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Today, its my understanding that the head of Hoople has resigned. Yes, Mr Mike Dearing has thrown his hand in. How this ends up being dressed up, I've no idea but one thing is for sure, things are not going well for this private limited company that was created by the Council hierarchy.

If, as I hope, this is the beginning of the end for this entirely unsatisfactory commercial venture, I hope it begins the beginning of the new reality that this Council must face up to, grasp and act upon.

That is, they've got to stop haemorrhaging jobs and services to Hoople, they've got to stop funding the chaos that surrounds this company, and simply allow the Council to deal with these services directly instead of employing the middle man.

It's never profitable. It's never in our interests. It's not helpful to staff who don't know what's going on and it makes no commercial sense to fund this stupidity any longer.

I say, cut the cord. Cast Hoople adrift. Safeguard our much cherished public services and the jobs of the Council front line staff and lets return to a place where commonsense reigned and the Council and their employed staff delivered the things our society needs to prosper and recover from these past years of mismanagement of public funds, staff and our public services.

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Yes they have - or rather the other way round - the Council are to save £1.2m pa (from April of this year) by Hoople not giving audit information to the Council on how they're spending our money - looks like there was a reason for that … I'd like to think today was the beginning of the end for these dreadful arrangements that benefit no one but shareholders - see Balfour Beatty et al.

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Hoople are currently going through a consultation and there are supposedly going to be mass job cuts. How will they continue to  provide the same standard of service, something has to give? 


The contracts were re-negotiated and went live today I believe. Hoople will only be paid on an as and when basis for services they provide.  


Services are going to slip even further with less money going to Hoople. I totally agree with Bobby bring these Services back under Council control.


Hoople are currently responsible for Council Tax and Business rates and Housing benefits. This is our revenue and should not be left to an external Company, it's a statutory service and we should control it ourselves. It can not be possible that it's cheaper for Hoople to provide this service. If payments to Hoople have been cut will they still put the same resources into collecting this money and dealing with Benefit claims? I doubt it. If we can't audit them any longer how will the Council measure performance? As I understand it half  this work is done by the Council with the rest done by Hoople. There are two separate businesses working against each other, one relying on the other, which is never a good idea. 


Also does anyone understand why Hoople are responsible for recruitment yet the Council still use an external Company costing a small fortune?

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We all know the answer.  Private companies contracted to supply council services are a brilliant way to stop the audit trail and to syphon off public money without repercussions, consequences or comeback for those in the thick of it.  

Speculating, Mike Dearing may have greener pastures in sight now a review of the Hoople contract has changed the dynamic in the secret lairs of said company.


In my wildest dreams (not Bobby47's versions sadly) the contracts are not going back to our county council.  The system is set up to obscure the audit trail and use large, usually long term established companies, as an aid to fleece the hoi polloi liberally.  

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From the HT

This morning (Friday), the company confirmed that Mr Dearing is to stand down in June to develop a consultancy start-up marketed to “change and transformation†in the public sector.


Need I say more , I would if I could understand what he intends doing ?

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Thank you magucroundabout for translating Mr Dearing. "Speak"


From HCC press release today ..........


Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “We would like to thank Mike for his commitment over the last two and a half years to establish Hoople as a significant service provider in the county. He has worked with both the council and the Hoople board to grow its customer base and deliver significant savings to Herefordshire Council.

“We wish him the best of luck in his new role and for the future.

“I look forward to working with the Hoople board to successfully manage the transition period and see the company continue to go from strength to strength.â€


Reads as if we will follow them to the promised land.......?

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Well done Bobby - news published first on Hereford Voice and hurriedly copied in HT later on!


From the HT report



Set up in 2011 in the form of a joint venture company, Hoople, with the council as a 65% shareholder, took on what was previously known as the shared services partnership (SSP) and its 10-year £33 million savings target which the then council chief executive Chris Bull told cabinet had already been deleted from the council’s budget plans.

Hoople provides financial, IT and back office services.

Since formation, Hoople  says it has delivered  some £3 million in savings to shareholders.


Lets do the sums:  due to save £33 million in 10 years.   Actually (claimed) saving of £3 million in 3 years.


