redacted expenses paid out. I am sure it was going to a good cause.

Edited by megilleland, 22 January 2017 .

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#2 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 23 January 2017

It is an absolute disgrace that expenditure of public money - our money - is not accounted for in an open and transparent way.  

 

With cut backs being made on so many vital services it came up in a meeting the other day that the Council have found a considerable amount of money in the pot to explore the bypass - we will no more find out which pot of money this came out of than we will be told the recipients of the redacted monies.  I can take a guess at one payment but not publicly!!!


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#3 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 23 January 2017

Here for Hereford Retweeted Hereford Voice

Council "redact" 54% of their monthly spend. Surely so much public money should be publicly accounted for.

Here for Hereford added,

Hereford Voice @HerefordVoice
Where's the money going? - http://www.herefordvoice.co.uk/topic/2448-wheres-the-money-going/ 

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#4 twowheelsgood

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Posted 23 January 2017

Whilst I can see that smaller sums in Social Care might need confidentiality, there is absolutely no excuse for concealing the nature of capital expenditure.


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#5 Max

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Posted 23 January 2017

The seven principles of public office.
SELFLESSNESS
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
INTEGRITY
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
OBJECTIVITY
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
ACCOUNTABILITY
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
OPENNESS
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
HONESTY
Holders of public office should be truthful.
LEADERSHIP
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

https://www.theguard...ing-information

https://www.gov.uk/g...A_v2_-jan15.pdf

It would appear that Council management would benefit from receiving training on how to manage the business of public office with regards to openness, transparency and honesty. Council execs command an attractive salary for what they do however I feel that if I were to employ them within my business, it wouldn't be long before I started seeing a dip in performance. I wouldn't be getting value for money from my management team.

Taking time to read the two links above will make you begin to realise that the Council are not working to best practice and therefore leave themselves wide open to criticism.

It's a shame this site wasn't more widely read by the public as I feel the more people that know what goes on will create a louder voice demanding openness and transparency. Maybe I'll share the info on other social media pages. Judging by previous comments, questions are being asked and answers sought therefore the only way to be heard is to shout loud.
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#6 bobby47

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Posted 24 January 2017

I'm not sure anymore that Max is right to conclude that the more people hear about this issue the louder the protests will become and thus begin a halt to the frenzied secretive spending of public money that's carried out by the hierarchy of Councils.
There was a time, perhaps a few years ago, when local people had some wind in their sails and a sizeable momentum of frustration that gave promise to an end to our silence and signal to the Council and other public bodies that we'd had enough and our protests would be acted upon to bring about some transparency and herald a new era of responsible fiscal governance. But that's long gone. It's passed, and despite a barrow load of 'posts' and messure of loud protest and a huge number of leaked reports that highlighted the unbridled greed and wrongdoing that's been done beneath the umbrella of public service, buggar all has changed, nobody is any the wiser and quite frankly you could easily conclude its all been a waste of time. In fact, thinking about it, I can say without any doubt in my mind, I and others who've slaved over this very issue have completely wasted their time and effort protesting. We may as well have not bothered.
Course, the reasons are many as to why 'they' can do these things. The first to acknowledge is Common Purpose. This ideology, as much as anything, is responsible for the castration and impotency of Councillors who've now been reduced to watching it all unfold from the sidelines and placed in a position where they are unable or incapable of doing anything about it. Indeed, my guess is that most Councillors wouldn't know how to challenge the issue even if they were informed enough to make a thoughtful decision. They're simply out of their depth because the Game Of Public Spending was created by Common Purpose and they, the elected politicians, have no part to play in the Game because the Game, created by Common Purpose has circumnavigated anything that stands in the way of their frenzied feeding and spending of our money.
The Game was designed by the public service hierarchy, it's played only by them, the public are excluded from it and there's absolutely nothing that can be done to halt the slide. For all intents and purposes they can outsource anything, create Arms Length Companies, shred and secrete whatever they want and it's all perfectly legal. The Game is so well designed that they can take many millions of pounds of public money, shift it, move it, send it here, there and everywhere, thread it through a PLC and nobody has a right to ask, 'what's bloody happened' and better still, to protect themselves from ever being held to account and hauled before a Criminal Court, they can call upon the ideology of CP, point to the fact that everyone's at it making the problem so big and so steep to climb, anyone with an ounce of common sense would conclude, 'this is just to big for us to address. Let's leave it for a future generation to deal with.
In short, The Court Dock is now so potentially overcrowded by likely defendants,those that have received multiple Gagging Payments, made vast sums from their LinkedIn contacts of public service, helped themselves to direct access to their very own PLC that can easily take from the public sector and grown rich from moving about from one failed job to another, it's now nigh on impossible to do a single thing about a silly and small few million quid that you are unable to find and have it publicly accounted for. This is the Game. This is how it was designed and despite the tragedy of it all, you've gotta tip your hat to them and acknowledge how cleverly it's all been done.
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#7 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 24 January 2017

