Hereford Futures chief responds in 'secrecy' row

The chair of Hereford Futures has penned an open letter clarifying the council’s contribution to the company’s costs.

Last week opposition councillors, including Lib Dem leader Councillor Terry James, voiced concern that Herefordians were becoming angry at secrecy surrounding Futures, which is behind the city's multi-million pound Old Livestock Market (OLM) development.

You can read the story here. 

But in the past few days, Futures chairman Ted Willmott has said the £2.27 million of “discretionary spend” by Herefordshire Council has helped Hereford Futures secure more than £100m of inward investment to date.

The latest secrecy allegations aimed at Hereford Futures were aired only last week at a meeting of the council’s general overview and scrutiny committee.

Previous criticism has cited Futures as quick to hide behind definitions of “commercial confidentiality” over its activities.

Council leader Councillor John Jarvis sits on the Hereford Futures board and has asked if minutes of board meetings can be made public with redactions.

The scrutiny committee voted to recommend a redaction protocol to the council’s cabinet.

For Mr Willmott's full letter see today's Hereford Times

Comments (16)

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8:23am Thu 24 Jan 13

probono says...

Minutes of Hereford Futures and Hoople and the like, where there is public money being spent, should ALWAYS be avavilable to the public. They can, as Cllr Jarvis suggests, be redacted to remove personal and commercially sensitive information. This system is much better even with gaps, than the oftne misinformation, speculation and accusation that abounds at present.
Minutes of Hereford Futures and Hoople and the like, where there is public money [ i.e ours] being spent, should ALWAYS be avavilable to the public. They can, as Cllr Jarvis suggests, be redacted to remove personal and commercially sensitive information. This system is much better even with gaps, than the oftne misinformation, speculation and accusation that abounds at present. probono
  • Score: 0

9:54am Thu 24 Jan 13

bobby47 says...

Stung! Stung by our criticism! I don't want any of these freeloaders taking a ride on my back to feel stung.
Feeling stung is the last thing I had on my mind when I sat down at this keyboard and delivered by view of their activities. The term stung suggests that they were injured by some mild natured wasp or bloody bee.
No Stinging them wasn't my intention. I don't want them to feel stung at all.
I want them to feel that they've been kicked in the testicles. A very different level of pain to a sting. A sting is something you quickly recover from whereas a kick in the testicles can be very painful and slow to go away.
We are being taken for a ride by this cozy arrangement and I would imagine like most who when they get rumbled they scream,'we've feel stung by this unfair criticism' and then try and portray themselves as our great benefactors and saviours.
Whichever way you dress this arrangement, it is not above board and it is not to our benefit.
Stung! Stung by our criticism! I don't want any of these freeloaders taking a ride on my back to feel stung. Feeling stung is the last thing I had on my mind when I sat down at this keyboard and delivered by view of their activities. The term stung suggests that they were injured by some mild natured wasp or bloody bee. No Stinging them wasn't my intention. I don't want them to feel stung at all. I want them to feel that they've been kicked in the testicles. A very different level of pain to a sting. A sting is something you quickly recover from whereas a kick in the testicles can be very painful and slow to go away. We are being taken for a ride by this cozy arrangement and I would imagine like most who when they get rumbled they scream,'we've feel stung by this unfair criticism' and then try and portray themselves as our great benefactors and saviours. Whichever way you dress this arrangement, it is not above board and it is not to our benefit. bobby47
  • Score: 0

2:35pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Ubique5740 says...

Hopefully the Minutes of the meetings will be from the first meeting. Time will tell .
Of course , we will be wondering / guessing what has been redactioned.!!!
Hopefully the Minutes of the meetings will be from the first meeting. Time will tell . Of course , we will be wondering / guessing what has been redactioned.!!! Ubique5740
  • Score: 0

4:27pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Themightyboosh says...

bobby ill happily lend you my steel toecap boots.
if you let me watch
bobby ill happily lend you my steel toecap boots. if you let me watch Themightyboosh
  • Score: 0

5:16pm Thu 24 Jan 13

bobby47 says...

