Tuesday 20 November 2018

Day 8 write-up: AvdB part 2

Rolls Building entrance
Angela van den Bogerd, Post Office Development Director, spent the entire day under cross-examination on Day 8 of the Bates and others v Post Office group litigation common issues trial.

She was answering questions put to her by Patrick Green, QC for the JFSA, who walked Mrs van den Bogerd through a bewildering number of documents, initially painting broad brush strokes and before drilling down into complex issues to make a specific point.

There were a significant number of former Subpostmasters present to hear what Mrs van den Bogerd had to say, though, on occasion, her mumbling, low-volume responses in the witness box made it difficult to pick out exactly what she was saying.

If you would like to read my blow-by-blow live tweeting of Day 8's events, please do click on this compendium of them and have a read. If you want a summary of the key moments, read on...

Let's deal with the biggest shock. The already infamous September 2010 receipts payments mismatch meeting memo, released via the court and published on this blog last week, had another big secret to reveal.

We already knew it concerned a serious Horizon "bug" which had materially changed the accounts of around 40 Post Offices. We already knew that a summary of possible courses of action discussed remote access to Subpostmaster branch accounts. Remote access was presented as as a given, something that until January 2017 the Post Office had denied was possible.

What we didn't know is the outcome of the discussion within the memo.

The memo lists three possible courses of action with regards to rectifying the damage the bug has already done, whilst Fujitsu are working are working on isolating it and writing a fix:

SOLUTION ONE- Alter the Horizon Branch figure at the counter to show the discrepancy. Fujitsu would have to manually write an entry value to the local branch account.

IMPACT - When the branch comes to complete next Trading Period they would have a discrepancy, which they would have to bring to account.

RISK- This has significant data integrity concerns and could lead to questions of "tampering" with the branch system and could generate questions around how the discrepancy was caused.This solution could have moral implications of Post Office changing branch data without informing the branch.

SOLUTION TWO - P&BA will journal values from the discrepancy account into the Customer Account and recover/refund via normal processes.This will need to be supported by an approved POL communication. Unlike the branch "POLSAP" remains in balance albeit with an account (discrepancies) that should be cleared.

IMPACT - Post Office will be required to explain the reason for a debt recovery/refund even though there is no discrepancy at the branch.

RISK - Could potentially highlight to branches that Horizon can lose data.

SOLUTION THREE - It is decided not to correct the data in the branches (ie Post Office would prefer to write off the "lost" [sic]

IMPACT - Post office must absorb circa £20K loss

RISK - Huge moral implications to the integrity of the business, as there are agents that were potentially due a cash gain on their system

Now because this list of solutions is preceded by the statement: "the groups [sic] recommendation is that solution two should be progressed", it was accepted that this is what did happen.

But today Mr Green had something of a revelation. He had been able to discover, through his cross-referencing of responses he had received from the Post Office legal team, that one of the "circa" 40 affected branches had received a balancing transaction via Solution One: Fujitsu manually writing an entry value to the local branch account.

When this was presented to Mrs van den Bogerd she was adamant that this would not have been done without the relevant Subpostmaster's knowledge.

Mr Green said he had approached the Post Office legal team for the answer to that very question. He wanted to know specifically if they had informed the Subpostmaster. He read the response - a letter saying that as the Subpostmaster in question was not a claimant and as it had very little bearing on the claimants' case, the information would not be released.

Mrs van den Bogerd repeated her assertion that the Subpostmaster would have been told.

So - asked Mr Green - why not just say yes?

Mrs van den Bogerd had no answer.

There is an inference that Mr Green was asking the judge to make, and it is a serious one. It is that the Post Office (or Fujitsu at the Post Office's behest) has the capacity to manually enter balancing transactions into individual branch accounts, and has done, without the knowledge of the Subpostmaster. It is important to stress the Post Office has not admitted doing this, but it has also not confirmed it did inform the Subpostmaster that this balancing transaction had taken place, when you would think that if it did happen, it would be very much in their interests to confirm it.

