Minor updates and code changes occur every day. Only significant or noteworthy updates are shown here. Updates shown with a gold background are (or were at the time) only available to Advanced HOPS members.


Time DateSystem Updates
Update 747
23 February 2021
Hello everyone,

There is so much News from HOPS being issued recently that we have compiled it into a newsletter for you!


This newsletter will be an occasional publication, aimed at those involved in managing and operating heritage railways, department managers and assessors, and those responsible for volunteer co-ordination and assessment.


- SMS Workshops start on Tuesday 2 March at 7pm.
- HOPS Annual General Forum, Tuesday 9 March at 7pm.
- Competence Shakedown "Reset" Tool
- Migration of Competence Management from Roles to Elements
- Updates to Terms of Use of HOPS

Please feel free to share it and let us know what you think!

Danny Scroggins
Update 746
21 February 2021
A new tab has been added to Question Paper administration - "Results Analysis".
The page lists each question and the total success (or otherwise!) of ALL the candidates who have undertaken the QP.

This will hopefully help to identify where training focus is required, or where a question is poorly worded etc.

I will (at some point!) built an equivalent page for each question to allow a further drill-down of results.
Update 745
21 February 2021
It is now possible for a Calendar entry to apply to more than one calendar. One of the calendars still 'owns' the entry, and a selection of tickboxes allow it to appear in other calendars too.

This is useful for activities that involve more than one department, ie a point replacement job might be 'owned' by the PWay but also need to appear in the calendar for 'S&T' so that the bonding and FPL can be set up, and in the calendar for 'Additional Moves' so that the train movements are shown, etc.

The Daily Operations page has also been tidied up in development of this. This is one of the oldest pages in HOPS so appreciated a bit of a service!
Update 744
21 February 2021
The full details of files on each person's award is now shown on the list of element holders (instead of the old '2F' abbreviation).

This makes it much easier to see at-a-glance when evidence is missing.
Update 743
21 February 2021
The response to migrating competence management to elements has been FANTASTIC! Thank you to everyone, and thanks for all your positive feedback!

As everyone has been looking at their competence recording more closely, several requests for development have arisen (getting your own back ? )

One of these is that more details of the ELEMENT awards are now shown on the ROLE detail page. This allows an easy at-a-glance view of all the files applicable to the role appointment.
Update 742
17 February 2021
The terms of use of HOPS, security, backups, GDPR and Support Terms have all been updated.


Changes are shown in red.

Summary of changes:

- Many corrections to spellings, and re-wordings to improve clarity without change to intention.

- Detail for the 'Response Plan for Breach of Data Security' added.

- Backups pages restored to generally pre-covid service.

- The length of time for which backups are kept has been reviewed and is reduced to a maximum of six months. This is in line with the industry's growing interpretation of GDPR in terms of recognising the reason why the data is stored (backups for restoration from storage failure) and the reasonable time during which they are likely to be required for restoration.

- A paragraph has been added regarding obtaining access to emergency contact or medical information during interruptions to service.

- The Data Controller (for data for which HOPS is the Data Controller) has been specifically stated as the Program Manager.

- A new tab has been added detailing the data protection relationships for non-UK railways, reflecting the growing number of international HOPS client railways.

- The support terms for Advanced Members has been adjusted to replace references to the 'Support Licence Scheme' with 'Advanced HOPS members'; to reflect that nearly all clients now pay their subscription fees monthly instead of annually; clarifying that the primary method for Advanced Members to obtain support is via the ticket system.
Update 741
17 February 2021
We are all looking forward to being able to open again and resuming operations.

In spring 2020, before the brief period where lockdowns eased enough for some operations to recommence, we provided the Competence Shakedown tool in HOPS. Over 5000 operational competences were managed via HOPS in the leadup to the summer.

Every railway got to a different stage of resuming operations before everything was stopped again and it is likely that some degree of shakedown will be required again before operations resume in 2021.

The Shakedown tools are all still in HOPS, and still holding the status that you reached in 2020.

If your risk assessment for resuming operations determines that those shakedowns are still valid (for example, because those staff have been working continuously since then on maintenance / departmental duties) then no action is required in terms of HOPS.

If you are 're-setting' everyone and requiring everyone to undertake a new round of shakedowns (or, at least, to look at each person and determine if a new shakedown is required on a case-by-case basis), then a re-set of the ticks and crosses in HOPS is required..... and that's exactly what we've made you!

Navigating to the department > Competence > Shakedown tab there is a new 'Re-set Shakedown' option that resets everyone to 'no shakedown'.

Note that the shakedown ticks and crosses are only a visual indication, they are not interlocked with competence at a system level. This is because many staff will be required to be rostered before they have undertaken their shakedown for turns after they are due to have undertaken their shakedown, and we determined there was less risk overall to allow these staff to remain 'competent' than encourage a culture of rostering non-competent staff in advance.

(If you require an INTERLOCKED equivalent, please create a Shakedown Competence competence element and use that instead.)

Also a reminder, when Competence Shakedown is no longer required it can be switched off (per-department) in Department > Competence > Competence Structure.
Update 740
16 February 2021
Thank you to everyone who has embraced 'Migrating the Management of Competence to Elements' since our video the other day - it's great to see so much migration taking place and the management of competence becoming stronger as a result!

We have been asked by a number of railways "Are our roles already ok?" To help with this we have added a few red/green light indications:

- In the department > Competence > Competence Structure > Roles tab there is now a red/green light that shows whether the role meets the 'perfect' settings.

- For Admins, we have produced this temporary page https://www.heritage-ops.org.uk/perfect_roles_list.php which shows ALL the roles in the organisation and their red/green status for each of the key settings (visible only to HOPS Admins (tacked on to permission 015)).

Many of the settings, we have observed, will just be set that way because 'it's always been like that', but the actual facility isn't used, so can be turned to green by just changing the setting. Ie where "allow files to be uploaded" is set to 'yes' for a role where competence isn't managed, such as shop staff, so there will be no impact from changing this to 'no' to obtain a green.

In other cases, where it is your current policy to store files on the role, a change of policy and some conversion of data (which we can automate as shown in the video) might be required.

Here is a link to the video in case you want to watch again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3p7lHpxdUA

More than happy to talk through each 'red' by phone if it helps. This support is extended to Basic HOPS members in this case.
Update 739
14 February 2021


Some developments have taken place relating to the withdrawing of competence element records, both in circumstances when the record is added in error, but also (new) when the user just won't be doing those duties any longer.

Instead of having to record a 'Not Competent' and new, special 'No Longer Required' can now be recorded, which avoid the user appearing in lists and email alerts etc.

This will hopefully help to keep competence records tidier and also avoid a ever-growing list of users who are recorded as 'Not Competent' because they have changed their volunteering commitment, etc.
Update 738
14 February 2021


Competence Elements have been in HOPS for 5 years now, and are a much more comprehensive way to manage competence than in roles (which used to be called 'positions').

This video introduces a new tool for converting role data (including history and evidence) to elements.

All clients should be looking to migrate the management of competence (ie expiry dates, evidence, etc) to elements. This will enable further development work to take place on the roles (to cope with requirements such as driving turns refreshing secondmen, etc).

Please contact Danny to arrange to have roles copied/converted to elements.
Update 737
12 February 2021
A new facility to save the feedback given to a candidate on a question has been added. This allows the same text to be re-used to give the same feedback to other candidates.

Ticking the 'save' box enables the feedback given to be re-used.

'Copy In' appends the saved text onto the end of any text already written in the feedback box. It can be edited after it has been copied in if tweaks are necessary from what has been saved and copied in.
Update 735
09 February 2021
Emails for new General Documents (permission 156) have been added to the opt-in/out system.

