back to article Post Office Horizon Inquiry calls for compensation to be brought forward

An inquiry into one of the UK's greatest IT scandals has called for compensation offered by the government to victims falsely accused of fraud to be brought forward and strengthened. In an interim report before Parliament, inquiry chair Sir Wyn Williams said the government should resolve issues blocking full and fair …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    They want to delay as long as possible ...

    to not dent Post Office profits which would affect management bonuses.

    Hopefully if they delay enough post masters will start dying off further reducing what has to be paid out.

    Anyway: as a tax payer and Post Office customer I want to see as much compensation as possible coming from those who, at the time, knew what was happening and hid it. If if means that some of these end up on skid row -- good, they were quite happy to see post master go bankrupt, end up in prison, etc.

    1. NewModelArmy

      Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

      I would have thought that the Post Office management behaviour was perverting the course of justice, and hence a criminal offence.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

        Not just PO management - Fujitsu are just as guilty and very probably guiltier. Lying weasels the lot of them.

        1. alain williams Silver badge

          Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

          Lying weasels the lot of them.

          Please do not insult weasels.

        2. Big Softie

          Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

          Not just PO Management and Fujitsu...it's a safe bet that individuals in Government and the Civil Service knew full well that Horizon was a pile of pooh, the prosecutions were unsafe, and were complicit in mis-spending > 100M of taxpayers' to cover it up. There are many keeping their heads down and hoping for it all to go away...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

          How Fujitsu seems to have got away with this is disgusting and the fact they STILL get Government contracts doubly so!

          I seem to remember reading in the Reg that at the time. 1st/2nd line Fujitsu support were going in and correcting some of the errors because everyone knew it was a crock of shit.

          That whole company should be banned from coming near a Government contract for the next 100 years AND the management hammered too.

          1. RegGuy1 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

            Aren't Fujitsu also implicated in the this DWP fracas: Thatcher-era ICL mainframe fingered for failure to pay out over £1bn in UK pensions.

          2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

            Some Fujitsu employees apparently gave in to PO pressure to lie about what was going on, but they were in no way to blame for the scandal (except very nebulously, having not produced a very good system). The actual issue was that some nut high up in the PO saw all the corrections being made, and somehow concluded that when an error was corrected, that was a loss of money that the PO would otherwise have had. Almost all the blame should be put on a very small handful of PO senior managers.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

              " they were in no way to blame for the scandal"

              TBC, 'they' there meaning the company as a whole. Obviously the employees mentioned in the previous phrase were very much to blame!

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

              >” Some Fujitsu employees apparently gave in to PO pressure to lie about what was going on, but they were in no way to blame for the scandal ”

              They can clear their names, by disclosing to the inquiry the emails etc. that showed they “were obeying orders”, if they didn’t keep an envelope of evidence …

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

        Which in turn would make all monies received after PO management became aware of problems and decided to pervert the course of justice, the proceeds of crime…

        I seem to remember some idiot going on about “risk reward” to justify executive pay, this - the forfeiture of the proceeds of crime, seems a fitting reward for the risk they knowingly took.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

      I agree but sadly that's not how it works or how it will ever work. Sometimes they get some low level scapegoat but that's few and far between. Too many powerful and rich people own companies and so do a lot in government. A company will never be the responsibility of a person or persons.

      As for dragging it on that's exactly why they are doing it. Someone somewhere will have sat down and costed up the cost of dragging it on and the cost of not dragging in on. Some of these claims are going to huge. Time spent in jail, false dismissal, loss of reputation and loss of earnings due to a criminal record which could be years worth. The initial payment should and will be paid by taxpayers then it should be claimed back from Fujitsu. It won't though because the contract will be water tight in that regard.

      1. Cynical Pie

        Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

        To a degree its worse than that.

        When the Compensation scheme was set up you would assume it would be operated independently to ensure a fair process wouldn't you?