The implications of this have been spelled out to me by a senior and experienced figure not connected to either legal team. If the Post Office have the capacity to manually enter balancing transactions into branch accounts without the knowledge of the Subpostmaster, and have done so, the integrity of the Horizon system, particularly, the Subpostmasters' responsibility for their branch accounts is now called into question.

Other revelations came thick and fast - internal documents detailing inadequacies in training and support, more Horizon bugs and the need to keep on top of them internally, the near-impossibility of Subpostmasters being able to properly investigate problems being held as debts against them, genuine, provable examples of Subpostmasters being held liable for errors made by Post Office staff or systems and the sheer unpredictability of the Post Office's transaction correction system which is liable to wild swings in value from year to year.

I was also somewhat bewildered to hear that it was Post Office policy to require Subpostmasters to put fake transactions through Horizon in order to balance their stock. Mr Green gave the example of stamps. If Horizon said a branch should have 221 stamps, and in fact the branch had 225, the Subpostmaster had to "sell" 4 stamps to a phantom customer to reduce the number to 221. And if there are too few, the Subpostmaster carries out a reverse transaction, again to balance actual stock against Horizon's number.

But no money changes hands? asks the judge.

Correct, agrees Mrs van den Bogerd. What, said Mr Green, if the Post Office sends out too few stamps and the Postmaster doesn't notice, then carries out a phantom transaction to balance. Does the Subpostmaster then become liable for that discrepancy.

"No" said Mrs van den Bogerd. There was a sharp exhalation of breath from at least one of the attendant former Subpostmasters, a bunch of people who have otherwise listened in perfect respectful silence on every day of the proceedings.

Mr Green explained the situation again, and on this occasion Mrs van den Bogerd agreed that if the Subpostmaster failed to notice the Post Office's mistake, they take on the liability.

I'll be honest I was less surprised by the Post Office shovelling risk onto Subpostmasters (even when it's the Post Office making the initial mistake), than I am by a procedure which requires Subpostmasters to make phantom transactions on Horizon, but there we go.

Two moments today really did make me wonder.

The first came when Mrs van den Bogerd was presented with a spreadsheet in which she was asked to look at apparent Post Office errors regarding Transaction Corrections on Naushad Abdulla's branch account. After a bit of a grilling on it Mrs van den Bogerd told the court she wasn't really able to comment further on this as she was "coming to it cold".

This caused some consternation amongst the claimants' lawyers. After a break, Mr Green pointed out to Mrs van den Bogerd that on Friday 16th November he had received her signed witness statement for the second ("Horizon") trial in this group litigation, which is due to happen in March 2019.

He points out that in her Horizon witness statement Mrs van den Bogerd makes specific, quite detailed points about Mr Abdulla's case. She asks to see her witness statement for the Horizon trial. After lunch it is presented to her. Mrs van den Bogerd accepts her phrase "coming to it cold" was a mistake.

The second came towards the end of the day when Mr Green read out several paragraphs from Mrs van den Bogerd's witness statement for this trial which had been copied and pasted directly from various Post Office documents including a Post Office rebuttal statement to Second Sight which was written in 2015. I really wish I could have told you what Mrs van den Bogerd said in response to this, and it may well have been perfectly reasonable, but to be honest she was mumbling so much by this stage I could not make out what she was saying.

Just as I have asked the NFSP for comment on my recent piece about them, I am hoping the Post Office will see fit to contribute meaningfully to the debate which has been going on outside the courtroom as well as inside it. Whilst I aim to keep my reporting fair and balanced, if the loudest noises are being made by those who are critical of the Post Office, my reporting is almost unavoidably going to reflect that.

Today I was given the overall statement by the Post Office about this litigation which, thanks to the joy of the internet (rather than the time/space restrictions of broadcast news), I am happy to post up in full:

"The Post Office is robustly defending its position in the court and welcomes the opportunity to do so. We take these cases extremely seriously and we have worked hard over a number of years to address the issues raised. We have conducted thorough investigations and sought to resolve some of the claims through mediation.

"It’s important to note that the claimants represent a very small proportion (0.01%) of users of our Horizon computer system users since 2000.