You can set which emails your users can opt in or out of in System > HOPS Config Details > EMail Notification Setttings.

Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzm_IGJo4qc
Update 734
09 February 2021
We are aware that TalkTalk / Tiscali (same thing) are delaying delivery of emails from HOPS to its customers or not delivering them at all.

This is a thing that can happen from time to time with any sender and deliverer, as most email deliverability is controlled by automated systems, but reputable email providers have a mechanism for senders to show they are legitimate which normally resolves the issue within a couple of days.

Talktalk, however, are giving a mixture of excuses from it being "a central issue with email processing" to insisting that they can't look into it as we're not a Talktalk customer.
Please could we ask for the help of talktalk / tiscali customers in sending the following email to Talktalk?

Hopefully they will receive hundreds of them!

Thank you very much

Danny Scroggins


domainadmin@talktalkbusiness.co.uk, concerns@talktalkplc.com

Dear Talktalk,

It has become apparent that emails from the domain heritage-ops.org.uk are not being delivered.

The sender has attempted to resolve this on behalf of the hundreds of Talktalk customers that use its service, but has been advised that Talktalk will only engage with its own customers regarding email deliverability issues.

Please could you arrange to unblock emails from heritage-ops.org.uk (

Thank you
Update 733
08 February 2021

An 'equipment' field has been added - for stating the type of asset. Ie for an asset of "56931" the equipment might be "Toad Brake Van".

Up side / Down side and 'detail location' fields have been added alongside the mileage field for fixed-position asset types and linear asset types for detailing which side of the formation the asset is on. More details, such as if the asset is in the four-foot of a particular line, or details of how to find it such as "in loc 6 by the bridge wing wall", can be recorded in the detail field.

Update 736
06 February 2021
An 'Archive' option has been added for assets that are disposed of. All history of work done, defects, etc is retained.
Update 732
02 February 2021
The registration link for the HOPS Annual General Forum for Advanced HOPS Members organisations is:


Attendees must register using the link above to gain access to the meeting.

More than one attendee per railway is permitted.... but please not hundreds!

The Annual General Forum will take place on Tuesday 9 March at 7pm via Zoom.

You can watch an introduction video, including how you can feed into the future of HOPS, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juq8DQbA5Qk
Update 731
31 January 2021
A helpful traffic light checklist has been added to the Archive User page that highlights the user's engagement with other parts of the system. This is to avoid a situation arising where a user is archived and no-one notice they are rostered to work turns in the future, etc.

The traffic lights are only indications, they don't stop you archiving the user.
Update 730
31 January 2021
A new set of department descriptors have been added to the Department Settings page.

For each department one or several (or no) boxes can be ticked.

This will help HOPS recognise the similarities between departments, even though different organisations call them different things, and better suggest configuration options, clipart, etc.

No functionality is lost or gained as a result of the selection made.
Update 729
31 January 2021
The format of emails from HOPS has been altered and personalised to more closely reflect the client organisation.
Update 728
31 January 2021
Some tidying up of forms in Question Papers has taken place.
Update 727
30 January 2021

A new email has been created in HOPS, similar to the Department Competence Expiring email, but for Elements.

New permission 428 is required (and can be broken-down per-element-group).

This is designed for managers/assessors responsible for a particular group of elements.

The emails are issued monthly.

Also, the Personal Competence Summary email, that used to be sent monthly and list all the recipient's competences (permission 344) is now only sent three-monthly, in February, June and October. This is also one of the types of email that can now be set for users to opt-in/out of.
Update 726
30 January 2021

A new email has been created in HOPS that is sent to a user 30 days before one of THEIR competence elements is due to expire.

Users require new permission 429 in order to receive the expiry approaching emails. As no-one already has this new permission, if you take no action there will be no change and no-one will receive the emails.

We recommend you simply add 429 to your All Live Users group (after you've switched off any elements you don't want it for, below). It doesn't matter if you add 'all' to All Live Users, even if the user doesn't have any awards in a particular element group.

Each Competence Element has a new configuration option to switch on and off the "Expiry Approaching Emails". It will not be appropriate for all elements, ie where elements are used for membership as other parts of the system send reminders for an approaching membership expiry.

It has been set to 'on' for all existing elements except those which have the word 'membership' in the title (but, remember, as no-one has permission, even though it's 'on' by default on the element, the emails still won't be sent).

If there is a Question Paper attached to the element, and that is allowed to be done 30 or more days before expiry, this detail will also be included in the email with a link to the QP.
Update 725
28 January 2021
Competence certificates have been updated and and added to both role appointments and competence element awards. The link to the certificate is only shown when the person is in competence.

Note that competence certificates are only ceremonial, a recognition of achievement for the person. They are not a proof of competence, and should not be used as evidence (except in the case of externally-issued certificates which, although should not be accepted at face-value, can be used to inform the company's competence decision).
Update 724
25 January 2021
An update regarding email notifications has been published for HOPS Admins on the HOPS Admins' Facebook Group. If you're a HOPS Admin and can't access the group please contact Danny.
Update 723
25 January 2021

Our successful HOPS workshops will continue in 2021, on the theme of Safety Management Systems.

This video explains the details:


We hope this will be useful. Although, unless the ORR suddenly surprise us, there can never be enforceable standards in this area, we hope these workshops will, in the long term, provide the opportunity for a voluntary standardised approach to SMS structure and content across HOPS members, in the same way as other HOPS tools have done. This will reduce the burden on each railway to 're-invent the wheel' independently, providing a huge time saving, and provide a robust basis for everyone to be able to demonstrate that their SMS is developed from a standard suite of documents that have been peer-reviewed by a wide community of similar organisations.
Update 722
24 January 2021

The HOPS AGF takes place on 9 March 2021.

This video explains the detail of how that will work and how you can feed into the process:

Update 721
23 January 2021

The flow for adding a new member who isn't already a HOPS user has been improved and can now all be achieved from the Membership section.

The page for editing Membership Types has moved from the side menu to a new Membership Settings area, accessible from a link in the top right hand side of the Membership System.

It is now possible to edit configuration options in readiness for the future HOPS Membership Sales system:

- The number of people allowed on a membership (by membership type). Note although this can be set now, the facility to record a membership against more than one user is not yet available in HOPS.

- The description of the membership type to be shown on the public website.

- The time periods available to purchase (ie 1 year, 2 year, life, etc) and prices and whether they can be Gift Aided.

The above options will not restrict normal HOPS, it will always be possible for the membership secretary to enter any expiry date in the back office when adding a membership. The options are only applicable to public sales.

Video detail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1GrXOkfQW4
Update 720
21 January 2021

Further to yesterday's Update 719, it is now possible to record a reason and remarks about a user who has already been archived. This means you can, if you wish, go back and assign reasons why people have left the organisation in the past.

Select 'View' from the Archived Users list, scroll to the bottom (as shown below) and there is an Edit link.

Thank you to the Isle of Wight Railway for the suggestion.
Update 719
20 January 2021

It is now possible to record a reason and remarks when a user is archived.

A summary of totals, broken down by year, is available at the bottom of the Archived Users list.

Update 718
18 January 2021

The "Working User" attribute is now implemented.

This has been designed to allow a distinction to be made between users in HOPS who are working volunteers or staff and those who are in HOPS only due to being in the membership system (armchair members).

Every user in the whole of HOPS has been set to a 'working' user initially, so no action = no change.

The menu option "Community > All Staff List" is now "All Working Staff List" and only shows the working users. This is the list for the operational railway management staff to use, so as to not be swamped with armchair members.

