Herefordshire Council to review its future with Hoople

Herefordshire Council to review its future with Hoople

Herefordshire Council to review its future with Hoople

First published in News
Last updated
Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

HEREFORDSHIRE Council is to review its future with Hoople, the joint venture company it set up to save £33m on support services that now faces big cuts of its own.

In March, the Hereford Times reported that Hoople MD Mike Dearing was standing down with the company facing more than £1m in service cuts.

On Monday, the council’s overview and scrutiny committee will open talks on an approach to the future commissioning of services from Hoople.

Members are expected to agree on a set of criteria by which service delivery options can be assessed ahead of the council’s contract with Hoople ending in March next year.

A cabinet decision on the review is due in July.

In a report to the committee, Mr Dearing warns of Hoople already having to take “greater risk” to ensure it can cope with its existing – and expected – workload.

Hoople’s ability to influence performance and share fixed costs was, he said, limited by the council bringing services back in-house, he said.

Negotiating the extent of the cuts took nearly six months and around 1,000 hours of management time.

“This not only has a considerable direct cost, but also a significant potential opportunity cost – in future it is hoped reductions can be managed more pragmatically,” said Mr Dearing.

Hoople Ltd was set up as joint venture company in April 2011 as part of a shared services project that partnered the council with the county’s NHS to save £33m over the provision of “back office” support services such as human resources, recruitment and training; finance, revenues and benefits and Information Technology (IT).

The Council owns 74.7% of Hoople, with the remaining 25.3% owned by the Wye Valley NHS Trust.

A business case for Hoople was based on achieving £11m cumulative savings for the council over ten years. Three years into a five year service contract with the council £4m savings - cumulative to March 2013 - have been achieved.

Further savings have been made in areas outside the formal contract such as £350k by creating Hoople Resourcing and offering a low cost agency service, £160k a year for the next six years in New Homes Bonus due to reducing the empty property register, £250k through technology efficiencies and £850k of reclaimed social care direct payments.

A total cumulative saving of £12m is forecast for the end of the five-year contract.

The recently renegotiated service level agreement for 2014/15  has achieved a contract variation to deliver further savings in excess of £1.2 million.

Hoople also now  provides support services to range of community organisations, care homes, schools and academies, Herefordshire CCG and GPs, Taurus Healthcare and various boards and agencies.

The company has also established a High Street recruitment agency  specialising in the public sector, and, with an OFSTED excellence rating is seen as a key independent training provider in the county with 400 apprentices working toward a qualification.

But services provided to the Council have been further reduced as part of an ongoing overall renegotiation of service levels.

These reductions have been greater than those specified in the original contract and are seeing services change, stop and, in some cases, return to the Council.

Hoople’s annual turnover over the past three years has been around £16m maintained in the face of major contract reductions and no profit from the services provided to shareholders.

While Hoople stresses it continues to be profitable, its board concedes that “continual changes” imposed by the council diminish the company’s confidence to recommend a dividend to date.

The agreed changes for 2014/15 will see Hoople’s turnover reduce to  around £13M and staff numbers fall to around 330.

Mr Dearing says that these changes will reduce the “level of expertise” Hoople can offer to the council.

But the company, he said, has managed to protect business growth across a wider customer base.

Comments (9)

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2:34pm Thu 8 May 14

Hereford is me says...

Not delivering the planned savings, an uncertain future and the boss jumping ship! What a successful enterprise Herefordshire council established!!
Not delivering the planned savings, an uncertain future and the boss jumping ship! What a successful enterprise Herefordshire council established!! Hereford is me
  • Score: 13

2:14pm Fri 9 May 14

Hereford person says...

Hear we go again what a shambles
Hear we go again what a shambles Hereford person
  • Score: 11

2:57pm Fri 9 May 14

CP12345 says...

Hereford is me, did you actually read or understand the article before posting?

"A business case for Hoople was based on achieving £11m cumulative savings for the council over ten years. Three years into a five year service contract with the council £4m savings - cumulative to March 2013 - have been achieved.

Further savings have been made in areas outside the formal contract such as £350k by creating Hoople Resourcing and offering a low cost agency service, £160k a year for the next six years in New Homes Bonus due to reducing the empty property register, £250k through technology efficiencies and £850k of reclaimed social care direct payments."

Hoople appear to be bang on target to deliver the savings, or even achieve more than it was set up to do.