"Our employees and postmasters are important to us and we take our relationships with them very seriously. We have confidence in our network of 11,500 Post Office branches and the systems underpinning it.

"The Horizon computer system is operated successfully by thousands of employees, postmasters and their staff to process 47 million transactions every week."

I look forward to further contributions from the Post Office...

Common Issues trial transcript: Day 8

This is the unperfected transcript of the eighth day of the Common Issues trial in the Bates and others v Post Office group litigation. The hearing below took place on Tue 20 November 2018 in court 26 of the High Court's Rolls Building. The claimants' QC is Mr Patrick Green and the defendant's QC is Mr David Cavender. The managing judge is Mr Justice Fraser.

Day 8 witness

Angela van den Bogerd, People Services Director, Post Office Ltd (witness statement here).
This was day 2 of Mrs van den Bogerd's evidence, for day 1 click here and her final day 3, click here.

For my write-up of the day, click here.

Day 1 transcript - Wed 7 November - Opening arguments
Day 2 transcript - Thu 8 November - Claimants: Alan Bates, Pam Stubbs part 1
Day 3 transcript - Mon 12 November - Pam Stubbs part 2, Mohammad Sabir
Day 4 transcript - Tue 13 November - Naushad Abdulla, Liz Stockdale
Day 5 transcript - Wed 14 November - Louise Dar
Day 6 transcript - Thu 15 November - Post Office: Nick Beal, Paul Williams
Day 7 transcript - Mon 19 November - Sarah Rimmer, John Breeden, AvdB part 1
Day 8 transcript - Tue 20 November - AvdB part 2
Day 9 transcript - Wed 21 November - AvdB part 3, Timothy Dance, Helen Dickinson, Michael Shields part 1
Day 10 transcript - Thu 22 November - Michael Shields part 2, Elaine Ridge, David Longbottom, Michael Webb
Day 11 transcript - Mon 26 November - Michael Haworth, Andrew Carpenter, Brian Trotter
Day 12 transcript - Mon 3 December - Claimants' closing argument: Patrick Green QC - part 1
Day 13 transcript - Tue 4 December - Claimants' closing argument: Patrick Green QC - part 2
Day 14 transcript - Wed 5 December - Post Office closing argument: David Cavender QC - part 1
Day 15 transcript - Thu 6 December - Post Office closing argument: David Cavender QC - part 2

Day 8 full transcript:

