An Anonymous Phone Call

I really should have been expecting this at some point.   My blog has stirred up a few moral issues for some and now one kind subpostmaster has decided to reveal all in a phone call to me over the weekend.  I have no idea who he is but what he told me makes complete sense.

I don’t know how many former and current subpostmasters are now claiming money back from POL via JFSA/Freeths but I believe it runs into the hundreds.   It is entirely likely that all of them at some stage will receive compensation once the truth about Horizon becomes clearer.   These are people who lost money to POL.

But the computer doesn’t differentiate between Credits and Debits when it makes a mistake.   It is just as likely that there are a similar number of SPMRs out there who have benefited from Horizon mistakes.    The SPMR contract is clear though.   All gains after balancing the books are for the SPMR to withdraw from the safe for his own benefit and of course he/she is responsible to settle all losses with POL.

Which brings me back to the phone call from a very kind soul who has for the first time as far as I am aware revealed an error in Horizon which has resulted in him gaining a five figure sum.  He didn’t tell me the exact figure but he did say it was closer to six figures than four!

He explained the details.  A business customer made a large cash deposit at one of his branch’s counters and the assistant later remmed it out to the Safe Stock Unit.   The SPMR remmed it in as normal.  At the close of business however the counter balance showed a significant gain which he could not understand but he recollects that it did seem to be a multiple of the stock transfer but as it was a gain he left it assuming that it would rectify itself.    By the end of the month nothing had happened to rectify this so he set the money aside in the safe in case of a visit by the auditor.

To cut a long story short – this happened a further two times over a period of 18 months or so – and the gains mounted up.  He admits to not informing the help desk and I agreed with him that he didn’t need to not only because of his contract but also because the CEO of POL says that there are no errors in Horizon!

You would think that such large losses to POL would be noticeable but no – bless their cotton socks – they aren’t and never have been.   So when NT came along this SPMR decided to leave the network and found a replacement shop willing to take the PO on.   he received suitable compensation  when he left and he also received an audit on his last day in the office.

That audit revealed no surprises although the SPMR had retained all the gains in cash just in case something cropped up.   This all happened some time ago.  The money remains invested he says just in case POL come snooping – but even if they did wouldn’t that be an interesting case to put before a Judge and Jury just as POL did to Seema Misra?  POL as prosecutor could only put the case that Horizon is fallible in order to win!

Whoever you are Mr SPMR – thanks for letting me know.   I am sure there are hundreds in a similar position.

Intermittent Errors

Co-incidentally – as I have now taken over a lottery terminal with my newsagent business I have just come across a letter Camelot sent out to all their retailers.  Makes really interesting reading in that it acknowledges an intermittent fault with their system and provides retailers with information on what to look for and how to deal with it when it happens.   Now if only POL could do something similar!!!





Was it something I said?

To these blithering idiots….

The day after my post suggesting that the Annual report was a tad late they decided to publish it.  Perhaps in haste but then again probably not.  They just can’t help making complete asses of themselves.

When you read these reports you have to read the previous year’s report in conjunction in order to determine what is new and what has been omitted.   One of the most revealing new entrants is a section in the Financial Risks Section::

Financial regulatory breach The Post Office operates under an extensive regulatory environment, covering areas such as financial and postal services, telecoms, procurement, competition law and data security. This environment continues to evolve, particularly in the financial services arena, and we need to ensure that the changing requirements continue to be identified and met.

The consequences of such risk they state are:

This could result in loss of revenue, increased costs, financial misstatement and damage to reputation with stakeholders.

I couldn’t agree more… increased costs certainly and particularly when fighting legal action.  Have you any idea of how much they have spent on prosecuting innocent subpostmasters?  That will pale into insignificance when they are forced to pay compensation to the hundreds of SPMRs claiming damages against them.

Financial misstatement indeed … I’ll come back to that point.

Damage to reputation with stakeholders?   A successful High Court action by JFSA against POL will permanently remove any remaining reputation that POL retains not to mention the outcome of the ongoing criminal investigation into illegal actions by their Prosecution Team.

