If you haven’t seen it already you can read it here … http://www.computerweekly.com/news/4500257572/Post-Office-IT-support-email-reveals-known-Horizon-flaw
It reveals more about POL and their attitude towards Subpostmasters and those that seek the truth about the unexplained losses incurred by Subpostmasters around the country on a daily basis.
CW provided POL with details of the error that has been documented on this blog for comment.
What they got in reply was this …
The Post Office’s head of communications, Mark Davies, said: “We look at any and all issues raised with us through our channels. Obviously if any postmaster calls our service lines with a query we look at it, as you’d expect. The issue has been raised with us through our normal channels (postmaster contact to service centre) and answered through those channels.”
Computer Weekly also asked the Post Office several questions about the contents of the Atos email to understand if the two problems were the same or separate. The Post Office said: “We will not be commenting on this issue any further other than to say that the Post Office takes its responsibilities towards its postmasters extremely seriously and wholeheartedly rejects any suggestion to the contrary.”
End Quote ….
Well what did this genius of a communications head actually say … more to the point what didn’t he say?
LET ME BE VERY CLEAR HERE – HE DID NOT DENY THE ERROR EXISTED NOR THAT FUJITSU WOULD PROVIDE A SOFTWARE FIX FOR IT IN MARCH NEXT YEAR.
He said POL look at these problems. What he didn’t say was if they actually do anything about them. If he had investigated the problem raised – a very serious problem or perhaps £24k isn’t serious enough for Mr Davies to bother about – he would have found that ATOS had advised they had found a problem in Horizon that gave rise to this error. Not only that, Fujitsu were going to fix it in March next year – 4 months while the problem is still out there waiting to catch SPMRs and lose them money.
Mr Davies goes on to say that POL takes their responsibilities towards its postmasters extremely seriously. Wow – really? He will need to define those responsibilities for us then because clearly they don’t include the responsibility to advise the SPMRs that an identified fault in HOL is out there and if it affects them they could well lose money as a result.
Mr Davies clearly has not looked into this matter very closely. He says the SPMR contacted POL through the normal channels. Well I suppose this is actually correct but what he doesn’t seem to realise is that those normal channels didn’t work. The SPMR in question had to rely on a CWU forum to get the correct advice and eventually a ‘private’ number in Chesterfield to call.
The CWU though took the appropriate action and advised their members of the problem and what to look out for. Mr Davies does not comment on this action either which is interesting.
Nor, in a change of tact from previous utterances by this mouthpiece of POL, does he deny that the problem does not exist. He doesn’t, according to the article, spout forth about the fact that HOL is robust and handles x million transactions per day so it must be perfect.
It is frankly appalling behaviour and leads me to conclude that there fast approaches the time when POL management are going to be held to account, not only for their actions but their inaction. The question then is will they be held to account by the courts and will this happen through the civil courts or the criminal courts?
The not so funny thing about all of this is that we have reached the stage where the error is not the main issue here any more or the losses it could create for SPMRs. It is how POL have handled it or not handled it as the case may be.
My last question is Why? Why are POL doing this – ignoring a serious problem within their organisation? Do they honestly believe it will go away? Do they think they actually know what the problem is that caused this particular issue? They cannot know that because then they would need to know what I have found out in addition to what was revealed in Computer Weekly.
This next paragraph is extremely important so POL if you are reading this take note … I don’t imagine you will grasp its significance …. yet.
Alternatively do they think it appropriate that this bug that they have wrongly identified needs only be ‘fixed’ in March and that their ‘internal systems’ will pick up all instances of it occurring between now and then? Well unfortunately they can’t do that – because they can’t identify when the error actually occurs they can only look for the effect of the error in their transaction logs. That effect is not unique to the error that causes it so they don’t and cannot have any way to say what has caused it.
But maybe they know all this already? They have placed themselves in a position over the last few years when defending accusations over the unreliability of HOL that they cannot come out and say – Ooops it was all a mistake – we should have listened – we should have realised. Are they protecting themselves in all of this?
That is a conspiracy theory too far. Too many people are involved for this to be a cover up. A whistleblower would have come out of the woodwork by now. I think it is all down to plain and simple incompetence which to me, based on my experience dealing with POL, is a very logical conclusion.