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 organisations subscribing to the Support Licence Scheme.


Time DateSystem Updates
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.
Update 644
14 January 2020

An option has been added to have a prompt appear at the top of the Home page when a user's details have not been checked for 14 months.

This only shows to users with permission to update their details (186).

To use this facility it has to be switched on for the organisation in System > XYZ Details. It is switched OFF by default, so you'll need to switch it on to see it.

The banner that shows up contains a link for the user to confirm/update their details (links to the normal user details editing page, with additional explanatory text at the top https://www.heritage-ops.org.uk/user_details_edit.php?p=confirm )

The 14 months is counted since the last time the 'Update 'last updated'' box was ticked on the user's details page by either the user themselves or an admin.

For organisations that use the HOPS ID Card system, you will almost never see this message, as your users update their details every year as part of the ID Card renewal process.
Update 643
14 January 2020

Two new fields have been added to user's emergency contact data:

- This person also works for the organisation.
- This person's address is the same as mine.

The latter removes the need for the user to enter the same address twice when their emergency contact is their partner who lives at the same address. It also reduces the burden (and probability of forgetting) to update the EC address when the couple move house.
Update 642
01 January 2020

It is now possible to select, in the configuration options for a Function Log, whether it defaults to the 'Today's Items' tab or the 'All Open Items' tab.

The different options suit difference circumstances of use.

Permission 139 (red dagger) is required to edit this setting.
Update 641
01 January 2020

New permission 371 is now required to close a Function Log item.

The permission has been allocated to all users and groups who already had the permission that was previously required, so no action = no change.

This is designed for scenarios where all logs are reviewed before they are closed.
Update 640
01 January 2020

It is now possible to delete a Function Log Item.

Permission 373 is required.
Update 639
01 January 2020

It is now possible to edit entries in a Function Log Item.

The user who created the entry can always edit their own. Permission 372 is required to edit other users' entries.

A history of all edits is saved, and the fact that the items has been edited is shown on the viewing page.
Update 638
01 January 2020
HOPS at Ten - The Future of HOPS.

HOPS is ten years old, and is about to embark on the biggest development project in its history!

Update 637
17 December 2019
The first HOPS SAFETY CIRCULAR has been published.

This new free-to-access feature is for organisations to circulate safety advice, lessons learned, discovery of knowledge and anomalies, etc (especially following incidents) to other similar organisations (anonymously if required).

This is part of HOPS's investment to assist in improving clients' status in the Office of Rail & Road's risk management maturity model (RM3), this particular functionality relating to MRA3 Incident Investigation:
"The organisation actively seeks to implement findings from external investigations to support continuous improvement"
"Relevant investigation outcomes are routinely shared within and outside of the organisation."

This is a sign of good safety maturity ("excellence" according to RM3) and helps everyone to maintain safe and compliant operations.

We encourage all heritage railways to take part in the HOPS Safety Circular arrangements, even organisations that don't use HOPS facilities for any other purpose. There is no fee for taking part or accessing the system. To access the Safety Circular features, please request your HOPS Admin to allocate you the appropriate permissions. If you don't have access to HOPS, please contact us to obtain access.

Thank you to everyone who has worked hard to develop the Safety Circular project and bring it to fruition!
Update 636
17 December 2019
An early Christmas present from HOPS....

The TIME REGISTER system has now been released!

HOPS has developed the Time Register for use at signing-on and off points where users can sign in and out for work using their ID card.

A number of reports in HOPS have been provided for viewing Time Register records, reconciling orphaned records, totals and summaries, "who's on site", etc., removing the need for time-consuming reconciliation of paper records.

Version 4 of the Time Register notes has been circulated by email to all those who have expressed an interest. (If you are interested and haven't received the notes please let us know.)

Thank you to everyone who has worked towards the development of this system, another great HOPS service!
Update 635
17 December 2019

It is proposed to retire this function.

Nearly all browsers / operating systems have a Save as PDF / Print to PDF option nowadays, which in many cases works better than the HOPS PDF creator.

(The HOPS PDF creator often struggles with images that are protected from external access.)

If the retirement of the Download as PDF function will cause you a significant problem please let us know.
Update 634
17 December 2019
A new 'term' of use of HOPS:

- A genuine human user must be selected as the 'Admin Contact for Users' so that there is a named person for users to contact in case of problems. This will usually be the HOPS Admin. (The email address can be a team email address.)

Only the email address is shown on the bottom of HOPS emails. The name of the HOPS Admin is shown to users on the home page of HOPS (when logged in) and in other relevant places in the system.

The purpose of this is to help users recognise that there is a human person at their organisation in charge of HOPS, helping to build trust between HOPS and users.

If you are currently using a generic account as the 'Admin Contact for Users' please could you update it to a real person in System > XXX Details.

Many thanks.
Update 633
01 December 2019
The 'Members' and 'Membership Types' menu options have moved to the new 'Membership' in connection with the development of that part of the system.