The menu option "HOPS Admin > All Users" shows ALL users. This list has had two new colour columns added, showing the user's 'working' status and their membership status. This will make it easier to see when a user is no longer working and no longer a member and can be archived.

The 'working' attribute can be set by editing a user's details in the normal way. When a new user is added from the All Working Staff List the 'working' option is pre-populated to 'yes'. When a new user is added from the Membership List the option is pre-populated to 'no'. The option can be changed as desired and it doesn't actually matter where you originate when you're adding a new user.

If a working user is switched to non-working they are removed from their departments.

There are many places in the system where drop-down lists of users appear. For railways that make use of the membership system these drop-down lists will have been getting longer and longer with hundreds of non-working members. These lists (outside the membership system) will now all be conditioned to only show the working members. You can help by letting us know where you find such drop-down lists by sending us a link (not a screenshot please!) and we will apply the new conditioning. There will be LOADS! This will make the lists much easier to work with.

If you have already made extensive use of the membership system we can help programmatically sort out the non-working ones and mark them as such to save you having to update hundreds of records to 'non-working' manually. Please get in touch if you require this help.

This work is all in connection with the upcoming public-facing HOPS membership system. When this is completed, only working members will be able to log in to normal HOPS. Armchair members will administer their details by logging in to the membership website (same user credentials).
Update 717
18 January 2021
A lot of work on the membership system has been uploaded today, readying the system for dealing with 'Family' and other types of membership where more than one person is attached to a single membership.
If you find any problems please let us know.
Update 716
13 January 2021
A menu option has been added to the departments pages to show Time Register records allocated to that department.
The page shows individual time register records, and a totals page, broken down by month.

Clicking on any value will link to the page showing the records amounting to the hours shown.
Update 715
13 January 2021
The Time Register 'Totals' page has been developed to show:

- All time registered at the organisation per month and year, with totals.

- The time registered in each department per year, with totals.

- The time registered in each department, broken down by month, per year, with totals.

Clicking on any of the values links to a page (or pages) that shows the time register records that make up that total.

Update 714
13 January 2021

It is now possible to move assets between asset types.

This is ideal if an asset changes ownership.
Update 713
26 December 2020

Various updates to the competence management system over Christmas have now been completed.

The majority of work was behind-the-scenes, improving the storage and processing of competence element data.

Opportunity has been taken to tidy up the front-end pages, rearranging some information and reducing the number of tabs and updating terminology to reflect practice and experience.

- The elements required for a role are now shown on the Overview tab instead of their own tab.

- The history, files and question papers applicable to an element have been concentrated onto one tab.

- The "Update" tab on competence elements has been renamed to "Record New Assessment", underlining that a person\'s competence record should (generally) only be changed when there is some sort of assessment of evidence of the competence decision-making process.

This video illustrates some of the work that has taken place over Xhristmas:
Update 712
26 December 2020
The 'allow expiry date to deviate from default' on competence element awards has been split into 'longer' and 'shorter' competence lengths. This enables allowing assessors to grant a competence for shorter than the default, but not longer (or vice-versa).

Update 711
26 December 2020
A new 'Expand to show element info' link has been added to the top of the users\' competence profile.

This will show a list of all the elements required for a role and the user\'s status in each of them. This provides a good one-page view of a user\'s competence picture.
Update 710
26 December 2020
Places in the system that used to say "3F 2QP" etc to show how many files and QPs there are for a person\'s competence have been reinstated following the work. These only report the number of files and QPs on the CURRENT instance of competence, not all previous ones.

This delivers much more relevant info, and removes the potential trap of a person showing 10F, but none of those files being evidence of the user\'s CURRENT competence.
Update 709
24 December 2020
It is now possible to edit the times of Time Register records manually.

New permission 425 is required. Browse to the TR record where a new [Edit] link is available.
Update 708
22 December 2020
Further to Update 707, Question Papers are now also attributed to an individual instances of competence, rather than a being listed separately.

Each existing completed question paper has been attributed to the instance of competence that was awarded next AFTER the QP was reviewed.

In the same way as evidence files, these can be moved around manually if required (but, of course, a QP should not really be used as evidence for an award that was made before the QP was reviewed...)

When a competence element award is made, the option will be given to attribute any unattributed QPs to the new award. This will include the QPs that the user did in the lead-up to obtaining this award.

The process for making competence element awards following a user's completion of a question paper is unchanged.
Update 705
17 December 2020
Some daily emails might have been received more than once today. There is no cause for alarm.
Update 707
16 December 2020
Evidence files are being saved against an instance of competence now, rather than just one big pile of files for the whole person's history (in that element).

The existing ones have been allocated to the instances of competence that was current at the time the file was uploaded.

Files can be moved to a different instance of competence via the 'Edit' link if required (ie if an old file was uploaded when a new competence was already recorded), or if there's a pattern then we may be able to do something programmatically to move lots of them in one go.

This will help (when it is completed) by clearly indicating what files and evidence exist for the CURRENT competence, rather than all instances of competence. Previously a large number of files applicable to previous competences could disguise a missing file for the current competence.
Update 706
16 December 2020
Files uploaded as competence element evidence ARE being saved and are visible in the 'Record & Evidence' tab (which is a combination of the old 'History' and 'Files' tabs).

Instances of '2F' in lists in summary pages aren't working temporarily while updates take place.

Sorry for any confusion.
Update 704
13 December 2020
Files & Evidence on Competence Element Awards will be unavailable intermittently over the next few days while upgrade work takes place.

All the files are safe, even if they are not shown on the website front end.

If you need access urgently when the files are unavailable, please contact us.
Update 703
12 December 2020
The permissions tidier-upper has been updated to also include when a user has a permission and ALSO has the relevant 'all' permission.


Ie, if a user has a permission for departments "Operating", "Cafe" and "All". As they have the "All" permission, the "Operating" and "Cafe" permissions are pointless and can be removed.

The tickboxes are automatically ticked where this is the case.

(Note if the user has 'All' via a group, this is NOT shown, as this may have been allocated for a different reason.)
Update 702
12 December 2020
A many organisations start to make use of the membership system, many users are being added to HOPS who aren't "working" members - they are being added only for the purpose of membership records.

In order to keep HOPS clean and avoid thousands of non-working users showing in operational lists and drop-down boxes etc, there will be a new property of a user that indicates that user is a "working" user (rather than an 'armchair' member).

A new menu option in the HOPS Admin menu called "User List" has been added to the HOPS Admin menu (New Permission 424 required). This new list is intended for the HOPS Admin, rather than functional managers, and is formatted more conveniently for the Admin. It shows all the USERS in the system, included non-working ones.

The existing Community > 'All Staff List', which currently shows all users (currently the same as the new Users List) will gradually start to diverge to only show users who are 'working' users. This is designed for managers of the operating company who only need to see the working users.

(The existing "Members" option in the Membership menu will be unchanged and will continue to show all users who are members, regardless of their status as working or not. This is designed for the membership secretary who only needs to see members.)

New permission 424 has been allocated to all users and groups who already have 015.
Update 701
12 December 2020
When a user is archived, the user's permissions and their association with departments is removed. If they are subsequently restored, they will need to be added to the departments they are going to be a member of, and have any required permissions added (except for belonging to the 'All Live Users' group which will happen automatically).

This is a safeguard to prevent archived users being restored and still having the permissions they used to have, which may no longer be appropriate (especially if the person has left the organisation and then come back).