                                      Tuesday, 20 November 2018
   (10.30 am)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I have just received some documents.
       I have the six lever-arch files that Mr Draper told me
       about yesterday.  I also got the Cabinet Guidance
       document, but I don't think that is the right version
       because that is dated July 2018 and it refers within it
       to a 2016 version.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, it's my fault.  I haven't been on that
       because of the number of witnesses.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It is an easy mistake.
   MR GREEN:  We will try and get the right one.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  On page 3, I think it is, it refers to
       a December 2016 version which I think is probably the
       relevant one, but thank you very much for handing them
       in anyway.
   MR GREEN:  I am grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Yes.  Mr Green.
            Cross-examination by MR GREEN (continued)
   MR GREEN:  Mrs Van Den Bogerd, yesterday you remember we
       were dealing with the terms of clause 12(12) and agents'
       losses.  And you are aware, aren't you, that in the
       subpostmasters contract there is a provision for relief
       in the case of hardship, in clause 17.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And that is separate to clause 12(12)?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you know whether it was Post Office's practice to
       refer subpostmasters to that provision when notifying
       them of significant debts?  To remind them of the
       ability to apply to Post Office for relief in cases of
   A.  I'm not aware -- I can't remember seeing that in
       anything that we communicated.  It is part of the -- we
       would have our internal documents around a policy that
       we would apply.
   Q.  Sorry, can you just speak up a tiny bit.
   A.  Sorry.  We have our internal policy which we would apply
       but I can't recall ever seeing that in writing to
       a subpostmaster.
   Q.  If we can just look quickly, I will just give you two
       examples at different ends of the date range.  The first
       one is {E2/6/1}.  You can see that is a letter to
       Pam Stubbs.  It is in relation to a shortage of £393.
       The second paragraph -- this was pre the 2005 change in
       relation to suspense accounts.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "This letter is to give authority to hold the shortage
       in your account for a maximum of eight weeks."
           Then this line:
           "During this time, any error notices relating to the
       same cash account week must be processed immediately and
       the authority to hold the loss will cease."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then the last line of that paragraph:
           "Any other losses that occur during the period of
       authority must be made good immediately."
           And the authority period there appears to be eight
       weeks.  Is that right?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So the consequence of that is -- if I give you
       an example of an incorrectly issued error notice, as
       they were called at this time.  If Mrs Stubbs agrees to
       this, and an incorrect error notice is issued to her,
       she is then required under this to make it good
   A.  Under this arrangement, yes, she would be.
   Q.  Yes.  Let's look, please, at {E2/9/1}.  There is
       a further similar notice that appears to be standard
       wording.  Do you accept these are standard letters?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And {E2/10/1}, this is an electronic memo, internal
       email, effectively, within Post Office.  You will see at
       the top:
           "Kevin.  Frank came to see me about this office and
       we discussed it with Sanjay and said that she needed to
       prove it was Horizon that was causing all these power
       failures in the office.  Can you please tell us how we
       can get this resolved as it appears now it is a direct
       consequence of the installation and not anything that
       has happened in a steady state."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So there is a recognition there that it is a consequence
       of the installation.
           And if we go to the second page of that document,
       please {E2/10/2}, down at the bottom from Frank Manning,
       you will see the last substantial paragraph:
           "Need your best offices to get this case to a proper
       solution - she keeps getting promises of attention - but
       nothing is actually being done now to clear up the
           In bold:
           "It is Horizon related - the problems have only
       arisen since install and the postmistress is now barking
       and rightly so in my view.  Help please."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you accept that if Post Office knows or believes
       a problem to be caused by Horizon it has an obligation
       to tell the subpostmistress or subpostmaster
   A.  I would agree with that, yes.
   Q.  If an error notice is issued to a subpostmistress after
       she has made one of these agreements, she is forced to
       pay it, isn't she?
   A.  She is.  Unless she were to clear out the loss that she
       had been authorised to keep in the account, then yes,
       she would be required to --
   Q.  She has to pay both, effectively.  Because the
       suspension ends and she has to pay the error notice
       that --
   A.  Or she could request to remove the one that was in --
       being held in the suspense account and put the other one
   Q.  Pay one --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- then ask if she could have eight weeks for the other
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Let's look now at a later date range in the date range,
       Mrs Stockdale at {E6/128.1/1}.  Can we just come up from
       the bottom email.  5 November, this is Mrs Stockdale to
       the Agents Accounting Team:
           "Dear sir/madam.  I would like to arrange to repay
       you the money owed to yourselves through my branch."
           Because she has been getting payment demands for