In terms of a primary school maths test:


Michael promises Christopher to give him £33 million pounds over ten years.  Two years later Christopher runs away and Alistair sits in his chair.  After one more year Michael says he has provided £3 million pounds and everyone says "well done".


a) How many million per year has been promised?

b) How many million per year has been delivered?

c) Has Michael done a good job?

d) Was Christopher right to believe the promises (if he actually did so)?

e) Will anyone be held accountable.


You have five minutes and will be given extra marks for not swearing in your answer.

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Dippy, so much for education ... It's worth it ......

Wonder if / when's one of our Cllrs went to school and learnt their Tables . Remember when we were give a task of learning verbatim our tables , they are embedded in my mind after quite a few years .

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Ah Yes Ubique!!


Many years ago, at All Saints School for boys and girls, we had to chant our times table! It was a brilliant little school.

Then on a Friday we had a test - those that Mrs King deemed to have done well got a star...a gold one if you got them all correct!

Happy days, days when the word "Hoople" didn't exist......!!


Now, its been knocked down, and in its place is the multi storey car park....is that what passes for progress.....???

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Dippy and the rest of you, I'm afraid you've got rather low marks on the test.  Let me explain whilst you listen carefully and nod.


a) The answer of £ 3.3 million is very simplistic.  It does not take into account a range of complex and secret contractual factors and adjustments which in reality will bring down the number to a much smaller promised saving.

b) The answer of just one million is again very simplistic.  I would try to explain to you but you probably wouldn't understand why the actual number, due to secret adjustment factors is actually a much bigger one.

c) Michael has been very passionate about delivering a range of innovative and transforming solutions to stakeholders, service users and clients and that is good enough for me.

d) Christopher helped to write the promises and so already knew what to expect.  The promised savings enabled a range of other valuable projects to go ahead such as the new car park by the station, payoffs to Chief Executives and the repair of several potholes.

e) Yes, of course someone has been held accountable.  The person who answers the phone in the office has been dispensed with to show how serious we are. 


Now, Dippy, I fear you are a disruptive influence and are now on a final warning.  Please report for re-education.



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"Council Maths."


I just can't do council maths,

I need to practise more,

'Cos when you're doing council maths,

Two add two won't make four.


Thirty three divided by ten,

Does not make three point three,

(And when you're talking millions,

That's a big mistake, you see.)


You're allowed to double count things,

(Which I always thought was wrong.)

Loss is greater than profit,

When selling assets for a song.


And when they count up money,

They swear the purse is empty,

Yet still they purchase i-pads,

And Apple Macs a-plenty.


I just can't do council maths,

I'd never pass their test.

I think I'll stick to poetry,

It's the subject I like best!


By. D.Hippy.

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We have all heard of Shakespeare County now we have Dippyhippy County . Can not see you getting Detention . If GDJ decides that you still deserve Detention Bobby and I plus, I am sure others will be protesting in High Town.

Well done.

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What can I say?


Council maths may be beyond you but your poetry is magnificent.  You are hereby awarded 10 gold stars and a merit.


The secret to doing council maths is to do the sums backwards.  First decide on the answer you want and only then reach for your calculator and find a way to get the "correct" answer.




I will give you an example.


If you want to build a new shopping centre but it would only be viable if it attracted, say, 50000 extra shoppers a year to your city who would normally shop elsewhere, would you:


a). Commission consultants to find out how many extra shoppers there would actually be and make a decision based on evidence or


b). Commission consultants to find a way to claim there will be 50000 extra shoppers so you can go ahead and build.


You have 2 hours and an agreeable lunch in which to answer this question.

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Please Sir, please Mr. GDJ,

Please pick me to answer the council maths question!

I have studied very hard since my disappointing test results.....is the answer...b???


I think I may be finally getting the hang of it!



By jove, she's got it!

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Twelve times two is thirty eight,

Nine take five is three.

Now I can do council maths,

I'm happy as can be!



Blimey - it's such fun when you get going!

In council maths there's no such thing as a wrong answer....as long as you've got the right explanation!


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  • 2 months later...

Very interesting article over at HT online, "Herefordshire Council reviews its future with Hoople."


Some fine examples of council maths here....particularly in the comments underneath!!


No word yet on Mike Dearings replacement......??


I wonder why.......

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