[Competence etc are NOT deleted, and we have no plans to do so. It is important to retain these for potential future audit / defence.]
Update 700
12 December 2020
We recently undertook development work to make the VIEW permissions of user details more configurable, to meet the growing granularity with which clients want to control access. We have now deployed equivalent development to the EDIT permissions.

The large, coloured numbers in the table below are the new permissions, and the colours indicate the former equivalent permissions. 068, 069 and 405 have been split into 17 new permissions (407-423). We have altered all existing permissions allocations to groups and individuals so that everyone who had the old permissions has now obtained all the new ones. Ie, everyone who had 069 for a particular department has obtained 411, 412, 413, 414, 416, 420 for that department. So, in the majority of cases, if you take no action there will be no change.

EXCEPT..... we have straightened out some anomalies in permissions relating to viewing and editing custom fields and users' HOPS Account data. This may have introduced some non-backwards-sympathetic changes, ie, users who could previously edit a custom field or HOPS Account field might now not be able to. If this occurs, please either consult the table to see the new permission number required, or contact us if you have any problems.

The number of grey tabs on a user's profile has been reduced by one, with the removal of the tab with the client company's initials. The information on this tab has been moved to the 'General' tab where it relates to the user at the organisation and the 'HOPS Account' tab where it relates to the user's HOPS Account.

We will, next, tackle the permissions for users editing their own details.
Please let us know if you find any problems.
Update 699
27 November 2020
Changes to users' dates of births are now included in the moderation system (when switched on in Config Settings).
Update 698
27 November 2020

The long-promised development of the HOPS membership system is on its way!

Photos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HOPSAdmins/permalink/3719674491431530/

It is already possible to use HOPS as a back-office membership system, for simple membership undertakings, but the brand-new, customer-facing, highly-cross-browser compatible, phone/tablet/etc-compatible sales website is now under construction, and is expected to be ready for the first stages of deployment in the next 8 weeks.

Many organisations have enquired about the HOPS membership system in the past, and requested development to its functionality, such as family memberships, etc.

The tools now under construction are focussed only on the customer experience of buying and paying for a membership, and then renewing it at intervals. The purchase is automatically recorded in HOPS (ie the name and address of the new member) and is then 'handed over' to the railway's membership secretary to post out the membership cards, welcome letter, etc. (We may, in the future, go on to look to automate some of these labour-intensive processes as well, but not yet.)

The new website is brand-able by the client to match the branding of your own other public-facing websites.

We will also be doing work to allow integration between memberships and 'working' (which is a complex subject considering that some organisations' membership is accepted by more than one railway, and some railways allow cross-pollination with others)!

If you represent an organisation that might be interested in using the HOPS membership system further (either only as a back office facility or with the new customer-facing website as well), please get in touch now.

Please give some thought to how your membership process currently works, which will help us to shape this product to meet your requirements, ie

- The flow of customers through the process from finding you or deciding they want to be a member, purchasing the right option, and then the receiving their welcome info.

- The mechanism for renewing, how members are reminded that it's time to renew, etc.

- The system that you currently have - what form does that take, ie Excel spreadsheet, etc.

- Any other functionality you would like to see that would enable you to attract more members, enhance the experience of the ones you already have, or reduce drop-away at renewal time.

Please send these and any other thoughts you have on the matter to Danny Scroggins via your HOPS Admin so that everything can be taken into consideration.

IMPORTANT NOTE - You should only use the membership system in your existing HOPS system if the membership body is the same as the railway operating body or wholly-owned subsidiary. If the membership organisation is separate, please contact us before proceeding (or before proceeding any further).
Update 697
27 November 2020
"Split" and "Duplicate" options have been added to tickbox actions on Roster Construction.

There are two options for "split turn": "user keeps early" and "user keeps late", for determining which side of the split the current turn holder stays. The start and end times for the existing and new turns will both be amended in order to cut the turn at the given split time.

If a time is entered that is outside the times of the turn, or the turn has no times, the turn will not be split.

For "Duplicate Turn", the number of duplicates required can be entered (capped at 12, to avoid any typos causing hundreds of unwanted turns!).
Update 696
26 November 2020
The Base Asset Usage pages have been tidied and hopefully made more intuitive.

SMS telephone number confirmation is now available to all existing mobile numbers.
Update 695
21 November 2020
An issue was identified that prompted the acceptance of a change of Emergency Contact details when the 'old' and 'new' information was exactly the same. This has now been rectified. Any outstanding notifications can be accepted or rejected and there will be no change if the new and old are identical. No data has been lost or negatively affected in any way.

An issue was identified that meant some users would not have been able to see the 'HOPS Account' tab when viewing their own user details. The same issue also meant some users could see their 'home railway' tab when viewing their own user details, but it would not have shown any actual information. These have now been fixed. These were both right-side failures in that data was not showing when it could have done (rather than showing when it shouldn't), so there was no degradation of security.

The 'Attained' and 'Expired' dates have been removed from the Department Current Competence Matrix. There are now more appropriate places to find this information, such as all the dates for a particular role by clicking on the role heading, or for all roles in the department by clicking on the 'Role Expires' tab at the top. Removing this information from the overall matrix means that the matrix renders much more robustly, especially with the sticky column headings.
Update 694
20 November 2020
It is now possible to upload a photo icon to assets in the HOPS Asset Management system.

This can help to identify assets in lists, especially where assets are identified by numbers etc that the reader might not have in their head.

All types of asset can have photos added.

Update 693
20 November 2020
Further to Update 691, it has become apparent that permissions 403 and 404 were not moved across correctly. This would have resulted in some users not being able to view postal addresses where they previously could.

I have run the process again so everyone who used to have 091 has now been given 404 again (if they didn't already have it) and everyone who used to have 090 has now been given 403 again (if they didn't already have it).
Update 692
19 November 2020

Membership Expiring emails are now working.

To ensure no nasty surprises, email sending timelines have been switched off (ie set to zero) for all existing membership types.

If you would like the system to send membership expiry emails please set the number of days in rear of the expiry that you require it to do it, for each email, for each membership type.

If there are any problems please let us know.

IMPORTANT NOTE - You should only use the membership system in your existing HOPS system if the membership body is the same as the railway operating or wholly-owned subsidiary. If the membership organisation is separate, please contact us before proceeding (or before proceeding any further).
Update 691
18 November 2020
The permissions for viewing user details have been separated out in order to facilitate more granular control over viewing different elements of a user's personal details.

Permission 091, to view user contact details on (and from) the railway staff list has been replaced with new permissions:
379 - view photos (existing)
404 - view postal address
398 - view email addresses
153 - view telephone numbers
399 - view DOBs

Everyone and every group who had 091 has been automatically allocated the new permissions that directly replace 091 so no action = no change.

Permission 090 (per department), to view user contact details on (and from) the department staff list has been replaced with new permissions:
378 - view photos (existing)
403 - view postal addresses
400 - view email addresses
154 - view telephone numbers
401 - view DOBs

In both cases, 405 - view HOPS User Account Details.

Everyone and every group who had 090 has been automatically allocated the new permissions that directly replace 090 so no action = no change.

The permissions for editing details will be separated out in future.

Also, the organisation staff list permissions no longer apply to the department staff lists. It used to be the case that if you had 'view contact details' for the org staff list, it automatically showed it all to you on all the dept staff lists as well. This no longer applies and the specific permissions for the department(s) are required. Everyone who used to have permissions for the org staff list now has the new equivalent permissions for 'all' depts so no action = no change.
Update 690
17 November 2020
Permission to mark and review Question Papers is now 406 (was 238).

Everyone and every group that has 238 has automatically inherited 406 so no action = no change.
Update 689
15 November 2020
It is now possible to upload files to a defect, an update, and a closure.

