Panorama : Scandal at the Post Office BBC Documentary 2020 – Blog

Paula Vennells really is a piece of work. She’s not a bit sorry that it happened, or for her part in it. She only “regrets” that the Post Office was not able to find “a solution and a resolution”. She had an absolute bloody nerve walking into two company directorships, a position in the Cabinet Office and the chairmanship of an NHS Trust with all this crap hanging over her. Not to mention accepting an honour from the Queen! She might not be directly responsible, but as captain of the ship she needs to be held accountable! She’s an Anglican priest too! I wonder sort of priest she can be. I bet she belongs to the “God is a gas” school of theology.
Aaron Christopher Preece
Thank you Panorama for campaigning for justice, for all those affected.
There’s no doubt about it, these poor people had TERRIBLE lawyers.
kerc Chan
Sounds like the entire group of higher level employees needs to be fired and prosecuted. Sack the entire group of senior level employees and replace them with honest people who don’t lie and cover up.
Buffalo Merkis
Given the number of Post Masters prosecuted vs the total number of Post Masters employed, the statistics regarding the number of missing money events should really have been a red flag. You can’t have a population so small with such a high crime rate. There are currently around 11500 branches in 2021, most of which will have a single master. Given there was probably more like 15000 or so in 2010, having over 1000 criminals in its midst is a total statistical anomaly especially as many were accused of stealing tens of thousands of pounds.
Richard P
This is absolutely appalling. The arrogance, the hubris of the management highlights something deeply wrong with the moral compass of this nation.
Sunny Exposure
Shocking, absolutely disgraceful!!!
Jennifer Williams
Where has all the missing money gone? This sounds to me like a very high tech scam and not a computer glitch.
Phooi Chun Lau
Excellent footage. Thanks
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Why in the first place are they allowed access and can have code to put in nd remote access without leaving traces
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The question is why would they need to have access
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Someone was definitely skimming from accounts little here little there slowly
Niels Zindel
Who was the CEO before her?
Kiron Manuel
This is worse than the Lockerbie Air Crash.Damn Fujitsu.If such events happen how to report?Always happen still.
John Falls
Hello, While on the one hand I have found this program fascinating, I also think many aspects of this tragic story are simply not been told. I wish to make the following points: 1. All of the High Street retailers have reconciliation systems equivalent to Horizon which reconciles money that has been paid to the retailer to what is on their computer system. I am not aware that hundreds of the store managers are incarcerated due to discrepancies detected by these systems. Some retailers refer to this process as Sales Audit. 2. Core to what has really happened can only come from the computer programmers (or if you wish IT developers or software engineers) who have been involved in the design and coding of the Horizon system as well as applying coding changes either for enhancements or to fix bug/glitches. They would also investigate problems communicated by for example the postmasters and also monitor the system on an ongoing basis. If the full truth is going to come out it will require the cooperation and help from these individuals. 3. While Sales Audit systems can be complex (and it sounds Horizon is no exception as it cost one billion pounds) the basic principle behind them is quite straightforward. It goes something like this: Manually count the money collected by the retailer (this includes cash, credit /debit cards, cheques and any other oddball tenders), compare to what is on the polling system and back office system (in this case Horizon). Finally compare to what is on the bank statements (i.e. Bank Reconciliation ) I am assuming Horizon includes a bank reconciliation process. 4. I am really surprised by the huge amounts involved in the discrepancies. Obvious question is what time period these discrepancies occurred over. i.e. Was it days , weeks ,months years? As the amount of a typical transaction for the Post Office is quite modest I would think it would take a considerable period of time for these discrepancies to build up. And again why did the Postmasters not speak up when the discrepancies started to occur (or perhaps they did) 5. Not sure about the huffing puffing , foaming at the mouth regarding “remote access to the system”. As a developer I have often fixed data which resulted from a variety of computer glitches. On a couple of occasions I have reconstructed retail transactions on a back office system which was somehow deleted from the cash register. This type of incident was very rare (about 1 in 5 million transactions) I should also add this was done with full transparency with both the Store Manager and Sales Audit department who directed me to recreate the transaction. 6. I get the impression that at least some of the Postmasters were having problems learning and operating the Horizon system. Resistance to any new computer system / process is quite normal. Any Postmaster who finds the system difficult to work with should have a conversation with their manager. 7. An adversarial legal process will never reveal the truth behind this story. Hearings comparable to Congressional hearings in the US may be more helpful. A much better process is the Judicial Inquiries which are set up from time to time by the Canadian Government. Two examples are the Grange and Dubin Inquiries. These inquires are presided over by a judge. Any relevant witness can be called and they are questioned under oath. The sole purpose is a discovery process to get to the truth. There is no guilty or innocent party (or plaintiff or defendant). I do not know if the UK has a similar process. 8. Of course the real tragedy here is that so many Postmasters ended up in jail. This should never have happened and is frankly something that should only happen in a third world country. I also disagree that Postmasters should repay “discrepancies” which apparently cannot be explained. Where the discrepancies are large this should be internally dealt with by the Postmaster’s boss and one outcome may be a parting of the ways. However the idea that they should be punished by asking them to repay the money or worse incarcerating them is ludicrous. To seek the truth at all costs a public inquiry similar to what I have described in point 7 needs to be set up. And the witnesses should include the relevant Postmasters , their bosses, their subordinates , all relevant developers, relevant personnel from Fujitsu, personnel from the Post Office finance department and Paula Vennells.
Ohhh we are so going to do a play about this. The Outcasts are on the case.
Paula vennels should go to prison
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She got a C B E What’s that mean Con Break Extract CBE