       money owed.
           "I am assuming the investigation that was going on
       has now been done, hence the letter."
           So she is referring back to a letter telling her to
           "Please could I arrange for a payment each month to
       be taken from my fees until the account is cleared.
       Please reply letting me know how much would be taken
       each month.  Thanks for your assistance."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then the Agents Accounting Team, looks like Paul:
           "Dear Liz.  If you are able to tell me what product
       caused your loss I would be able to chase that
       particular team for you.  If not, I am happy to arrange
       deductions over eight months ... £455 per month."
           And there is an asterisk after "eight months", do
       you see that?  The asterisk says:
           "On the understanding that you are not allowed to
       settle any further losses until a year after this has
       been repaid."
           So let's just take that in stages, if we may.  The
       first point is you would agree, wouldn't you, that from
       the first line it doesn't seem that the investigation
       has been carried out?
   A.  What I take from that is Paul is unsure whether it has
       been concluded.
   Q.  He doesn't know?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And he is asking her to tell him what product caused her
       loss and then he can chase the particular team.  If she
       doesn't know what product, she cannot determine or
       identify what product caused the loss, she is unable to
       give him the information that he is requesting, isn't
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then the repayment period is over eight months as we see
       from the second line.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the asterisk makes provision for her not to be
       allowed to settle any further losses until a year after
       that.  So that would be 20 months from that date,
       wouldn't it?
   A.  And that is referring to deductions from her
   Q.  Yes.  What has happened is that he says he is happy to
       arrange deductions over a period of eight months at
       £455 a month, so we can tell it is over £3,000, isn't
       it, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  But that is on condition, and the condition is specified
       in the last line, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the condition is that Liz Stockdale is not allowed
       to settle any further losses until a year after this sum
       has been repaid.  That is what it says?
   A.  Yes.  And by that, I am reading that he means the
       deductions from remuneration.  I think the word "settle"
       is confusing in this context.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Why is it confusing?  Is he not meaning
       settle centrally?
   A.  No.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  What does he mean?
   A.  What he means there, from how I read this, because he is
       referring to deductions from remuneration, which is a
       monthly payment taken out from her remuneration, the
       policy is that you would only be able to have one of
       those in place, and up to a period of 12 months is the
       normal procedure, we can do exceptions to that.  But
       that is how I read that.  It doesn't mean settle
       centrally, because any losses that she were to incur
       subsequently from this she would be able to still settle
   MR GREEN:  I think you were in court when she gave her
       evidence that she understood she had to pay everything.
   A.  I'm not disputing -- all I am saying is in terms of the
       context here, that is how I read that letter.  Because
       that is what Paul would be referring to, is the
       deductions from remuneration.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So what word do you say would make it
       clearer to accord with how you are reading it?
   A.  What I would expect -- it is not very clear in here, but
       what I would expect him to say is that deductions from
       remuneration, the agreement is that you can do that up
       to a period of twelve months and you can only have one
       in place at a time, is how I would read that, so he
       should have been more clear in his language.  If he were
       referring to settle centrally, I would expect him to use
       the words "settle centrally".  It is quite common
       terminology within Post Office, "settle centrally".
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No, my question rather was: are you
       saying that there is a word in there that is unclear or
       are you --
   A.  I am saying --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just let me finish.  Are you saying
       there is a word in there that, if he used a different
       word, it would accord with how you are reading it.  Or
       is your evidence that what he must have meant was rather
       different to his phraseology generally?
   A.  Yes to the latter.  What I would expect him to have said
       here is: you are not allowed to repay any further losses
       through remuneration during this time.
   MR GREEN:  I suggest, Mrs Van Den Bogerd, that that is not
       right.  You are well aware, aren't you, that the
       practice when giving people time to pay was during the
       repayment period at least, that any further losses would
       have to be made good immediately and could not be
       settled centrally.
   A.  Not in this account, this situation, no.
   Q.  Let's look.  {F3/8/63}.  This is part of the losses and
       gains policy.  Do you see at the top of the page:
           "Agents should make losses good, however they arise,
       as they occur."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "This requirement is highlighted by their contractual
       obligation ..."
           And then the second paragraph:
           "However, should the agent be unable to make good
       the amount immediately because such action would cause
       severe financial hardship, the RNM may allow the loss to
       be made good by instalments.  This is a discretionary
       action that must conform to the following
