A backbench business debate on 'the Horizon Settlement and the future governance of the Post Office Ltd’ has been scheduled for Thursday 19 March 2020. The debate has been initiated by Kevan Jones MP.
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The Post Office Horizon IT system issue has been a long, complicated and contested saga.
It started with a number of subpostmasters who experienced difficulties relating to the Post Office computer system (“Horizon”) which is used for transactions between Post Office Limited and its branch network. Subpostmasters claimed that there were problems with the IT system and related training and support.
These problems have been linked to prosecutions of subpostmasters by the Post Office and their convictions for offences such as theft and false accounting.
The campaigning group Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA) was set up in 2009 “to represent the victims of the Post Office and its Horizon system”. From late 2015, a group of claimants, coordinated by the JFSA, began to seriously explore legal action against the Post Office.
On 11 December there was a settlement between the Post Office and the claimants, where the Post Office accepted it had previously ‘got things wrong in [their] dealings with a number of postmasters’.
On 16 December, there was a judgement in favour of the claimants at the High Court in the second trial, where the judge stated that even after improvement, the Horizon IT system was not ‘remotely robust’.