The MD is jumping ship, but not because it is sinking,

http://www.herefordt
imes.com/news/110443
56.Herefordshire_bus
iness_services_firm_
Hoople_starts_search
_for_new_MD/

"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."

Basically he is trying to do the same thing for other authorities.
Hereford is me, did you actually read or understand the article before posting? "A business case for Hoople was based on achieving £11m cumulative savings for the council over ten years. Three years into a five year service contract with the council £4m savings - cumulative to March 2013 - have been achieved. Further savings have been made in areas outside the formal contract such as £350k by creating Hoople Resourcing and offering a low cost agency service, £160k a year for the next six years in New Homes Bonus due to reducing the empty property register, £250k through technology efficiencies and £850k of reclaimed social care direct payments." Hoople appear to be bang on target to deliver the savings, or even achieve more than it was set up to do. The MD is jumping ship, but not because it is sinking, http://www.herefordt imes.com/news/110443 56.Herefordshire_bus iness_services_firm_ Hoople_starts_search _for_new_MD/ "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." Basically he is trying to do the same thing for other authorities. CP12345
  • Score: -13

3:58pm Fri 9 May 14

Hereford is me says...

CP12345 wrote:
Hereford is me, did you actually read or understand the article before posting?

"A business case for Hoople was based on achieving £11m cumulative savings for the council over ten years. Three years into a five year service contract with the council £4m savings - cumulative to March 2013 - have been achieved.

Further savings have been made in areas outside the formal contract such as £350k by creating Hoople Resourcing and offering a low cost agency service, £160k a year for the next six years in New Homes Bonus due to reducing the empty property register, £250k through technology efficiencies and £850k of reclaimed social care direct payments."

Hoople appear to be bang on target to deliver the savings, or even achieve more than it was set up to do.

The MD is jumping ship, but not because it is sinking,

http://www.herefordt

imes.com/news/110443

56.Herefordshire_bus

iness_services_firm_

Hoople_starts_search

_for_new_MD/

"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."

Basically he is trying to do the same thing for other authorities.
I must be missing something then! As I understand it Hoople was the organisation formed from the Shared Service Partnership (SSP) with a mission of saving the council £33 million over ten years. They are now forecasting savings of £12 million over five years!

http://www.herefordt
imes.com/news/local/
9327220.Herefordshir
e_Council_and_NHS_bo
sses_unveil_new_look
_joint_service_partn
ership/


And while the MD might be standing down to start up his own consultancy business, a smart businessman would surely now that leaving before the company you led descends into chaos is probably not a bad idea!!


http://www.thisisloc
allondon.co.uk/news/
5023844.We_employed_
too_many_managers__c
ouncil_boss_says/
[quote][p][bold]CP12345[/bold] wrote: Hereford is me, did you actually read or understand the article before posting? "A business case for Hoople was based on achieving £11m cumulative savings for the council over ten years. Three years into a five year service contract with the council £4m savings - cumulative to March 2013 - have been achieved. Further savings have been made in areas outside the formal contract such as £350k by creating Hoople Resourcing and offering a low cost agency service, £160k a year for the next six years in New Homes Bonus due to reducing the empty property register, £250k through technology efficiencies and £850k of reclaimed social care direct payments." Hoople appear to be bang on target to deliver the savings, or even achieve more than it was set up to do. The MD is jumping ship, but not because it is sinking, http://www.herefordt imes.com/news/110443 56.Herefordshire_bus iness_services_firm_ Hoople_starts_search _for_new_MD/ "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." Basically he is trying to do the same thing for other authorities.[/p][/quote]I must be missing something then! As I understand it Hoople was the organisation formed from the Shared Service Partnership (SSP) with a mission of saving the council £33 million over ten years. They are now forecasting savings of £12 million over five years! http://www.herefordt imes.com/news/local/ 9327220.Herefordshir e_Council_and_NHS_bo sses_unveil_new_look _joint_service_partn ership/ And while the MD might be standing down to start up his own consultancy business, a smart businessman would surely now that leaving before the company you led descends into chaos is probably not a bad idea!! http://www.thisisloc allondon.co.uk/news/ 5023844.We_employed_ too_many_managers__c ouncil_boss_says/ Hereford is me
  • Score: 13

10:15pm Fri 9 May 14

Hereford truth says...