       commitments ..."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So there is a discretion to allow it to happen but, if
       it does, it must at least include these conditions, must
       it not?  It says it "must conform to the following
       commitments", yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Right.  Let's go through them carefully:
           "Losses are made good by deduction from
           Yes?  We have seen that was happening to
       Mrs Stockdale?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "The repayment period is up to a maximum of 12 months."
           We saw hers was eight?
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, I hesitate to interrupt my learned
       friend, but he started with this witness in relation to
       Mrs Stockdale in the latter period.  This is a 1998
       document dealing when the system was completely
       different.  So it is quite wrong for my learned friend
       to go through with this witness, in the Stockdale
       context, and ask her about these requirements.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  His question, Mr Cavender, related to
       the policy.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I assume if the policy changed he will
       then take her to subsequent versions of this, and if he
       doesn't then you will be entitled to do that.  But this
       witness' evidence at the moment is being challenged on
       the basis it is contrary to policy.
           Mr Green.  I don't think you need to take
       an enormous length of time over this.
   MR GREEN:  Just look very carefully, third bullet point:
           "During the repayment period, further losses must be
       made good immediately."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  So that is one of the points and that repayment period
       can be up to 12 months?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then at the bottom was the point you were referring
       to in answer to my Lord:
           "No more than two repayment cases for the same agent
       have previously been allowed in the past two years."
           Or possibly the related point, that you can't have
       more than one going at once except in exceptional
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And you accept, don't you, that that point is different
       to the point in the third bullet point there?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  And a simple point to hopefully save
       time: Mr Green is saying that Post Office policy is, or
       was, that if an agent was paying back over a period of
       time, during that repayment period further losses must
       be made good immediately.  Is that correct or is that
   A.  That is incorrect.  So if we talk about the letter you
       just showed me, Mrs Stockdale would have been able to
       settle centrally any losses that came into account.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  And is that because this policy changed
       or because Mr Green is reading the third bullet point
   A.  So this -- this is a very old policy, there are other --
       we have updated the policy since this.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You haven't?
   A.  We have.  This refers to the RNM.  In Mrs Stockdale's
       case there isn't an RNM so it's quite old.  But to
       challenge -- so if -- a postmaster is able to settle
       centrally the loss if they think it is not appropriate
       to them or they believe it is an error.  It doesn't mean
       they are going to go into a deduction from remuneration
       situation, which is what the letter is referring to.
       What it means is that is their way of clearing out the
       account and they can raise a dispute through that
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Yes.  But Mrs Van Den Bogerd, that is
       rather gliding off the point.  The point at the moment
       is about the policy if they are in a repayment period,
       that is what Mr Green is asking you, and in fact that is
       what I meant to, I hope, save time by just putting it as
       a simple point.
           Was it Post Office policy that if an agent was
       within a repayment period, further losses had to be made
       good immediately?
   A.  Yes.  They should only have one --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That was the policy.
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Right.  Mr Green.
   MR GREEN:  I am grateful.
           Just to clarify, that aspect of the policy hasn't
       changed, has it?
   A.  Not unless they are disputing.  So they could have
       a DFR, deduction from remuneration, ongoing, they could
       have a subsequent loss, and they could challenge that
       through the settle centrally process and, having
       disputed that, they could do that today.
   Q.  That could be done today?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Is that because under the branch support programme,
       after the date of Mrs Stockdale's case, that change has
       been made?
   A.  Not as part of the branch support programme.  I believe
       this was when we introduced the branch trading statement
       which would have been in 2005.
   Q.  2005?
   A.  Because that is when it forced to settle the
       transaction -- anything that was in the suspense account
       was forced to be taken out on the branch trading, so
       I believe it was then.
   Q.  Let's just look briefly -- I won't spend too much time
       on it.  Let's look briefly, please, at {F3/42/1}.
       Mrs Van Den Bogerd, it may be that we have not found any
       written record of the type I am going to come to in
       a minute, but for the moment {F3/42/1} is
       15 December 2005 and it says "Process for seeking relief
       on losses".
           Halfway down the page:
           "As noted above, the agent is responsible for all
       branch losses."
           That is still going, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "Occasionally there may be exceptional circumstances
       that allow for relief (either repaying the loss by
       instalments or writing off part or all of the loss)."
           Then some general practical guidance.  But there is
       nothing there to deviate expressly from what we have