        Well in this case no - the Post Office and Central Govt are responsible for operating and managing the compensation scheme so it has 100% been designed to operate as slowly and at as low a cost (in terms of payouts) as possible

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

        The essence of limited companies and especially of those listed on major stock exchanges is that the share ownership of widely distributed between those who play no part in the management of the company and share ownership is not limited to "powerful and rich people". In fact most of the ownership of PLCs is likely to distributed between pension funds and other investments. If you have any sort of pension fund including corporate pension funds and workplace pension schemes you will have a smidgeon of ownership of a lot of companies, possible even PO and Fujitsu. Does this make you a "rich and powerful person" and more to the point, if your pension scheme owns shares in these companies should you, personally, be prosecuted for their wrongdoings? A company might well be successfully sued for compensation or prosecuted for corporate wrongdoings but that, rightly, does not extend to those who, quite possibly unknowingly, hold shares in it.

        Having said that there is no protection for individuals within a company if they knowingly and deliberately break the law in determining and following some course of action for their company. That would include any perjury in providing evidence,* any deliberate perversion of the course of justice or any conspiracy to do those things.

        * I spent about 14 years in a job where providing evidence was the sole purpose. I was never in any doubt that the responsibility for the truth of that evidence was solely mine and not that of my employer.

    3. Tom 7

      Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

      Are you sure its not so they dont get sued into oblivion?

    4. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: They want to delay as long as possible ...

      "post masters will start dying off further reducing what has to be paid out"

      Nonsense. That doesn't reduce what has to be paid out. The estates of the deceased are entitled to exactly the same compensation. It's purely and simply immense incompetence, at this point.

  2. Valeyard

    QA

    cue the sound of QAs hiding under their duvet and quietly changing their CVs to say they were in jail or on drugs at the time they tested horizon

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: QA

      I have the horrible feeling that nobody actually tested Project Horizon in any professional way before deployment. Particularly as the Post Office Higher Ups have not been reported as claiming 'well, we had it thoroughly tested by so-snd-so before we implemented it, so the errors are all their fault.'

      As for compensation, the compensation should not merely return the victims to the financial status they would have had without the faults, they should also receive proper compensation for the distress caused to them for years, and being lied to and defamed by the Post Office. But I suspect that this mere wishful thinking on my part, spores the pity. Paula Vennels has a great deal to answer for, sorry that's Paula Vennels CBE*, because, you know, she is such a role model for us all.

      *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Vennells

      1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

        Re: QA

        That's Paula Venal's, there fixed it for you..

        1. BenDwire Silver badge

          Re: QA

          I think you meant to type Paula Vennells

          1. Lil Endian Silver badge

            Re: QA

            Here, see if this helps:

            Paula's Venal

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: QA

              From the Guardian comment item on this sorry affair (my bold highlighting):

              "Ultimately, of course, one of the biggest question for many remains: where is Paula Vennells? Vennells was the chief executive for much of the period during which the postmasters were wrongly pursued (as well as an Anglican minister, in a somewhat eyebrow-raising detail). Internal reports she commissioned repeatedly found the Post Office may have prosecuted completely innocent people and that the IT system was a mess. Vennells saw to it that no one was told about these conclusions, from the subpostmasters to parliament. She eventually left the Post Office with a CBE and £5m richer, failing upwards into some Cabinet Office business role and chairmanship of an NHS trust. Vennells has since gone to ground – but her giving evidence to the inquiry, when it finally comes, will be a momentous occasion."

              https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jul/18/post-office-scandal-cover-up-justice

              Words fail me.

              1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: QA

                Sorry, should have added "how is this not conspiracy to pervert the course of justice?"

                1. Lil Endian Silver badge

                  Re: QA

                  Yep, plus:

                  - Conspiracy to commit fraud

                  - Corporate Manslaughter/Murder

              2. Lil Endian Silver badge
                Mushroom

                Re: QA

                Words fail me. - much like Professor Yana, you are not alone.

                From the linked Wiki page: Her membership of the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group was also terminated.

                Ethical?! I'm tempted to say she makes Baroness Hardon look ethical, but the itching in my tiny brain tells me two wrong-uns don't make anything right.

                [OMG - I'm trying not to imagine the two of them as Co-CEOs of anything important: The Venal-Hardon Show!]

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It's not just one scandal, it's a whole stack.