You are missing something, £33m was the planned saving from a a number of different schemes, hoople being one of the areas, it's explained in the link below. so it does appear that hoople is a success as it's on track to make the savings target it was set. I wonder how the rest of the £33m target is doing?

http://www.local.gov
.uk/c/document_libra
ry/get_file?uuid=f87
f1163-b99d-4f81-848a
-2df437f6c404

It's such a shame that HT has to put a negative slant on everything! why can't they be positive about something and recognise the hard work being done by the mostly low paid workers in hoople,
You are missing something, £33m was the planned saving from a a number of different schemes, hoople being one of the areas, it's explained in the link below. so it does appear that hoople is a success as it's on track to make the savings target it was set. I wonder how the rest of the £33m target is doing? http://www.local.gov .uk/c/document_libra ry/get_file?uuid=f87 f1163-b99d-4f81-848a -2df437f6c404 It's such a shame that HT has to put a negative slant on everything! why can't they be positive about something and recognise the hard work being done by the mostly low paid workers in hoople, Hereford truth
  • Score: -15

9:11am Sat 10 May 14

Simon Brown says...

This business of “delivering savings” is another case of oleaginous management speak. How are savings measured? Is it like furniture sales - you whack up the price, or expenditure, to some daft level and then reduce it to more normal level claiming you have been veritable wizards? If these savings can be made why were those expenses ever incurred in the first place? “Daddy, daddy, I’ve found a wonderful way of saving money; I run home behind the bus and save myself £1.20 a day” “Silly boy. Why didn’t you run home behind a taxi and save yourself £4.50?”
This business of “delivering savings” is another case of oleaginous management speak. How are savings measured? Is it like furniture sales - you whack up the price, or expenditure, to some daft level and then reduce it to more normal level claiming you have been veritable wizards? If these savings can be made why were those expenses ever incurred in the first place? “Daddy, daddy, I’ve found a wonderful way of saving money; I run home behind the bus and save myself £1.20 a day” “Silly boy. Why didn’t you run home behind a taxi and save yourself £4.50?” Simon Brown
  • Score: 20

12:17pm Sat 10 May 14

bobby47 says...

And who can blame Mr Dearing. I certainly don't. If I were him and I'd hit upon a source to create myself huge wealth simply by constructing a collective of people, giving them the name Hoople and every so often producing a lovely graph that shows a red coloured spike that hurtles up past a line that say 'we've saved you millions', I'd be sat in the very same boat helping him to perpetuate this 'factoid' that Hoople are saving us millions.
It's all rubbish. It really is and the tragedy is that when good people are forced upon this vessel of hopelessness, they find themselves buying into the rubbish and before not to long you've got a huge number of people nodding and acknowledging that its all saving us millions.
Truthfully there is no equation that can measure whether or not millions are being saved. There isn't. It doesn't exist because its an impossibility. The whole enterprise is simply based on a will to discharge responsibility, reduce areas of business, creating arms length companies that we fund and then allowing ourselves to believe that its all been a wonderful thing and that's it. Nothing else. Then you simply sit there and create the notion that millions are being saved and you do this by sleight of hand, a relentless barrage of paperwork that has the Council Cabinet nodding their heads muttering, 'goodness, this is saving us millions. Halleluzah, Lord be praised, lets do it again, create another arms length company that we'll call Halo or Hereford Futures and round and round we go. Over and over again repeating the same mistake because somewhere in the past they read a document they could barely understand that said, 'were saving you millions'.
Did outsourcing our services to Amey and Balfour Beattie, save us all millions? We're we ever able to get hold of the papers relating to the activity within Hereford Futures so that we could see all the millions they saved?
No! And we'll never see these things because were not supposed to. All we need to know is its saving us millions and that's it.
Simon Brown is of course correct. That is exactly how they measure the savings of millions of pounds. There's nothing complicated about it really. You simply sit there, develop an idea, create a questionable method of measuring performance that then takes on a life of its own, it then becomes a factoid that people march behind and defend and then you start working on your graph that finally concludes, 'you lucky people. We've saved you millions', and by the looks of it, once Mr Dearing gets sat behind his desk, Wiltshire will be jumping up and down elated to learn that they've been saved millions as well.
It's all rubbish. All of it and don't let them convince you otherwise.
And who can blame Mr Dearing. I certainly don't. If I were him and I'd hit upon a source to create myself huge wealth simply by constructing a collective of people, giving them the name Hoople and every so often producing a lovely graph that shows a red coloured spike that hurtles up past a line that say 'we've saved you millions', I'd be sat in the very same boat helping him to perpetuate this 'factoid' that Hoople are saving us millions. It's all rubbish. It really is and the tragedy is that when good people are forced upon this vessel of hopelessness, they find themselves buying into the rubbish and before not to long you've got a huge number of people nodding and acknowledging that its all saving us millions. Truthfully there is no equation that can measure whether or not millions are being saved. There isn't. It doesn't exist because its an impossibility. The whole enterprise is simply based on a will to discharge responsibility, reduce areas of business, creating arms length companies that we fund and then allowing ourselves to believe that its all been a wonderful thing and that's it. Nothing else. Then you simply sit there and create the notion that millions are being saved and you do this by sleight of hand, a relentless barrage of paperwork that has the Council Cabinet nodding their heads muttering, 'goodness, this is saving us millions. Halleluzah, Lord be praised, lets do it again, create another arms length company that we'll call Halo or Hereford Futures and round and round we go. Over and over again repeating the same mistake because somewhere in the past they read a document they could barely understand that said, 'were saving you millions'. Did outsourcing our services to Amey and Balfour Beattie, save us all millions? We're we ever able to get hold of the papers relating to the activity within Hereford Futures so that we could see all the millions they saved? No! And we'll never see these things because were not supposed to. All we need to know is its saving us millions and that's it. Simon Brown is of course correct. That is exactly how they measure the savings of millions of pounds. There's nothing complicated about it really. You simply sit there, develop an idea, create a questionable method of measuring performance that then takes on a life of its own, it then becomes a factoid that people march behind and defend and then you start working on your graph that finally concludes, 'you lucky people. We've saved you millions', and by the looks of it, once Mr Dearing gets sat behind his desk, Wiltshire will be jumping up and down elated to learn that they've been saved millions as well. It's all rubbish. All of it and don't let them convince you otherwise. bobby47
  • Score: 20