This is handy for uploading scans of defect slips, photos of the defect, and closure work signature sheets.

The files logged at the point of recording the defect are shown on the defect detail page. Those, and all other, files are shown on the 'Updates' tab.
Update 688
14 November 2020
It is now possible to record maintenance tasks over specific mileage ranges within an asset.
This is useful for linear assets such as track and fencing where the asset might be inspected in parts rather than always all in one go.
Update 687
13 November 2020

HOPS tools enable the storage and access control of staff personal contact information required to be stored in a controlled, secure, GDPR-compliant system. We have recently been working on the moderation of changes to user contact details, to enable railways to take advantage of allowing users to edit their own details, while avoiding incorrect changes or nonsense information being entered, either accidentally or deliberately. Moderation has already been implemented for postal addresses, emergency contact and medical declarations, and we're now turning our attention to telephone numbers.

Telephone numbers are more difficult to moderate as it is more difficult for a human moderator to identify a nonsense number. Therefore we have built a validation system for phone numbers similar to how HOPS moderates email addresses. From now on, when a user saves a new mobile number in HOPS they will be requested to 'confirm' it. The confirmation process will send a text to the user's mobile number which they will then enter into HOPS. HOPS then recognises that the number is 'confirmed'.

Where a number is to be deleted, this will still require moderation. But with the new confirmation system it will be easy for the moderator to see whether the user has other mobile numbers and their confirmation status.

This provides the railway with a positive confirmation that mobile numbers entered belong to the correct person, and better information to determine whether to accept or reject a moderated change (ie a deletion of a number).

This only applies to newly-entered mobile numbers at this stage, only to numbers entered by the user themselves, and at this early stage it is only 'offered' to users, not enforced. New numbers are shown as 'unconfirmed' until they are confirmed. This status is not shown on the lists of staff at this stage, only on the user's details page. Existing mobile numbers already in HOPS are not shown as either 'unconfirmed' or 'unconfirmed' during this first stage.

If you have any feedback please let us know!
Update 686
11 November 2020
As part of our review of how medical details are stored in HOPS, changes made by users to their medical declarations are now notified to the organisation management via the moderation system.


This addresses feedback received from a number of clients regarding changes to medical details being slipped into the system by users without the railway necessarily being aware, which could cause a problem.

Notifications are moderated in the same way as notifications of changes to users' postal addresses and emergency contact information, however, there is no 'by-pass' option for medical details.

Permission 397 is required to accept the notifications. This permission has been automatically added to all users and groups who have permission 15. HOPS Admins should devolve this permission down to an appropriate manager / administrator.

An email is sent to users with permission 397 when changes are waiting.
Update 685
11 November 2020
Changes to users' addresses and emergency contact details can now be set to require moderation before they are accepted into HOPS. This is designed to control changes being made incorrectly by users (accidentally or deliberately).

The setting needs to be switched on to be effective in System > HOPS Config Details (off by default, so no action = no change).

Permission 397 to do the approving. Permission 396 to make changes by-passing the approval process (designed for admins etc).

Update 684
11 November 2020
It is now possible to record maintenance tasks on several assets at once, instead of having to record them all separately.

This is useful where several tasks are carried out at the same time, ie all the FPL tests at one station, or all the FTR exams on a rake of coaches.

This can be accessed by viewing the Maintenance Tasks tab on the Asset Type (rather than the individual asset).

Update 683
31 October 2020
The display of a user's last login has been tidied up to make clearer the distinction between the user logging into their ACCOUNT (on the HOPS Account tab), and logging in to the specific organisation (on the tab with the organisation's name).
Update 682
26 October 2020
HOPS has provided several emergency tools in the last few months to help clients in their Covid plans and response. The latest of these is a HOPS Track & Trace facility.

The facility is designed for if the organisation is contacted to advise of a confirmed Covid case on their site and the need to advise others who may have had close contact. It lists all the staff rostered on the given day, including details of their sign-in and sign-out for organisations that make use of HOPS Time Register, plus other Time Register entries for non-rostered staff.

New permission 395 is required to view the Track & Trace page.
Update 681
24 October 2020
HOPS Virtual Workshops No 10, via Facebook Live video, will explain and demonstrate via screencast the HOPS features relating to rosters.

Rosters is the oldest and most developed part of HOPS, and the feature that most organisations make the most use of. Whether you're new to HOPS or have been using it for years, there's always opportunity to learn something you never knew was there, 'steal' a good idea from another participant about how they utilise the tools, or just share your experiences so that others can benefit too.

HOPS has a great many tools to assist in the management of volunteer and employed staff at heritage and volunteer organisations.

Previous HOPS Workshops are available to view on Facebook:
and YouTube:


We will respond to comments and queries raised via the comments section during the live video. The video will start at 7pm and last approximately 2 hours (as there is quite a lot to get through!)
Update 680
14 October 2020
Following today's updates, 'Refreshing Permissions' after a permission change is no longer required. All permissions changes take effect immediately.
Update 679
08 October 2020
HOPS AT TEN (Eleven!)

Hello everyone,

Back in January 2020, about four thousand years ago, I wrote to you all to tell you about HOPS's development plans to celebrate its tenth anniversary. This includes a much-improved format of website that is more appropriate for users' present-day browsing habits (ie phone browsers, etc).

The new site's functionality will be the same as the current site, but the site format and styling behaviour will be modernised. I won't write out all the details again but, if you haven't seen them before, you can read them here: https://www.heritage-ops.org.uk/public_docs/HOPS_at_Ten.pdf

Covid has delayed these plans considerably, but they are still going ahead, it might now just be 'HOPS at Eleven' instead! This is to advise you of our plans for implementation.

We don't intend to have a single changeover time where suddenly the current website is replaced with the new one. Instead, a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to enable a period of parallel running. This will allow all users some time to explore the new website, and for any problems to be ironed out, whilst retaining the current website as a fall-back.

Here are the stages of our planned implementation:

Step 1. Some changes are required to the current website to enable the parallel running period with the new site to happen. These will be under-the-bonnet and users will not notice any changes. There will be some rehearsals for this, in brief periods of downtime (approx 1-2 hours) which will be advertised a few days in advance as we normally do. The first of these will be on TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER FROM 2PM TO 4PM. When the rehearsals are successful the changes will be deployed. Users should not notice any difference at all. We will be on-hand to answer any queries or problems that arise in the day immediately afterwards and if any unforeseen problems arise from this step of the implementation we will be able to roll-back to current HOPS immediately.

Step 2. When current HOPS is ready to cope with the parallel-running, 'New' HOPS will be launched silently in the background. No down-time is planned to be required for this and it will not affect current HOPS. New HOPS, at this stage, will be a new site format, new menu systems, but with the same body text, tables and forms as current HOPS. A small testing group will start using new HOPS to road-test it.

Step 3. When the small testing group reports that everything is fine, new HOPS will be made available to all HOPS Admins to share as they see fit. No down-time will be required for this and it will not affect current HOPS. This will allow HOPS Admins and other senior staff at each client organisation to familiarise themselves with the new format and report any issues. We will make a short explanatory video explaining the changes. This step will last at least 4 weeks.

Step 4. When any issues arising from HOPS Admins are resolved, all users will start to be actively encouraged to try New HOPS via a banner at the top of current HOPS. They can switch back to current HOPS at any time. This step will last at least 4 weeks.

Step 5. When any issues arising from step 4 have been addressed, all users will be switched over to new HOPS by default, with the option to switch back to current HOPS at any time. This step will last at least 4 weeks.