    First there's the scandal of the original prosecutions including inducing the innocent to plead guilty.

    Secondly the fact that as soon as it was discovered urgent action wasn't taken to proactively and promptly quash every single verdict as unsafe. There may well have been some real fraud cases in there but given the circumstances it would likely have been impossible to work out which they were.

    Thirdly the fact that immediate urgent action wasn't taken to proactively and promptly compensate those convicted or forced to make up "deficits".

    Fourthly that criminal cases weren't investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted by the barrier presented by the ongoing enquiry and finally that the PO has been allowed to drag out the enquiry for so long with delaying tactics.

    It's not just an IT scandal either, it bears on the entire British justice system. There's an old saying "justice delayed is justice denied.". An awful lot of people are being denied justice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We often hear that plea bargaining or pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity should mean quick and efficient (cheap) justice... but here we have the other side of the coin, people bullied into pleading guilty to something they didn't do....

      Doesn't feel like justice to me.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        'Justice'

        AC: "Doesn't feel like justice to me."

        Ah, well, you see, otherwise Paula Vennells, CBE, would have had to admit that the Horizon Project procurement had failed, that they had not done proper testing and that would have cost her and her management team their bonuses (probably), and they could not possibly have that could they? I mean, she would not have got her Commander of the British Empire award, and that would have been terrible. It would have been the honest, almost inspiring integrity, and the decent thing to do, of course, but they are old-fashioned virtues.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: 'Justice'

          That's not what happened. What happened is worse, and much stupider. Within reason, the Horizon procurement was a success. The system mostly worked ok - there were a relatively small number of manual corrections required (but a large absolute number due to the sheer volume involved). It appears that some complete idiot high up in the PO somehow understood that corrections of (say) £1m were not corrections of accounting errors, but were actually costing the PO £1m, and tried to put a stop to them. It's ridiculously stupid, when that is understood.

          If the idiot mandate to stop/minimise corrections hadn't been handed down from on high, the PO would have muddled along with a pretty-much-working system involving the odd manual intervention to fix not-particularly-common errors that cropped up at a reasonably low rate. The only cost would have been a few extra support staff. That it turned into the persecution of many innocent postmasters is insane, and all stems from the mistaken belief handed down from on high that these 'errors' needed to be stopped. Most of the people involved on the PO side didn't discover until much later that the orders they were given were based on something so stupid, and so had no reason to believe they weren't dealing with fraud.

          You can't learn the lessons from this debacle without acknowledging what actually happened, which includes understanding that there were only a tiny handful of bad actors - prior to the coverup, at least.

    2. CJ_C

      Fifthly

      Bonuses were awarded to current bosses on the basis of lies in the latest accounts about completing tasks for the enquiry. This was spotted and money repaid. But they still have their jobs...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ahhhh the old, delay paying out long enough so more victims die ploy. They should be forced to pay out to the estates of any victims that have died, plus interest. classic housery

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      Yes, any compo will go to the estate.

      Hopefully, any suicide postmasters estates should also claim, and since they have no time pressure, exact full vengeance.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Victims dying doesn't remove any liabilities. Your conspiracy theory is insane and stupid enough that you might be Paula Vennells.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        But it does cap and thus reduce them.

  5. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The Post Office and Fujitsu put many people through hell, pushing two to take their own lives. There should be an unreserved appology and rapid & generous compensation payouts* for the hell they inflicted. Then we should lock up the execs at PO & Fujitsu and throw away the key.

    Unfortunately, this is too much common sense so the chance of this happening is zero.

    My sympathies to the people who had to endure this corporate f**k up.

    [*] And the money should go to the victims, not line the pockets of lawyers.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      While agreeing that the victims should get paid, it should be realised that without law firms willing to engage in protracted trench warfare over these sort of issues people don't get any payout and bluntly, if law firms aren't willing to do a deal with people whereby the law firm gets paid if they manage to win then few people could afford to get justice at all.

      Unless you have a 100% success rate in court (which nobody does; unless they only take on a tiny subset of cases that they are sure they can win) then people do end up putting a lot of work into cases very much like this that they then don't get paid for, which are paid for by the cases they do win.