There is always hope that this will topple one day - listen to what is happening to BT Europe who would have thought that they had not got it all nicely stitched up.  I cannot believe the leaders of the "Game" are more clever than the leaders of BT.


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#8 Cloudberry

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Posted 25 January 2017

So we know that -

Before Christmas the Council did not receive the large amount of funding they hoped to get from the Department for Transport to work on plans for a western bypass

But the western bypass is a priority, so work using the usual consultants, including outdoor environmental surveys by WSP, has been noted going ahead in the last couple of months

 

This work has had to be paid for, but what with?

 

Why is this not clear on the expenditure figures?

 

Why hide it?


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#9 Maggie May

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Posted 25 January 2017

I heard that the money for the "bypass" project  coming from the local transport maintenance budget. If Cloudberry is right people are already doing surveys in the countryside it means that the people employed to fill all the potholes, clear the drains to prevent the roads from flooding (this has already happened a couple of times this winter at the Asda roundabout) have had their funding cut. As a cyclist having to veer round lots of potholes in the roads just in Hereford at risk to myself and sometimes other road users, it makes me cross that this Council do not do the job we pay them to namely maintain our roads, empty our bins, provide social care services, libraries, etc! 


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#10 herefordman75

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Posted 26 January 2017

I agree completely Maggie - our roads are getting worse by the day. It's putting me off getting back on my bike to commute to work come spring, not keen on damaging myself or my bike.


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#11 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 27 January 2017

Whilst this is not a forum about roads I must give credit where credit is due. Setting aside surplus staff and endless tea breaks Balfour Beatty look to have made a crackingly good job cleaning out the ditches along the Vowchurch/Poston Peterchurch road.  A road notorious for surface water flooding. It will be tested when it rains heavily next.  It goes to show they have the capability pity it cannot be done throughout the county.


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#12 megilleland

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Posted 01 March 2017

Following on from the opening topic above, the January 2017 expenditure figures are out and yet again we have a single payment of £634,668.32 listed as redacted under commissioning capital and capital expenditure. This is the second payment, the December payment which was redacted in similar fashion was for £481,700.54 giving a total £1,116,368.86 and not a clue on what it has been spent on.

 

From a total of £11,238,383.87 paid out in January 2017 here are the top 10 payments:

 

£2,346,971.16   Balfour Beatty Living Places Ltd
   £634,668.32   REDACTED
   £549,955.01   Worcestershire County Council
   £528,606.52   Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service
   £474,469.31   Integral UK Ltd
   £440,081.88   Highways England Company Ltd
   £324,688.75   Speller Metcalfe Malvern Ltd
   £317,833.66   FCC Environment Services (UK) Ltd
   £254,675.54   Shaw Healthcare (Herefordshire) Ltd
   £238,529.96   Whitecross Stepnell Ltd
 
£6,110,480.11  Total - 54% of all payments made
 
Is Highways England Company Ltd the Highways Agency and has it been privatised?

 

 


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#13 megilleland

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Posted 04 March 2017

The council's new website is unable to load up its financial pages today (Saturday 4th March). Their figures are so transparent you can't see them!