1:48pm Sat 10 May 14

crockpotdisaster says...

Since when did a bunch of Cllrs sitting on a board of directors know anything about running a private company? The council couldn't reduce the costs when the 'support services' were in house, so palmed the staff into a private company so someone else would do the dirty work for them. Its like trying to have your cake and eat it, except the council are contractually obligated to cover the latest Hoople redundancies. The council are apparently committed to growing Hoople, but this is difficult when staff has been reduced by 20% and there is no capacity to grow. Cant wait to see what happens next!
Since when did a bunch of Cllrs sitting on a board of directors know anything about running a private company? The council couldn't reduce the costs when the 'support services' were in house, so palmed the staff into a private company so someone else would do the dirty work for them. Its like trying to have your cake and eat it, except the council are contractually obligated to cover the latest Hoople redundancies. The council are apparently committed to growing Hoople, but this is difficult when staff has been reduced by 20% and there is no capacity to grow. Cant wait to see what happens next! crockpotdisaster
  • Score: 15

2:57pm Sat 10 May 14

bobby47 says...

And worse, the real tragedy that lies behind this stupid venture is good men and women who simply want a job to pay their way in life. That's all. Nothing else. It's not a lot to ask for is it? A little bit of respite from the constant worrying that Hoople employees experience every single month knowing that next month or the month after there'll be more talk of cuts and redundancies and their family lives will be tipped upside down if they are the ones to lose their job.
Make no mistake and be under no illusions, Hoople and all these other cleverly crafted arms length companies will fold. They'll go. It's inevitable and I say, cut its cord now, get the staff back inside the Council, call them Council employees and let them do the jobs they need to do.
Do it and do it soon because the final outcome is inevitable. The era of outsourcing and every single complication it represents is nearing its end and this Council need to grasp this stinging nettle, stop prevaricating and get on with rebuilding our once much cherished public services.
And worse, the real tragedy that lies behind this stupid venture is good men and women who simply want a job to pay their way in life. That's all. Nothing else. It's not a lot to ask for is it? A little bit of respite from the constant worrying that Hoople employees experience every single month knowing that next month or the month after there'll be more talk of cuts and redundancies and their family lives will be tipped upside down if they are the ones to lose their job. Make no mistake and be under no illusions, Hoople and all these other cleverly crafted arms length companies will fold. They'll go. It's inevitable and I say, cut its cord now, get the staff back inside the Council, call them Council employees and let them do the jobs they need to do. Do it and do it soon because the final outcome is inevitable. The era of outsourcing and every single complication it represents is nearing its end and this Council need to grasp this stinging nettle, stop prevaricating and get on with rebuilding our once much cherished public services. bobby47
  • Score: 19

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