Step 6. When any issues arising from step 5 have been addressed, current HOPS will become unavailable to users. It will be retained in hot standby for a short period (just in case) until it is finally decommissioned.

From then on, each operational part of the site (ie competence, risk assessment, asset management, rosters, personal details, etc, etc) will be overhauled into the latest programming standards and techniques, and made perfect for the new format. Until this takes place, which could be over a long period of months or years, some pages of the site might not render as well as others in the new site, ie the page body might not take up the whole width of the page, etc, ut they will be no worse than they are in current HOPS. Any potential problems arising from this will be identified in the steps above and resolved before they become actual problems.

There are no scheduled times for any of the steps yet, and it can be seen that each step is dependent on the previous step having been satisfactorily completed. So it might be a long process or it might be a short one. Minimum times have been applied to steps 3, 4, 5 in order to give confidence that there will be time for everyone, especially admins, to explore and digest the new site and have any concerns addressed.

We will post the downtime notifications on the site in the normal way when required.

Please let us know if there are any problems or queries as we go along!

Thanks everyone

Danny Scroggins
Update 678
02 October 2020
A short video explaining an update to the Asset Management system that allows cyclic maintenance task records to be 'withdrawn'.


This enables recording errors etc to be taken out of the maintenance calculations whilst a true record of what was recorded is still maintained in the system.

It is deliberately not possible to 'edit' an existing cyclic maintenance record. This is a protection measure enabling you to demonstrate that what is show in HOPS is an honest record of what was recorded at the time, as it can't be edited.

Erroneous records can now be 'withdrawn' and no longer count, but are still saved, just in case.
Update 677
16 September 2020
The signed-in status of each member of staff has now been added to the Daily Operations page.

This enables a duty manager, for example, to see when staff have signed in for the day, and when they have left again at the end.

An additional attribute has been added to each Role (department > Competence Structure > Roles tab) to enable a role to be identified as 'important' for signing-in purposes.

When a role is 'important', and the person has not yet signed in, the status will be shown in red. When a role is not marked as 'important', and the person has not yet signed in, the status will be shown in grey. This is to enable at-a-glance recognition of when a time/business-critical role has not arrived, such as a signalman or driver, without unnecessarily highlighting non-time-critical roles such as maintenance gangs.

When a user is signed in the status is shown in green, and when they have signed out again the status is shown in grey. This enables at-a-glance recognition of when a person is still signed in at the end of the day when they would have been expected to have gone home.

None of the above changes the process that staff follow when signing on and off.

Don't forget, there is a Live Workshop tonight on the HOPS Facebook page, at 7pm, based on HOPS ID Cards and the Time Register system.
Update 676
12 September 2020
There is a field in System > HOPS Config Details that allows some supplementary text to be added to the "Your HOPS Admin is..." line.

This is useful for being specific to users that queries relating to rosters or competence should be directed to their department manager first.

I've now added the same customisable line to emails as well (in addition to the current line about the HOPS Admin).

It's a difficult balancing act between directing queries 'downwards' as much as possible, but also maintaining a visible point of contact for users for 'the system'.
Update 675
06 September 2020
A load of fields relating to boiler schemes of exam have been added to the asset management system at the request of one of our user railways. We hope this is useful.

Boiler ID Number
Safety Valves (No)
Safety Valve Settings (PSI)
Fusible Plugs (No)
Water Gauges (No)
Try Cock (No)
Boiler Feed Check Valve (No)
Blowdown Valve (No)
Injectors (No)
Mechanical Pump (No)
Hand Pump (No)
Electric Pump (No)
Update 674
26 August 2020
Time Register 1.6.2 is now out.

There is now a more positive 'confirmation' screen when a transaction is completed to help users know when they've reached the end.

Although this won't do anything to highlight when a user stops before completing all the buttons, hopefully they will get conditioned to seeing a big obvious 'done' screen at the end and know that's where they've got to aim for.

(It might take 15 minutes for the devices to update, or else you can do a refresh of the app, and then the browser, to 1.6.2)
Update 673
26 August 2020
It is now possible for users to 'self-declare' an element.

For elements that are self-declaration the user can press a button to agree to the text (entered in the element configuration, ie "I have received my rule book updates") and, when they do, they 'get' the element.

An element is available to a user to self-declare if either:
- The element is available to everyone to use (entered in element configuration)
- Or the element is only available to users with existing competence only. To use this, users should be given the status of 'Awaiting Self-Declaration' (which counts as a 'not competent') and then they will be able to access the self-declaration.

Once a user has self-declared, they can't self-declare again. I haven't yet developed it for when the next round of rule book updates (or whatever) comes out!

Users can access the self-declaration page from a prompt on the right hand side of the home screen (only shown when there is something waiting to be acknowledged), or from My Competence and then the Self-Declaration tab.
Update 672
20 August 2020
Latest developments in the HOPS Risk Assessment system:

The version history of each RA can now be viewed via a grey tab at the top of the RA page. All versions of RAs are saved so that it is possible to refer to old versions and see what the RA had recorded at any point in history.

Interlocking has been added to ensure that the compiler, checker and approver cannot be the same people. Three separate people must be used.

The thresholds for yellow, orange and red colours are available in System > HOPS Config Details. It is also now possible to set the threshold at which impacts require to be 'accepted' by the director/senior manager responsible for the impact area. [These settings will move to the settings page within the RA system in the future.]

The interface for the impact acceptance has also been added. This is in the right hand side column of the hazard RA page.

"Risks by Parties Affected" and "Risks by Impact Area" have been condensed into a single "Risk Registers" tab.
We hope the Risk Assessment system is useful!
Update 671
17 August 2020
The HOPS Time Register system is preparing to allow the selection of a department, project, site of work when users sign on.

New configuration options in the system can be set up now in readiness for the when the facility is switched on!

It's not necessary to have ALL of department, project and site, just whatever is necessary and relevant to your structure and operation.

Projects live within departments.

There are two levels of Time Register access - TR1 (for basic signing on and off via tablets at signing on points) and TR2 for additionally enabling users to sign on and off via their personal smartphone devices, acknowledging of notices at sign-on, and (soon!) selection of a department, project and site.

Thank you very much to everyone who has given great feedback on the development of the TR system and a number of organisations that have sponsored various aspects of its development.
Update 669
15 August 2020
It is now possible to upload files as evidence to asset maintenance task records. Ie checklists, signature sheets, work completion records, photos, etc.
Update 670
10 August 2020
Time Register v1.6.0 is out, containing a number of minor interface improvements, and also some early preparation work for the department/project/location selection tool.
Update 668
14 July 2020
The Competence Management System is receiving some attention as part of the cyclic maintenance that takes place on all HOPS tools.

The only planned change to the front-end is the long-awaited change of nomenclature from 'Positions' to 'Roles' will now start to become visibible. There is no change to the functionality with this name change.
Update 667
04 July 2020
HOPS Workshop No 8

I am pleased to say the next HOPS Workshop, via Facebook Live video, will be on Thursday 9 July, starting at 7pm, where we will explain and demonstrate via screencast the new HOPS features relating to HOPS Risk Assessment tools.

HOPS provides facilities for organisations to conduct and record risk assessments, including hazards, risks, control measures, exposure/likelihood/severity. The system has been written specifically for the environment of a heritage / volunteer organisation, where the processes and practicalities of conducting risk assessments are quite special, to help everyone meet the requirements of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999:

Reg. 3 - Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.

[Employees includes volunteers]

and ROGS 2006 ........