      Is that fair? No, it's not. But as the existing system only includes "billable time" spent in court and so excludes the preparation work such as preparing the court bundle and meeting with the clients and so on then that small part that is "billable" [in court] is going to come with an excessively high time cost, the same as it would if IT staff weren't allowed to charge for hitting the "apply" button. If we were required to do that and not for downloading updates etc then inevitably we'd have a high hourly charge for one hour worth of time too charged in hour long blocks just as law does.

      Of course, changing that would require paying more money to lawyers for the work they actually do, most of which is not actually in court and newspapers would have a field day with "lawyers paid for nothing" so nothing will change until the point that the criminal justice system actually collapses entirely, which truthfully it's probably not actually that far from doing because nobody can afford to access it.

    2. a_builder

      I don't love lawyers.

      But

      In this case if a group of investors had not funded the lawyers that actually proved the PO were lying scumbags then justice would never have been done at all.

      All the follow on money goes to the victims and not the lawyers.

      1. Tom 7

        Private Eye - the last investigative journalists home in the UK - along with this rag did a huge amount too.

        Mind you PE's subscribers website has been in updating status for a couple of weeks now so perhaps revenge is being sown.

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          PrEye jumped on the bandwagon right at the end and pretended to have done something significant - pretty much their MO these days. When did they become such scum?

  6. David M

    BBC investigation

    The BBC radio series about this (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000jf7j/episodes/guide) is very well-researched and informative. And horrifying.

    1. nobody who matters

      Re: BBC investigation

      Nick Wallis (who presented that series) has been scrutinising everything to do with the scandal ever since it first broke. He has single handedly done more to publicise and inform the wider public about it than anybody else - other journalists seem to be only just beginning to take an interest, but their reporting is far too often rather lacking in depth, and not really conveying the true horror of it all.

      There is also a very good thread which has been running on Stampboards (https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?t=47076) for for just over ten years (and has even linked to threads on El Reg at times :)). One poster in particular has been following the course of events very closely, and has posted regular updates not only on the progress of Sir Wyn Williams inquiry, but has been also been following the progress of the investigations of Nick Wallis. Nick Wallis has two related websites: one which followed the trials (https://www.postofficetrial.com/), and another more recent one which reports on the wider scandal, and the current inquiry (https://www.postofficescandal.uk/).

      All are well worth reading - there is much which simply isn't being reported by the media in general, and even where they are doing so, they are not going into sufficient depth to really convey the full horror of it all.

      Sir Wyn is certainly giving the impression that he will not rest at giving POL management an easy ride, and has come down very harshly (or as harshly as he can wihin the legal constraints of the inquiry) on what he clearly sees as POL delaying tactics and management attempts to deflect blame, so I would be hopeful that we may see prosecutions of the right people in the future. Not that such action is going to help the SPMs whose lives were destroyed, or indeed be of any help to the ones who committed suicide!

      1. Big Softie

        Re: BBC investigation

        All are well worth reading - there is much which simply isn't being reported by the media in general, and even where they are doing so, they are not going into sufficient depth to really convey the full horror of it all.....

        It's clear that the media has been soundly threatened into near silence over the course of this travesty by the Post Office's thugs [expensive lawyers] funded by the taxpayer

        1. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: BBC investigation

          Yeah you can silence the media with lawyers, same reason that in all the articles about the infected blood products scandal none of the media companies dare name the company that extracted blood from US prisoners (reusing needles), mixed it all in big vats and then when the FDA told them to stop selling it because it was infected with HIV and Hep C they decided to ship it to Europe and sell it. It was Bayer btw.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: BBC investigation

        I wonder if one of the reasons the Tories detest the BBC is because they give a platform to people such as Nick Wallis. Discredit and underfund the organisation, means they can’t afford to pay for real journalism et al.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC investigation

      And Private Eye ad nauseum...

      (https://www.private-eye.co.uk/podcast - ep49 Going Postal)

      (https://www.private-eye.co.uk/special-reports - Justice: Lost In The Post)

  7. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Kick Fujitsu in the nadgers but don't forget to mention Paula Vennells and the rest

    The worst part of this whole affair is that POL would not listen to their own people even as the number of apparent frauds grew to obviously stupid levels.