 

Oops. Something’s missing…

 

For one reason or another (mis-typed URL, faulty referral from another site, out-of-date search engine listing or we simply deleted a file) the page you were after is not here - this site has recently undergone a major re-working, so that might explain why you got this page instead.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

 
Search for something else:

Edited by megilleland, 04 March 2017 .

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#14 megilleland

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Posted 04 March 2017

On a national level tax payers money is disappearing at a faster rate. A bit like disappearing down a black hole!

 

The National Debt Clock


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#15 Maggie May

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Posted 04 March 2017

The council's new website is unable to load up its financial pages today (Saturday 4th March). Their figures are so transparent you can't see them!

However, one of the pages that you can see is the questions to full council and the answers that have been given http://councillors.h... 03-Mar.pdf?T=9  . I see that there was a question about Hoople Ltd which shows that they have accummulated losses of over £1.369million and have a big deficit on their pension fund. The question gives alot more detail. It seems this is one area where our money may be going. Has any more happened about Mr Robinson and Hoople Ltd?


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#16 megilleland

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Posted 16 March 2017

 

Following on from the opening topic above, the January 2017 expenditure figures are out and yet again we have a single payment of £634,668.32 listed as redacted under commissioning capital and capital expenditure. This is the second payment, the December payment which was redacted in similar fashion was for £481,700.54 giving a total £1,116,368.86 and not a clue on what it has been spent on.

 

From a total of £11,238,383.87 paid out in January 2017 here are the top 10 payments:

 

£2,346,971.16   Balfour Beatty Living Places Ltd
   £634,668.32   REDACTED
   £549,955.01   Worcestershire County Council
   £528,606.52   Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service
   £474,469.31   Integral UK Ltd
   £440,081.88   Highways England Company Ltd
   £324,688.75   Speller Metcalfe Malvern Ltd
   £317,833.66   FCC Environment Services (UK) Ltd
   £254,675.54   Shaw Healthcare (Herefordshire) Ltd
   £238,529.96   Whitecross Stepnell Ltd
 
£6,110,480.11  Total - 54% of all payments made
 
Is Highways England Company Ltd the Highways Agency and has it been privatised?

 

With the missing spreadsheets from last year on the new website the redacted sums are now:

 

26/10/2016    3844657    £174,005.42    REDACTED    201707    Commissioning Capital    Capital Expenditure

26/10/2016    3844656      £78,665.58    REDACTED    201707    Commissioning Capital    Capital Expenditure

18/11/2016    3848333    £305,327.46    REDACTED    201708    Commissioning Capital    Capital Expenditure

16/12/2016    3852511    £481,700.54    REDACTED    201709    Commissioning Capital    Capital Expenditure

18/01/2017    3855116    £634,668.32    REDACTED    201710    Commissioning Capital    Capital Expenditure

                                    £1,674,367.32     Total of 5 payments to whom?
 


Edited by megilleland, 16 March 2017 .

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#17 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 16 March 2017

I am very surprised there is not an upper limit per redacted payment  How do they keep getting away with what they are doing.  The Indies and IOC really must start talking to each other and come to an agreement on who is to stand in each Ward.  Whilst they may not see eye to eye they must realise the only way to get a foothold is to come to sort of agreement


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#18 DILLIGAF

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Posted 17 March 2017

Half a million quid to Worcester CC! I thought we broke them ties years ago? Can they not use local engineering firms instead of out of town ones? Why the £238k to whitecross school? It's not just the large sums we need answers too.
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#19 twowheelsgood

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Posted 21 March 2017

Very interesting programme on Radio 4 at the moment  - File on 4 - Councils in Crisis. Looking at Councils setting up arms length companies which go bad and end up costing the rate payers £millions. This is the way Hoople is going with losses of £1m+ and mounting and a massive pension deficit as well. It'll all come good says Cllr Johnson - which is exactly the same approach of some other Councils in the programme. It won't of course.

 

Available on Listen Again shortly.

 

There's a quiet revolution going on in our Town Halls. With funding slashed, Local Government is tasked with finding new ways to raise money and deliver services, or face failing to comply with its legal obligations. As councils in England are tasked with becoming more self sufficient, File on 4 examines the different approaches councils are taking in an effort to balance the books.
 