Themightyboosh, And there's no one on this site I'd rather borrow a steel toe capped boot from.
Imagine a world where it was perfectly normal, expected and accepted that you could kick the testicles of a man or a group of men who have blighted your homeland as a result of their chaotic and badly thought out schemes.
As for you watching whilst I deliver this terrible blow in the name of open democratic punishment,....ok if you fancy it.
How many lace holes has this formidable boot got and more importantly what size boot it it? I'll not play bloody Cinderella for you or anyone else who's keen to see this terrifying ordeal for the recipient or our ire and wrath.
Themightyboosh, And there's no one on this site I'd rather borrow a steel toe capped boot from. Imagine a world where it was perfectly normal, expected and accepted that you could kick the testicles of a man or a group of men who have blighted your homeland as a result of their chaotic and badly thought out schemes. As for you watching whilst I deliver this terrible blow in the name of open democratic punishment,....ok if you fancy it. How many lace holes has this formidable boot got and more importantly what size boot it it? I'll not play bloody Cinderella for you or anyone else who's keen to see this terrifying ordeal for the recipient or our ire and wrath. bobby47
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Thu 24 Jan 13

TwoWheelsGood says...

Mr Willmott's 'full letter' doesn't give much away, as befits an organisation beset by secrecy. He only refers here to 'discretionary spend' and avoids mention of all the other many tens of millions spent (which in itself were discretionary - they didn't HAVE to give Stanhope £0.5m at the last minute, which we now learn cost a further £0.25m in legal advice). Worse still, he is still peddling the 1000+ jobs myth - look at the shops closing all around us and the redundancy numbers involved - we'd need 50-100 shops to generate 1000 jobs, when we're getting 2 or 3 (not counting the ones simply moving from High Town).
Mr Willmott's 'full letter' doesn't give much away, as befits an organisation beset by secrecy. He only refers here to 'discretionary spend' and avoids mention of all the other many tens of millions spent (which in itself were discretionary - they didn't HAVE to give Stanhope £0.5m at the last minute, which we now learn cost a further £0.25m in legal advice). Worse still, he is still peddling the 1000+ jobs myth - look at the shops closing all around us and the redundancy numbers involved - we'd need 50-100 shops to generate 1000 jobs, when we're getting 2 or 3 (not counting the ones simply moving from High Town). TwoWheelsGood
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Thu 24 Jan 13

bobby47 says...

TWG, My dear and oldest colleague, in simple terms so that I and the rest of the screaming mob can fully grasp and understand, what do the terms Capitol Costs and Discretionary Spend expressions mean?
TWG, My dear and oldest colleague, in simple terms so that I and the rest of the screaming mob can fully grasp and understand, what do the terms Capitol Costs and Discretionary Spend expressions mean? bobby47
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Thu 24 Jan 13

bobby47 says...

Can anybody tell me what the above named expressions mean please?
Can anybody tell me what the above named expressions mean please? bobby47
  • Score: 0

8:27pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Themightyboosh says...

16 holers size 12 and if they dont fit ill do it and you can watch :D
16 holers size 12 and if they dont fit ill do it and you can watch :D Themightyboosh
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Thu 24 Jan 13

megilleland says...