    So drag Fujitsu through the mill but keep talking about the higher-ups in POL who let them get away with that nonsense.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recent Conference Talk

    There was a talk about this at SteelCon last week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz8MJDoMm7I

  9. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Boffin

    Its a shame

    that PO manglement and fuckitso execs are not currently sitting in a jail cell for perverting the course of justice

    As other commentators have said that the PO and fuckitso manglement are looking to drag this out so that claimants die off, plus so they can find a low level dev/QA guy to blame it on, even though they instructed PO lawyers to setup the criminal cases(and I bet in some of those meetings PO lawyers said "This horizon evidence.. can it be relied on?" and the PO execs said "YES" even though they were holding onto memos/e.mails from staff saying horizons is bollocks)

    But I cannot understand the failure at fuckitso to develop a reasonably straight forward transaction thing... exactly the sort of software the banks have been using for ages, and exactly the transactional software I studied at uni , ok it may have been a bit simpler, but hell, you set up one fault tolerent client/server messaging system and even if it loses comms 1/2 way through, it should tolerate that failure and resume either where it left off or ask for a resend of the entire transaction log.

    This is exactly what the direct control software built into the robots asks for

    One 'frame' of data, followed by a hash number, than the PC waits for Ack/NoAck from the control, on Ack its send the next frame, on NoAck, its resend previous frame, 3 NoAcks in a row mean comms failure and you have to restart the file from the start.

    And this was implemented on controls that came out when horizons was being planned................

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For those thinking it's was a one-off, out of character behaviour from previous management ...

    PO dodgy bonuses all round! - JoePolitics, YouTube

  11. localzuk

    Old saying...

    Justice delayed is justice denied.

  12. Mike007 Bronze badge

    The problem with the post office is that are in the wrong industry. When they fuck up and and destroy people's lives they have to pay compensation...

    Fujitsu on the other hand are in the IT industry. They wont have to pay a penny, after all there is no warranty that the software will work and liability is capped at the cost of a license. Industry standard practice!

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Given this record, they ought to be automatically deselected and disallowed from any other government/public service/infrastructure contracts. No if, but, or maybe. If they fuck it up this much, what else might be equally bad that hasn't come to light yet? Door, leave, bye.

    2. fg_swe Bronze badge

      False

      Each and every company can be held liable for the quality of their work. There is no way to totally absolve themselves based on T+C.

      Having said that, Fujitsu could claim that there are absolutely no standards of finance software engineering. So they are "compliant with industry standards".

      A capable judge would find them partially responsible and make them pay a serious fine+damages.

      1. Martin Gregorie

        Re: False

        Each and every company can be held liable for the quality of their work. There is no way to totally absolve themselves based on T+C.

        While this is absolutely true, in the absence of something like a relevant ISO financial systems standard, there IS a de facto standard for judging any financial software system: that is the System Specification which the delivered system MUST conform to in both performance and function, and which both the client and the developers must agree and should have signed off on before development starts.

        Once the System Spec has been agreed and signed off the developers are contractually bound to produce a high quality system that conforms exactly to the spec, it is also the case that the client should assemble an acceptance test team who will produce an acceptance test suite that will allow them to verify that the delivered system corresponds exactly to the System Spec and contains no defects or anomalies.

        I've listened to the Radio 4 programs about the Horizon disaster and have just read Private Eye's account, but nowhere has there been any reference to a signed off System Spec or to any Acceptance Testing process or team. Why? If it was because no Acceptance testing was ever done, that's just inexcusable and shows that both Fujitsu and PO management were, and maybe still are, unbelievably incompetent right up to Board and Ministerial level.

        1. dinsdale54

          Re: False

          That's getting in to the weeds. There was evidence given during the enquiry that testing was taking place, concerns were raised about the quality and it was signed off for release anyway. The module that came in for the most criticism was the 'cash accounts' module that deals with --- in branch transactions.