Reg 19 - A transport operator shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the safety of any persons for the purpose of identifying the measures he needs to take to ensure safe operation of the transport system in question insofar as this is affected by his operation

The HOPS RA system levels up risks to director areas so that organisation directors can always remain abreast of the risks in their areas of responsibility, even where they are not the person conducting the RA or have expert knowledge of the subject matter, and including where a risk impacts on more than one director area differently.

RAs are versioned in HOPS, so reviews of RAs can be undertaken without losing the old versions, enabling the retention of the history of RAs.

The RA tools are a new development in HOPS and it should be noted that some parts of the system remain under development and some final polishing is required. As always, though, the shape of the system is determined by the feedback from its users!

HOPS has a great many tools to assist in the management of volunteer and employed staff at heritage and volunteer organisations.

The Risk Assessment tools are part of Advanced HOPS. If anyone would like to be able to play with the tools but doesn't have an Advanced HOPS subscription please let us know and we will arrange a free evaluation trial period for you.


Previous HOPS Workshops are available to view on Facebook:
and YouTube:


We will respond to comments and queries raised via the comments section during the live video. The video will start at 7pm and last approximately 60-90 minutes.
Update 666
28 June 2020

The interface for uploading user photos has improved considerably and now includes rotation and cropping tools.

Emails are no longer sent when a photo is accepted, only if it is not accepted.
Update 665
18 June 2020

It is now possible to specify whether a notice continues to be displayed and require acknowledgement every time a user signs in, or is only displayed until it is acknowledged.

(In either case the user can't sign in until they have acknowledged the notices.)

The purpose of this is to facilitate a 'signing in statement' for the user to declare, for example, that they are not under the influence of Alcohol or Drugs (Section 28 of the Transport and Works Act 1992) and that they are properly rested (ROGS).

The exact wording is up to you of course.

Previously all notices were not displayed again after they'd been acknowledged.

Thanks to Richard Lemon and others for the suggestion!
Update 664
13 June 2020

The anomalies tab now has a set of tick boxes on it. Where two records for the same person on the same day are ticked, and 'Execute' pressed at the bottom, they will be joined together.

It can't cope with four records for the same person on the same day so, if someone signs on and off twice in the same day, that will need to be done as two operations.

It can cope with many records for the same person if they are on different days.

If it can't cope with anything it'll just ignore it, it won't damage it.

A record highlighted in blue is one that believes it can be joined to a previous record.
Update 662
13 June 2020

The interface for adding and editing notices for the Time Register system is now available at:

HOPS ID Cards > Time Register > Notices tab.

Permission 391 required.

(The 'Devices' option has also moved from the left hand menu to being a tab in the Time Register page).

Update 663
13 June 2020

HOPS Time Register for personal mobile devices is now available!

The development allows the Time Register system to be used by individuals on their personal mobiles, signing in, signing out, and (new!) receiving and acknowledging notices.

This development of the system is currently brand new, and we will be pleased to hear from any organisations that use HOPS ID cards who want to make use of the system and stretch its legs for us.

The Time Register system remains free to use (on both tablet and mobile) for all clients as part of HOPS's commitment to helping everyone as best we can through the Coronavirus period.

There will be a HOPS video of functionality shortly!

Update 661
09 June 2020

I have added a tab to the top of the Question Paper details page that shows all the instances of this question paper being taken (for any element).

I have added a tab to the top of the Competence Element details page that shows all the instances of question papers being taken for this element (any QPs).

The same also works if navigating to the page via the Department Competence page, whereby the list of papers will be limited to those in the department.

Update 660
06 June 2020

The ORR recently published guidelines which recommended some 'shake-down' turns to refresh operators' competence before organisations resume public operating.


To help everyone discharge this task, and facilitate the recording of evidence, we have created an add-on for the competence management system to assist with the recording of staff undertaking shake-down turns, and recording of evidence.

These facilities have been added to basic HOPS as well as SLS HOPS.

We considered providing a tool to make every competence no longer valid, but feedback told us that the post-Covid refreshing arrangements were likely to be less onerous than full assessments, so that wasn't appropriate.

Instead, every competence in HOPS now has a red cross on it, which is upgraded to a green tick when a positive action has been taken to confirm that competence is considered 'refreshed' after Covid 19, by whatever method your CMS and Covid recovery plan determines (normally some sort of refresh turn).

The requirements for a refresh can be set per-position in Competence Structure. In addition to the requirements, the maximum length, in months, that the competence may be extended by via the Shakedown method may be specified, and the maximum existing expiry range. Ie, competence expired or expiring with the next X months can be extended by Y months. In an example, if competence expired or expiring within the next 2 months can be extended by up to 3 months, the assessor will be given the opportunity to do this when recording the refresh, mitigating the risk arising from the Covid refresh being less comprehensive than a complete assessment from scratch.

The ticks and crosses are visible on the Department Competence Matrix. Note that the ticks and crosses are indications only, and don't affect the actual competence the person holds in the system.

On the same Department Competence page a new 'Shakedown' tab is available. This shows the status of all competences in the department in a list and their shakedown status. Clicking any competence takes you to the detail of that competence in the normal way.

In the detail of the competence there is a new 'Shakedown' tab, which allows a competence update to be recorded (either without affecting the existing expiry date or extend it in accordance with the parameters specified) to show that the required post-Covid process has taken place and that competence is legitimate again. Files can be uploaded in the normal way (and if the user has permission to upload files and file uploads are allowed for that position, they are automatically taken to the file uploading page). This update is recorded in history, for audit.

On the same tab is a link to a personalised PDF template that can be used to record the post-Covid refresh works if required (or ignored if not required). That same sheet can be scanned and re-uploaded into HOPS as evidence if desired. The template shows the last turns and visits that the user did, and also any local specific post-Covid refresh requirements. The local requirements can be entered for each position in Competence Structure > Positions > Edit. (Ie, "must carry out a 4-hour refresh with an assessor", "must complete the back-to-work briefing", "must have been competent in February 2020", etc.) Each requirement, entered on a new line, appears as a separate tick box on the template.

The same template can be downloaded for all competences in the whole department in one long PDF by using the link on the top of the Department Competence Shakedown page.

Note that Lapsing (the max length of time between turns) is dynamic and set once per position. This can be extended at any time in the position settings. For example, if your normal lapse period is 6 months, but many members of staff haven't worked since December, you can extend this in the position settings to a greater number of months, say, 8. As with everything, please don't just keep raising the number until everyone un-lapses! Determine the appropriate number based on risk assessment and let the outcome be the outcome.

Please let us know your feedback on the template and we will develop it further.

Well done to several railways who are using the Covid closure as a cut-off for competences being recorded without evidence uploaded, and from now on all evidence is being uploaded to HOPS on those railways. By this method, in 2/3 years all competence evidence will be in HOPS, backed up, accessible and auditable, which is a very mature position to be in.

When a competence has been post-Covid refreshed its red cross turns into a green tick. Any new competences awarded or existing competences updated via the normal method also have an option to be green-ticked immediately.

It is envisaged that, at some point in the future, clients will have a cut-off, after which anyone who hasn't been refreshed will be considered no longer competent. At that stage their competence can be updated to 'Competence Withdrawn', the updating of which will earn a green tick.

When everyone in the department has a green tick and the post-Covid competence assurance work is done, the indications can be turned off again in Department Competence Structure.

The Shakedown feature is switched on by default, but can be switched off on a department-by-department basis if it isn't required. The setting is in Department Competence Structure.

We have applied this system to 'overall' competences, rather than elements, as feedback indicated that it would be the roles that would be refreshed rather than the individual assessments required to achieve those roles. If the absence of refreshing tools on elements causes anyone a headache please let me know.