So having stated the risks and the consequences you think POL would take a little bit more notice of the JFSA group.   But no they don’t although they now feel obliged to mention the upcoming court case further on in their report.

They state …

Contingent liabilities: As a large, nationwide retailer operating in dynamic and competitive markets, we may be subject to regulatory investigations and may face damage to our reputation and legal claims. From time to time, we may be named as a defendant in legal claims or be required to respond to regulatory actions in connection with our activities. This may include claims for substantial or indeterminate amounts of damages from customers, employees, consultants and contractors, or may result in penalties, fines, or other results adverse to us. Like any large company, we may also be subject to the risk of potential employee or agent misconduct, including non-compliance with policies and improper use or disclosure of our assets or confidential information. A High Court claim has been issued on behalf of a number of postmasters against Post Office in relation to various legal, technical and operational matters. Full particulars of the claim (including as to quantum) have not yet been received by Post Office. The Directors do not consider the outcome of any current claim or action will have a material adverse impact on the consolidated position of the Group

The last sentence is notable..

The Directors do not consider the outcome of any current claim or action will have a material adverse impact on the consolidated position of the Group

Really?  I have force fed Paula and her cronies with details that are listed on this blog of serious errors in the Horizon system that have led to substantial paper losses for Subpostmasters.   I know they have read my posts.  They cannot be in denial because now they know the worst.   When it comes to court they will be blown out of the water.  So the directors still believe that such a court case with all its surrounding media attention will have no adverse effect on the Group?   What planet are they living on.  Don’t they read the rubbish that they write themselves?

This could result in loss of revenue, increased costs, financial misstatement and damage to reputation with stakeholders.

Don’t they have the gumption to include a financial provision into their accounts against the likelihood that they are going to lose the cases and face multi million pound damage awards?  Remember POL don’t insure against these matters!

Perhaps they should have a look at what they say about such provisions in their own annual report?

Provisions are recognised when the Group has a present obligation (legal or constructive) as a result of a past event, it is probable that an outflow of resources will be required to settle the obligation, and a reliable estimate can be made of the amount of the obligation. If the effect of the time value of money is material, provisions are determined by discounting the expected future cash flows at an appropriate pre-tax rate.

I can point the POL directors towards two companies who recently went bust because they failed to provide for the possibility that an existing legal award could be, and was, overturned in the appeal court.

They remain unaccountable idiots.


It’s Time for the Annual Mistake Paula!

Yet another sign of just how unaccountable Post Office Ltd is.  Their annual report for year ending 31st March is now considerably overdue.   Royal Mail reported their figures in May I believe.  BIS – the apparent overseer of POL until recently – reported theirs some months ago as well.  Why the delay?  It’s not rocket science – but maybe for POL it is and they don’t have any scientists of that calibre to assist them.

Maybe they have sent the first draft to be spellchecked and content checked.  Hopefully not to the same people who approved last year’s drivel which started on the front page of the report.   It proclaimed proudly ( on page 5 that three branches were now open 24/7 – well done Paula – amazing – three branches serving the needs of the thousands if not millions of customers who desperately need a first class stamp at three o’clock in the morning.

But right next to this marvellous announcement they declare that 3.30am is the earliest any of their branches open.  Who writes this garbage and who checks it for goodness sake?

But as they say on QVC – that’s not all.  Not by a long means.  This Paula Vennells who is on control of a multi million pound, publicly owned and funded organisation, has only this week revealed in a response to a Freedom of Information request that she has no idea of who her top suppliers are and how much she spends with them.  That is suppliers she spends over a million pounds per annum with.  For goodness sake woman – do you have any idea of what you need to know in order to run a company properly?

She has to go now – get someone in with some brains – some idea of how to save Post Office Ltd.  Someone who can at least get the annual report out in the year that it was meant to be published.

And by the way – as far as I know the criminal investigation is still ongoing – charges will be brought I am sure – but yet she allows Seema Misra to suffer endless misery because of the insane prosecution brought against here. Shame on you Paula – and your God is certainly ashamed of you.