As some invest in commercial property others are spinning off traditional council departments into new companies with commercial divisions. The aim is to plough profits back into services.
 
But as the programme discovers these plans don't always work out. What happens when there is no profit? As the pressure on adult social care grows, some councils now face the twin struggles of meeting demand, with the need to turn a profit. Is this too much of a gamble in services which can mean the difference between life and death?
 
Allan Urry investigates the scale of the challenge as local authorities grapple with rising demand, falling income, and new ways of doing business.

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#20 twowheelsgood

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Posted 21 March 2017

Actually it's even worse than reported above - here is a written question put to full Council on 3 March, and Cllr Johnson's less than reassuring response. How can this business already be in £3.3m of debt?

 

Potential risk to the council.

Herefordshire Council is a joint owner of Hoople Ltd with Wye Valley NHS Trust.
The latest published accounts for the two years to 31st March 2016 state that this company:
1. has accumulated losses of £1.369million;
2. the amount of its pension deficit has gone from £101,000 to £2.097million;
3. it’s turnover year on year has decreased by 8%.
During the 2015/16 financial year five of the six non-executive directors resigned in just one month and none of them signed their emolument certificates. Would the cabinet member with responsibility for the company please confirm that Hoople Ltd’s financial situation poses no risk to the council’s current budget or the medium term financial strategy?
Answer from Cllr Tony Johnson, cabinet member corporate strategy and finance
Yes. The council’s budget and its medium term financial strategy appropriately reflect the obligations of the operating agreement between the council and Hoople, and the trading relationship is fully disclosed in the council’s own financial statements as a related party. The council has, and will continue to work with Hoople to reduce operating costs and improve profitability.

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#21 megilleland

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Posted 21 March 2017

Very good programme two wheels. All rate payers should listen to this half hour piece. Everything mentioned applies to our council, ie setting up local authority trading companies incurring huge losses, lack of transparency and accountability (ie Herefordshire Council farms and small holdings) and in a few years time all services funded from only the council tax and business rates. After 2020 there will be no government grant support paid to councils. UK Column ran an article that tells us where to find unusuable reserves held by councils as in the case of Powys County Council:

 

The revelation that Powys has over £300,000,000 in reserves and is allowing the distress caused by £20,000,000 in cuts to be inflicted on the population would not please many tax payers. They might even wonder why it was necessary to raise £60,000,000 in Council Tax at all. What are “Reserves” for?

 

Maybe this is the time to realise the funds for the public benefit, before the councils are wound up after 2020 and our assets are transferred to the regional Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and the West Midlands Combined Authority. Also check out The “Section 151 Officer” - Council Tax and Fraudulent Accounting.


Edited by megilleland, 22 March 2017 .

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#22 Cambo

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Posted 22 March 2017


Actually it's even worse than reported above - here is a written question put to full Council on 3 March, and Cllr Johnson's less than reassuring response.
Answer from Cllr Tony Johnson, cabinet member corporate strategy and finance
Yes. The council’s budget and its medium term financial strategy appropriately reflect the obligations of the operating agreement between the council and Hoople, and the trading relationship is fully disclosed in the council’s own financial statements as a related party. The council has, and will continue to work with Hoople to reduce operating costs and improve profitability.


The question is how do we stop this association with local authorities setting up these arms length private companies?
Personally I think we the people have to fight back I believe there are 2 options open to us first we should withhold paying council tax I'm not talk about not paying but if a sizeable amount of people actually withheld the money by putting it aside to be payed at a later date as a protest to the way in which our money is spent? Then I think we the people can affect real change in the way our local authorities operate & behave it also makes them more accountable to us?

Secondly we should refuse to cooperate/recognise with these arms length companies such as hoople as I did yesterday where I told hoopla I will not deal with them on a issue of council tax collection I have with them due to the fact that I disagree with there involment within Herefordshire council due to them being a private entity!

But these measure will only work if we the public act in unity.

It's also interesting to note that those who now work for hoople where once employed directly to the council.
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#23 megilleland

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Posted 17 April 2017

It's not only our council wasting money it's a national disease.