A final point - There is a strong view that the ORR will not take excuses for a person being out of competence when railways re-open, and rightly so. It is up to each of us to determine what makes someone competent, both in the short term and the long term, and then rigorously apply that. Not following our own policies is the worst thing we can do. Make sure that if you are amending your competence management system to allow for the post-Covid circumstances that it is documented, approved at a high level, and a risk assessment recorded ("if it isn't written out then it didn't happen"). Don't let someone work if 'the system' says they shouldn't - as the system is your defense.

There will be a detailed video explanation of the post-Covid shakedown system at the HOPS Virtual Workshop on Monday 8 June at 7pm.
Update 659
28 May 2020
Database Error - 28/05/2020

A database error occurred at approximately 8:45pm (BST) this evening, during some maintenance work.

The error related to a small number of users' number 1 emergency contact information, some of which was accidentally over-written.

The error was immediately recognised and access to the website suspended to prevent any changes to data by users. The website went into maintenance mode from 8:45 until 9:25pm. At 9:25pm the website was re-enabled, with the functions for editing user details unavailable until 10pm.

Number 1 emergency contact data was then restored from the 8pm backup*. It is probable that changes to users' number 1 emergency contact made between 8pm and 8.45pm may not have been saved correctly. Any such changes will need to be re-entered.

[* - Although we are only committing to one daily backup at present, we have actually been able to make them more frequently than that.]

Number 2 emergency contact data was unaffected. All other user data and all other data in the database was unaffected. No other data was affected and there was no degradation of security at any time.

Please accept my apologies for this issue, and any inconvenience caused.
Update 658
21 May 2020
To assist with the used of HOPS Question Papers in the ORR's "Post-Covid Competence Shakedown", a 'copy' function has now been added.

This enables whole question papers to be copied, ideal for editing into refresh question papers for use for refresh purposes without affecting the original paper.
Update 657
17 May 2020
HOPS Virtual Workshop Update:

Workshop No 3 - Rescheduled
Tuesday 19 May, 7pm
(Competence, Competence Elements, Expiring, Lapsing, Interlocking of Competences)

Workshop No 4 - Asset Management
Monday 25 May, 7pm
(Asset Details, Defects, Management of Risks and Control Measures on Defects, Recording of Mileages/etc, Cyclical Maintenance Tasks)

Workshop No 5 - Further User Features
Friday 29 May, 7pm
(Messaging System, Messaging by date working, competence, permission, custom message lists, "cases")

If you've missed previous workshops you can view them on Facebook:
or YouTube:

The workshop will be streamed live on Facebook and we will do our best to answer your questions in the comments as we go along.
Update 656
17 May 2020
It is now possible to record maintenance tasks in HOPS that did not 'pass' (enabling ALL maintenance tasks to be recorded).

For each maintenance tasks a 'declaration' can be entered in the Maintenance Tasks list. When the task is logged as having been done for an asset, the declaration is asked, and the user selects 'yes' or 'no'.

If the user selects 'no' the asset is automatically marked out of use.

All activity is recorded in the Work Record for the asset as you'd expect.

Update 655
02 May 2020
Thank you to everyone who tuned into our first HOPS Virtual Workshop via Facebook Live.

If you missed it, the video is available on
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeritageOps/videos/680044162809313/
and YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb1PQ071XME

Our next Virtual Workshop will be on Wednesday 6 May, at 7pm, and will concentrate on Calendars, Base Timetables, Daily Timetables. The workshop will be streamed live on Facebook and we will do our best to answer your questions in the comments as we go along.
Update 654
07 April 2020
HOPS EMAILS. Due to server configuration changes, emails from HOPS might be directed to your 'spam' bin. Please help your organisation to remain in contact with you by opening them and marking them as 'not spam' before deleting them. This will encourage them to not go to 'spam' in future. Thank you.
Update 653
05 April 2020
[Permission number corrected. Correct permission is 387 not 287.]

A new 'Delete All Turns from a Date' (in all departments) link has been added to the Daily Operations page.

New permission 387 is required to access the link. Existing permissions 042/043 are required to view the turns in the list for deletion. Existing permission 011/158 are required to be able to delete them. This means that the existing permissions for deleting turns still hold true, just 387 is additionally required to access this new 'Delete All from a Date' (in all departments).

Access the link by browsing to the calendar, picking the required date, and the link is under the staff list.

Perversely, I hope this feature isn't helpful at all, in that the requirement to use it might hopefully be over soon.

Danny S.
Update 652
03 April 2020
Some updates to the Time Register have been released. These were programmed before the world fell apart. The latest version is 1.3.6.

Updates include:

- Improvements to the scanning mechanism to improve responsiveness, speed and reliability

- Ability to select between front and rear cameras and mirroring (as a front-facing camera generally wants to be mirrored, a rear-facing camera generally not)

- On-screen messages and error messages improved.

- Improved automatic-updating of app.

If your device doesn't update automatically, close the browser, clear the cache, then browse to time.heritage-ops.org.uk It will ask it you want to download it to your desktop again, press 'yes' (otherwise it won't work when you're offline).

Update 651
17 March 2020
A new permission (386) is now required to delete whole roster period.

This has NOT been allocated to everyone who was previously able to delete roster periods under permission 012, so please allocate it to those who really need to delete roster periods.

Note it is a red dagger permission, intended for admins only.
Update 650
16 March 2020
A new "emergency notice" feature has been added to HOPS, which displays a bold red message at the top of the index page, and a link to it at the top of every other page.

It has been set, by default, to a link to the PHE Coronavirus web page. You can change it to give advice relating to your local situation and operations in System > Edit Emergency Notice.

Permission 185 is used, which is the same permission as editing the front-page noticeboard.
Update 649
16 March 2020
New reports now added (62 and 64) for users over 65 and users over 60, by department.
Update 647
15 March 2020

This has been sent to the admin contact for each organisation.
Please pass it on to those who might need it at your organisation.

Hello everyone,

Here are some HOPS tools that might be useful in the Coronavirus situation regarding the potential isolation of over-70 year olds that might help you to plan ahead. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51895873


We all know that the average age of a heritage volunteer is high, so isolation of over-70s is likely to have an impact on us. For context, there are 6871 current users in HOPS with DOBs recorded. Of these, 2119 are over 70. That's 30%. Generally there is a higher proportion of operational staff with DOBs recorded than non-operational, so that 30% is unfortunately probably weighted more towards the operational staff, rather than an even spread across the board.


Users who are over 70 by the date of the turn are now shown on construct rosters with a "[70+]" next to them. This enables you to easily see who might not be available to cover their turn. Only users with a DOB in HOPS can be monitored.

This is turned on by default, if you don't want it to show you can switch if off in System > XYZ Settings.

Tip: You can use your browser's Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) and search for all the instances of "70+" on the page.


Report 34 shows users over 70 years of age:


Permission 131 required.

Report 22 shows users with no DOB in HOPS:


Permission 131 required.

Report 60 is a new report that has been added that allows you to see the numbers of staff over 70 in each department. This has links for each department row which show the names of staff affected. Only staff with DOBs in HOPS can be shown, of course.


Permission 131 required (it isn't possible to split this by department, so if you want your department managers to take action then you'll need to copy/print the list for each dept and send manually) .

If there are any queries please let me know.

Many thanks

Danny Scroggins
Update 648
15 March 2020
The Unassign Turns Report is now separated out by year.
Update 646
20 February 2020

A delete option has been added. Permission 380 required (red dagger).
Update 645
20 February 2020

You'll be pleased to know that archived departments no longer show up in the messaging system.