Hereford Futures - Annual Summary 2011/2012
You get the impression that Hereford Futures is deciding and running the future of Hereford City and not the Council. Maybe savings can be made by scrapping the Council and letting Hereford Futures run the show. After all "Its executive staff of five and a Board whose membership operates on a pro-bono (‘for free’) basis is bringing a wealth of both commercial and former public service knowledge and
experience to bear". Why do we need 58 councillors and supporting staff to achieve the same thing?
http://www.herefordf
utures.co.uk/Content
/ANNUAL%20SUMMARY%20
REVIEW%202011-12.pdf
.
Hereford Futures - Annual Summary 2011/2012 You get the impression that Hereford Futures is deciding and running the future of Hereford City and not the Council. Maybe savings can be made by scrapping the Council and letting Hereford Futures run the show. After all "Its executive staff of five and a Board whose membership operates on a pro-bono (‘for free’) basis is bringing a wealth of both commercial and former public service knowledge and experience to bear". Why do we need 58 councillors and supporting staff to achieve the same thing? http://www.herefordf utures.co.uk/Content /ANNUAL%20SUMMARY%20 REVIEW%202011-12.pdf . megilleland
  • Score: 0

9:51pm Thu 24 Jan 13

TwoWheelsGood says...

b47 - capital costs are expenses for items necessary to run a business (or council) ie premises, a van, a desk. They can be offset against tax liability. They are something tangible, not staff costs or biros or electricity or inflated expenses.

I do not understand why they are referred to in the council comment about car park profit - that doesn't make sense.

Discretionary spend is public service jargon - meaningless really. It is what it says, but nonsense in the context of Hfd Futiles.
b47 - capital costs are expenses for items necessary to run a business (or council) ie premises, a van, a desk. They can be offset against tax liability. They are something tangible, not staff costs or biros or electricity or inflated expenses. I do not understand why they are referred to in the council comment about car park profit - that doesn't make sense. Discretionary spend is public service jargon - meaningless really. It is what it says, but nonsense in the context of Hfd Futiles. TwoWheelsGood
  • Score: 0

10:01pm Thu 24 Jan 13

TwoWheelsGood says...

Hereford Futures - Annual Summary 2011/2012 - nearly 4 of the 11 pages of this self promotion exercise drones on about the flood alleviation scheme, which has subsequently failed to work and physically failed, with considerable expense needed to repair. The link road get 3 paras. It also claim Sanctuary will make a planning application for the Urban Village in 2012 (it didn't) and will start building in 2013 (they won't). This isn't an annual report - where are the facts, figures, income, expenditure - its just marketing spin, and dull at that.
Hereford Futures - Annual Summary 2011/2012 - nearly 4 of the 11 pages of this self promotion exercise drones on about the flood alleviation scheme, which has subsequently failed to work and physically failed, with considerable expense needed to repair. The link road get 3 paras. It also claim Sanctuary will make a planning application for the Urban Village in 2012 (it didn't) and will start building in 2013 (they won't). This isn't an annual report - where are the facts, figures, income, expenditure - its just marketing spin, and dull at that. TwoWheelsGood
  • Score: 0

11:14pm Thu 24 Jan 13

megilleland says...

http://www.herefordf
utures.co.uk/Content
/Business%20Plan%202
012.pdf
Hereford Futures Business Plan 2012 to 2015 - unfortunately the Appendices have not been included:

A. Company Memorandum of Understanding
B. Board Members
C. The Company’s Articles of Association
D. Gateway Committee Term of Reference
E. Task Groups Term of Reference
F. Strategic Communications Strategy
G. Operations Budget - Forecasted summary
H. Project Budget - Forecasted summary
I. Sustainability Policy
J. Other Projects
K. Phasing Plans

Also Hereford Futures accounts are overdue as of 15th January 2013 according to Companies in the UK.
http://www.companies
intheuk.co.uk/ltd/he
reford-futures
http://www.herefordf utures.co.uk/Content /Business%20Plan%202 012.pdf Hereford Futures Business Plan 2012 to 2015 - unfortunately the Appendices have not been included: A. Company Memorandum of Understanding B. Board Members C. The Company’s Articles of Association D. Gateway Committee Term of Reference E. Task Groups Term of Reference F. Strategic Communications Strategy G. Operations Budget - Forecasted summary H. Project Budget - Forecasted summary I. Sustainability Policy J. Other Projects K. Phasing Plans Also Hereford Futures accounts are overdue as of 15th January 2013 according to Companies in the UK. http://www.companies intheuk.co.uk/ltd/he reford-futures megilleland
  • Score: 0

8:23am Fri 25 Jan 13

TwoWheelsGood says...