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: False

            Anyone know of a genuinely IT-literate expert senior judge? That is someone who has personally edited and compiled a Unix Kernel, installed and removed actual software and hardware, done network diagnostics and got the sodding printer to work again after numerous Microsoft OS upgrades and patches for their company and who would have got fired for failure.

            Thought not.

            Troll icon, because obviously our judiciary are the envy of the world with their dignity, wisdom and compassion, lack of any untoward bias and ability to understand everything anyone says in court.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: False

              "personally edited and compiled a Unix Kernel"

              No. I've edited and built an operating system, written in assembler, however my experience of Unix is having it run in embedded devices where it's not my problem. The reason why I'm writing this reply is that "compiling a kernel" isn't really something I would hold as a requirement of technical competence. Sure, great if (s)he can, but the vast majority of people can't, don't, and would never need to.

              "installed and removed actual software and hardware"

              I'm old enough to have had to deal with IRQ conflicts in the hardware, and all sorts of nonsense from the drivers. These days, installing and removing hardware could be as simple as plugging in a USB socket...

              "done network diagnostics"

              The DNS is misconfigured. I know this, because it's always DNS.

              "and got the sodding printer to work again after numerous Microsoft OS upgrades"

              I'm old enough to remember a time before that. A time when a software company would write a few drivers for the popular printers, and everything else would pretend to be one such printer. Of course, there were varying degrees of competence in this charade, which tended to mean that anything that wasn't a genuine such and such would need some driver hacks to get it working properly and outputting all the expected characters. There was a time when I used to be able to speak ESC/P and PCL.

              But, personally, I'd settle for a judge that is open minded enough to find out about things (s)he doesn't fully understand.

    3. adam 40 Silver badge

      There is another specific problem with P.O. too, in that they have special arrangements with the courts.

      This all added to their ability to bring criminal prosecutions (rather than the CPS assessing each case and doing so).

  13. fg_swe Bronze badge

    Proper Regulation Of Finance Information Technology

    Unlike other industries such as automotive, aerospace, rail and medical, there seems to be a gaping hole in regulation in finance. Untrained engineers/programmers/coders can become project managers and senior engineers. Processes can be chosen at random, including a total lack of proper quality controls.

    Compare that to the V-Model, ISO26261 and ASPICE mandated in the auto industry. ABS brakes actually work and so do electric/electronic steering systems.

    So the short answer is: regulate the finance industry to use the V-Model and to certify at least one engineer on each project to know what that means. Financial oversight authorities must be able to inspect and check compliance to these rules. For example, there must be up-to-date, appropriate design documentation, unit tests, system tests. If a finance company fails to comply, there must be serious, progressive fines until technology deficits are eliminated.

    Of course this requires competent public servants who had a career in software engineering. This means serious, competitive wages. A good software engineer costs as much as a colonel in the army or more. The cost of doing nothing will be much higher !

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Proper Regulation Of Finance Information Technology

      Can't do that! If some oversight committee needs to check compliance, the wheels might fall off the gravy train.

      The reason finance is so weakly regulated is entirely by design. There will, of course, be a few minor mishaps along the way, but as long as the money is going to where it is supposed to be going (not the poor, benefits, social services, public sector wages, etc etc) then move along please there's nothing to see here...

  14. Simon Rockman

    Allowing the perpetrator to assess the compensation

    It's a huge shame that Sir Wynn didn't scrap the existing compensation schemes and set up a new, independent one. The awards being made are tiny. Think what a ;lifetime of earnings must be, then throw in compensation for wrongful prosecution, imprisonment, stress of collapse of marriage and the like. It's got to net out at £3m a pop and there are over 1,000 cases. Current awards are in the tens of thousands.

  15. jollyboyspecial

    One issue that should not need an enquiry is that criminal charges need to be brought against those at the post office and fujitsu who pressed ahead with criminal charges against sub postmasters while knowing full well that no criminal offence had been committed.

    There also need to be questions asked about how people were found guilty on evidence that was quite clearly false.

    1. fg_swe Bronze badge

      "evidence that was quite clearly false."

