"When I became Chief Executive in September 2019, I was clear that the Post Office needed to apologise for events of the past and fully address them."
Righting the wrongs of the past
The Horizon IT scandal had devastating consequences on the lives of people affected. I have met and heard first-hand the moving testimonies from some of the victims and I am in no doubt about the human cost.
The Government’s statutory Inquiry, led by Sir Wyn Williams, will determine what went wrong in the years following the introduction of the original Horizon IT system in 1999. Post Office is openly and transparently assisting the Inquiry’s work to help provide, as far as possible, closure for those affected.
The future our Postmasters and customers deserve can only be fully delivered with the resolution of past events. That’s why I established a dedicated team in the Post Office – the Remediation Unit – to address compensation, appeals of historical criminal convictions and provide full assistance with the Inquiry.
Whilst the Inquiry’s work continues, my priority is to ensure that there is appropriate, meaningful compensation for victims. Post Office would not have the financial resources for this without Government and I welcome the funding support they are providing.
We are making substantial progress, with offers totalling more than £130 million, the vast majority of which are agreed and paid.
Past shortcomings must never be repeated. We are making significant changes to our culture and rebuilding trust to forge a new relationship with our current Postmasters, without whom there would be no Post Office.
We now have two Non-Executive Director Postmasters, elected by other Postmasters, on the Post Office Board to influence strategy and ensure the business’s direction is rooted in the reality of Postmaster business experience. A current Postmaster has been appointed to a new Director role leading our day-to-day relationship with Postmasters.
Operational improvements have also been made, based on Postmaster and branch staff feedback, in every part of the business from initial appointment and training through to daily transactions and accounting. Whilst we recognise there is still much work to do, we have made significant progress.
I know that Post Office is changing for the better and that such past failings must never happen again. Post Office and our Postmasters remain at the heart of communities across the UK. We must put this right.
Chief Executive, Post Office