 

Councils wasting huge sums as households hit by tax rises.
 

(extracts from Daily Express 16th April 2017)

 

With 539 town hall bosses earning more than the Prime Minister it is fair to expect the local authorities they run to provide value for money.

An audit of council officers’ salaries has revealed an 11 per cent rise in the number taking home at least £150,000 in pay and other benefits last year, at a time when households across Britain were hit with huge council tax rises.

So the fact that huge sums have been wasted by councils in recent years will shock taxpayers.

The costly blunders include Oxfordshire County Council last month spending £12.5million to install a cycle lane while forgetting to lower the curb to allow cyclists on to it.

Portsmouth City Council was also criticised for spending £5million on an “Olympic-size” swimming pool that was two inches short when completed in 2011.

In Sutton, in south London, council officers were left red-faced for losing the only copy of a report, which cost more than £100,000 to produce last July.

 

They were also criticised for calling its food waste reduction scheme a “success” when it only had six participants out of a population of 200,000.

Britain’s finances are still in a terrible state and councils can’t afford to waste such colossal sums of money

Last January Derbyshire Council spent £20,000 on a short stretch of pavement leading to an empty field.

Plymouth Council also wasted £19,066 on a survey asking residents their age, gender and state of health in 2012.

Crawley Borough Council spent “thousands” sending a leaflet to locals telling them to “set aside money for court fines, cigarettes, Sky TV and lottery tickets” in 2015.

 

(comment on above article by Norfolkbumpkin)

 

The best one I have come across is Norfolk County Council. They wanted a Waste Incineration Facility and they negotiated a contract with a company to build one near King's Lynn.   They assumed of course that planning permission by the local council was merely a matter of routine. However, there was a huge resistance by the residents in the area of the proposed development and a local referendum was held resulting in more that 95% of all residents voting against the proposal. Accordingly, King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council refused the application.

Norfolk CC appealed all the way to the Secretary of State and he (Eric Pickles) said he wasn't going to get involved - there was an election pending - sort it out yourselves. King's Lynn Council dug their heels in and the Norfolk CC had to admit defeat.

Problem was that, in the contract they had signed, there was a penalty clause which required Norfolk CC to pay the developers £25 million  (!!!)  in the event that the project didn't go ahead.   So we forked out £25 million for absolutely nothing.   And to this day, we have not been able to find out who actually signed that contract.

 

We are all shareholders in our councils by virtue of investing our money in them. It's a shame we get a poor return on our money. Another example of being missold a financial product.


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#24 twowheelsgood

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Posted 18 June 2017

Good letter in this weeks Hereford Times by Cllr Matthews, restating the massive losses that Hoople are making, which the Council seem unable to address. I've quoted it here. The 2011 launch of Hoople where savings of £33m over 10 years were stated is now looking rather optimistic at best.

 

Watchful eye

 

AT the full council meeting of Herefordshire Council on Friday, May 19, the council’s constitution was debated and approved. 
It was noted that the document clearly stated that the Chief Finance Officer has determined that staff from Hoople Ltd, which is a public business owned by Herefordshire Council and the Wye Valley Trust NHS, would be responsible for writing off all the council’s uncollectable debts up to a certain level.
It should be noted at this juncture that this company provides numerous other services for both partners.
 
It was at this point that I informed members that Hoople Ltd’s latest accounts for two years to March 31, 2016 stated that the company has accumulated losses of £1.396m and the amount of its pension deficit has gone from £101,000 to £2.7M and its turnover year-on-year has decreased by 8%.
 
During the financial year 2015/2016, five of the six non-executive directors resigned within just one month, and none of them signed their emolument certificates.
 
I asked Cllr Tony Johnson, leader of the council, if he would arrange for a council select committee to urgently review the activities of this company, to ascertain who is responsible for monitoring this publicly owned business, and this he readily agreed to do.
 
I had to obtain this information from Companies House, because members generally have never been briefed with respect to the workings of Hoople Ltd, which is after all financed by us, the taxpayers of this county.
 
The public may be assured that the Herefordshire Independents will continue to closely monitor ALL council expenditure, to ensure that value for money is obtained at all times.
 