More spin and pie in the sky ideas. What really annoys me about HF is the way they present things as if they've helped facilitate it, when in reality they've had nothing to do with it. Front cover - '£6.9m invested in Hereford Cathedral and Widemarsh Street' - they, nor the Council, had nothing to do with the Cathedral, and its all the better for it. Housing at Merton Hotel - absolutely nothing to do with them. They do the same on their website, putting up pictures of new shops, with the implication its all down to them.

The closing para of this 'Plan' is VERY interesting - 'In terms of the operation of the Company, the Council has agreed with the Futures Audit Committee to underwrite the future winding up of the company on a rolling basis in order to meet the cost of any employment contract termination.' So, the final insult is that we have to pay the winding up costs of this private development company. No doubt there will be massive payouts yet again, whilst those in real need have their care costs priced beyond reach. These people really have lost sight of reality.
More spin and pie in the sky ideas. What really annoys me about HF is the way they present things as if they've helped facilitate it, when in reality they've had nothing to do with it. Front cover - '£6.9m invested in Hereford Cathedral and Widemarsh Street' - they, nor the Council, had nothing to do with the Cathedral, and its all the better for it. Housing at Merton Hotel - absolutely nothing to do with them. They do the same on their website, putting up pictures of new shops, with the implication its all down to them. The closing para of this 'Plan' is VERY interesting - 'In terms of the operation of the Company, the Council has agreed with the Futures Audit Committee to underwrite the future winding up of the company on a rolling basis in order to meet the cost of any employment contract termination.' So, the final insult is that we have to pay the winding up costs of this private development company. No doubt there will be massive payouts yet again, whilst those in real need have their care costs priced beyond reach. These people really have lost sight of reality. TwoWheelsGood
  • Score: 0

8:24pm Fri 25 Jan 13

billy wizz says...

think i may be a bit thick but did we not give away a 50 million pound chunk of land for this development £2.7 million and thats just for the gravy !!
think i may be a bit thick but did we not give away a 50 million pound chunk of land for this development £2.7 million and thats just for the gravy !! billy wizz
  • Score: 0

10:18am Sun 27 Jan 13

littlewhitebull says...

Secrecy in local government was supposed to be a thing of the past when Blair was PM. From a man who now earns £70k a year from his PM pension, £115k for "public duties", £250k for "security", $1 million for 3 hours work brokering a billion deal, and is estimated to be worth a cool £30 million from speaking, etc. - I find it amazing that he now claims to have made national and local government more accountable.
Cameron was unimpressed by Blair's assertion about secrecy just before he became PM -accountability in public life would be eradicated he declared.
Sadly, secrecy in much of public life still exists. It is little surprise that public trust in most politicians is at an all time low. In my opinion local councils are still lacking in transparency.
Please, don't get me wrong! Some secrecy is absolutely essential - I would not wish military personnel, or security people, etc. to be placed in harm's way.
Secrecy in local government was supposed to be a thing of the past when Blair was PM. From a man who now earns £70k a year from his PM pension, £115k for "public duties", £250k for "security", $1 million for 3 hours work brokering a billion deal, and is estimated to be worth a cool £30 million from speaking, etc. - I find it amazing that he now claims to have made national and local government more accountable. Cameron was unimpressed by Blair's assertion about secrecy just before he became PM -accountability in public life would be eradicated he declared. Sadly, secrecy in much of public life still exists. It is little surprise that public trust in most politicians is at an all time low. In my opinion local councils are still lacking in transparency. Please, don't get me wrong! Some secrecy is absolutely essential - I would not wish military personnel, or security people, etc. to be placed in harm's way. littlewhitebull
  • Score: 0

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