      There is a horror to realize and admit that the "money storage/creation systems" might be faulty. So many non-technical folks will simply declare banking technology "perfect" and look for "another explanation".

      That is clearly irrational, see my other post.

      Software engineers at Fujitsu should have called out the problems, but we must assume they were cowed into silence by their (often non-technical) superiors.

    2. Andrew Dancy

      There is a police investigation (going very, very slowly apparently) which was looking quite closely at two people at Fujitsu who were responsible for giving evidence in some of the prosecutions of the sub-postmasters. However because it's absolutely critical not to prejudice any potential future trial there's unlikely to be any visible public progress until the point at which people are actually charged by the CPS.

      There's also rumblings about the Solicitors Regulation Authority going after some of the Post Office's lawyers for professional misconduct, but that may have to wait till after the police have concluded their enquiries (again this is to prevent anything potentially screwing up a future criminal trial)

  16. a_builder

    I totally agree with Sir Wyn - these people whose lives were destroyed need to be put back where they were before this happened as a matter of urgency. Then they need to be compensated for the criminal actions on top of that.

    It is mystery to me why people have not been arrested for their criminal behaviour in carrying out malicious prosecution.

    The Post Office prosecutors *knew* the behaviour was malicious as they had been told that by their own barrister. Unfortunately, he couldn't remember who he told that to precisely.

    Whilst I am sure that, Met Police style, a lot of embarrassing files have 'been locked in a cupboard' this is going to unravel at some point in time.

    I just hope it is soon as some people really do deserve some jail time for this and the longer this is spun out, which it will be, then the less chance of the guilty being fit to stand trial or to be given the prison time they so richly deserve.

    1. nobody who matters

      "....these people whose lives were destroyed need to be put back where they were before this happened...."

      I would have said they need sufficient compensation to put them into the position where they would have been <now>, had their lives not been ruined by this.

      1. gotes
        Devil

        Considering the current state of "cost of living" and so on, that might put them in a worse position.

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Damn I was in a good mood until this showed up again.

    Now I want to hit someone, well quite a few someones actually. Total bastards the lot of them.

  18. manalive

    A sad story

    This is a story that really makes me want to cry. All those poor people literally crushed by a corporate monster.

    Karma needs to come quickly for the absolute shysters who did this.

    1. gotes

      Re: A sad story

      And none of the actual criminals have gone to prison for it... Yet (here's hoping).

  19. matjaggard

    Lawyers

    I'm not usually one to pile hate on lawyers but this case is crazy. Not only did they work hard to ensure that justice was not done in this case, others have hardly worked to put it right and then for the compensation, they "received £43 million ($52 million) plus legal costs in a settlement. The bulk of the money, however, was consumed by the costs of funding the case." - the bulk of £43 million PLUS legal costs (which should be enough to cover the costs of funding the case surely‽) is a crazy amount of money just to gain the beginnings of some justice.

  20. t245t Silver badge

    Why are these people not in jail?

    Why are these people not in jail? I suppose like the Grenfell tragedy, they're going to drag out the enquiry so long that the victims are all deceased.

    Justice Lost In The Post

    How the Post Office wrecked the lives of its own workers

    1. nobody who matters

      Re: Why are these people not in jail?

      As several previous posters have pointed out; the death of the victims does not reduce the scope of liability for compensation to their families/beneficiaries.

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Why are these people not in jail?

      Quote

      "Why are these people not in jail? I suppose like the Grenfell tragedy, they're going to drag out the enquiry so long that the victims are all deceased."

      I'll edit that statement for you as it seems to be a touch incorrect

      "Why are these people not in jail? I suppose like the Grenfell tragedy, they're going to drag out the enquiry so long that the perpetrators are all deceased."

      After all... this horizons stuff started 20 yrs ago.. so the 55yr old PO mangler who made the bad decisions is going to be 75 now.....

      1. gotes

        Re: Why are these people not in jail?

        At the time of writing this comment the only reaction to your post was one downvote, which I've counter-voted, although not because I fully agree with your response.

        Yeah, the OP's statement was a touch incorrect; many of the victims of Grenfell died in the fire or shortly after, but I think it was a poor comparison anyway.

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