CLLR BOB MATTHEWS
Credenhill Ward.
Leader
Herefordshire Independents
CLLR P CROCKETT
Queenswood Ward.

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#25 Cambo

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Posted 19 June 2017

Does anyone know if the latest council audit is available?
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#26 Maggie May

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Posted 19 June 2017

I have asked a friend of mine who knows about these things and she sent me this link https://www.hereford...accounts_201617

 

If you want to see information behind the figures I think this is the bit that you need to read "Notice is hereby given under Regulation 15(2)(b) of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 that from 3rd July 2017 to 11th August 2017 inclusive between 10.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on weekdays any person may inspect, and make copies of the accounts and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other related documents of the above-named body for the year ended 31st March 2017, as stipulated in Section 25 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. The accounts and other documents will be available for inspection at offices at which they are normally kept by prior arrangement. Application should be made initially to Mr Andrew Lovegrove, Chief Finance and Section 151 Officer, Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 OLE, 01432 383519, [email protected] . The accounts will also be available at www.herefordshire.gov.uk . 

 

I hope that some of you who know about these things might be able to bring some of the important issues you have raised to the light of public inspection by getting information from the public inspection of accounts. It seems from Councillor Matthews letter that even councillors aren't allowed to know how our money is being spent.


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#27 twowheelsgood

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Posted 19 June 2017

I spoke to a former Herefordshire Councillor today who had no idea that Hoople was an arms length company … despite it coming into existence whilst serving as a councillor.


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#28 Pete Boggs

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Posted 25 June 2017

I spoke to a former Herefordshire Councillor today who had no idea that Hoople was an arms length company … despite it coming into existence whilst serving as a councillor.

I've said this before, but I think it bears repeating. Hoople is not an arms length company, it is a "Teckal" company - under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 the Council is supposed to exert the same control over  the company as it does over its own internal departments. Its primary function is to provide services to its shareholders (i.e the Council and whatever has replaced the PCT) on a not for profit basis.  Only 20% of its activities by turnover can be for third parties and potentially profit making.

 

Arms Length tends to be a term specific to housing management (as in the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy). For the ex-councillor to claim that Hoople is arms length demonstrates woeful ignorance at best,  and at worst deliberate disingenuousness.


Edited by Pete Boggs, 25 June 2017 .

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#29 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 26 June 2017

"the Council is supposed to exert the same control over  the company as it does over its own internal departments"

 

Well no wonder the Council is in the mess it is when Hoople is in the state it is.  They certainly took the not for profit basis word for word! 


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#30 Pete Boggs

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Posted 27 June 2017

 

 

Well no wonder the Council is in the mess it is when Hoople is in the state it is.  They certainly took the not for profit basis word for word! 

Indeed. I suspect that a lot of Hoople's problems are down to its flawed genesis and a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the beast. To the highly paid interims and their consultant chums who did Chris Bull's dirty work for him it was another notch on their CV before they buggered off to another authority to make a mess there.  For the dimwit members and senior officers to whom the pup was sold it was an opportunity to make the Council more commercial which has become a local government mantra since the Localism Act. You can imagine all the Turnips at Brockington telling each other "This Teckal Co - It's like outsourcing but we keep control and can make a profit" seemingly not understanding that you can only do 20% of your work for third parties. How much profit are you going to make off that?  You want to make proper money you need a trading company,assuming you've got something people want to buy, and you can't award or your in-house contracts to a trading company like you can a Tekcal Co.

And for those ex-Buckinghamshire Council officers (Dean Taylor and his clique) who'd already failed once at this particular game it mean another bite at the cherry and maybe get it right this time. Unsurprisingly they didn't. I think it was Einstein who said insanity was repeating the same behaviour again and again in the expectation the outcome will be different this time. Old Albert could have used Hoople as a case study.

Oh, and let's not forget the genius name-the-company competition that saw it saddled with the name of a fictional workshy fop and conman. Entirely appropriate you may think but it speaks volumes that the Turnips got the joke until it was too late. Nobody's laughing now of course.


Edited by Pete Boggs, 27 June 2017 .

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