       seen in the 1998 document, is there?
   A.  How many pages is this document?
   Q.  Two.  Would you like to see over the page?
   A.  Yes, please.  {F3/42/2}
   Q.  It is part of a series of similar documents dealing with
       different topics as far as we can tell.  We have done
       our best to try and work out --
   A.  So I agree, this hasn't changed the position, but it
       hasn't mentioned anything about settling centrally in
       this document either.
   Q.  To your knowledge, there is actually no document that
       specifically says anything flatly contrary to what we
       were looking at at the third bullet point in the losses
       and gains policy?
   A.  I am trying to recall ...
   Q.  You can't think of one?
   A.  There are instructions, I can't remember where they are,
       but there are instructions that would say that as part
       of a loss to postmasters or branch staff, if they wanted
       to dispute they need to settle it centrally.  And that
       goes into -- it would take it to their customer account,
       but they could also raise a dispute to question -- it's
       two things.  It's: I am unable to pay now and I want to
       seek hardship, I want to be able to pay it through my
       remuneration.  The other route is: I have settled it
       centrally because I don't agree with the transaction
       correction and I want to dispute it or I want it to be
       investigated.  Those are the two options.
   Q.  Yes.  But you are aware from this line of questioning
       that what we are concerned about is where someone has
       already agreed to pay by instalments, whether they were
       right or wrong to do it, they have agreed to pay by
       instalments, and another error notice or transaction
       correction, as it was later called, comes in, yes?  It's
       their obligation to pay that immediately.  Are you aware
       of a clear process change to that effect, that they
       don't have to pay that immediately anymore in those
       circumstances and won't be required to?
   A.  They don't, I know they don't have to, and I am just
       trying to recall where that is documented.  Because we
       have postmasters that have DFRs ongoing and are settled
       centrally so I know it has happened and I know that is
       how we operate, I am just struggling to locate where
       that policy is.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.  If there is such a document
       I am sure Mr Cavender will take you to it in
           Mr Green, do you want to go on to your next point.
   MR GREEN:  I am grateful.
           Can we now, please -- yesterday I referred you to
       Post Office's reply to the Second Sight briefing report.
       You asked to see the reference and I couldn't find it
       and I said I would show it to you.
   A.  Thank you.
   Q.  It's at {G/28/9}.  Do you want to see the first page?
   A.  If you could remind me.
   Q.  It's {G/28/1}.  I think this was a document you
       contributed to?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And if we look back on page {G/28/9}, please,
       paragraph 4.3:
           "To help avoid potential confusion, Post Office sets
       out the correct position in respect of the contract
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  4.4:
           "At paragraph 4.5 the report sets out selected
       sections of the contract.  Whilst these provisions do
       reflect the terms and conditions as stated within the
       contract, these are selective and not reflective of the
       contract as a whole.  In addition, the report does not
       appear to take account of other documentation that is
       incorporated into the contract such as manuals, booklets
       and operational instructions issued by Post Office from
       time to time."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So would the bundles, for example, that have been given
       to his Lordship today of various procedures, fall within
       the scope of that description?
   A.  I'm not sure exactly what has been given.  Is it the
       operation manuals?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I seem to have started a hare running.
       You might not have been in court.  There was a long list
       of documents that, when a subpostmaster took over on
       branch transfer day, was ticked as being in the branch.
       They were expressed as being different volumes, so
       I just asked for a copy.  It turns out I have been
       given, but haven't yet had a chance to go through, six
       lever-arch files of booklets and instructions.
   A.  If they are what I expect, it would be the operations
       manuals, security manuals, then yes, that would form
       part of the contract.
   MR GREEN:  Then over on page {G/28/10}, please, 4.7.  The
       date of this document is 2014, September 2014.  You say:
           "In any event, subpostmasters are agents and
       Post Office is their principal.  At law, agents owe
       duties to their principals including the duty to act in
       good faith, to render accurate accounts and to make good
       any losses they cause."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Rather than correctly reciting section 12 of the
       contract and the necessary condition of them being at
   A.  Yes, although it does reference section 12, but it
       doesn't put the wording in there, I accept that.
   Q.  It says that section 12 simply reflects these
       principles, doesn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Looking at it now, you would accept that is wrong in
       that respect?
   A.  I accept it would have been clearer if we had put the
       clause in.  But we were referring to what had already
       been quoted in the other report.
   Q.  Look at paragraph 4.10, please.  You make the point
       there that:
           "The contract that is entered into ... freely and at
       arm's length."
           It is up to them to choose whether they enter into
       or not.
           Then go on to say:
           "The report provides no evidence that subpostmasters
       do not understand the contract."
           In relation to the losses of the sort we are talking
       about, are you aware, I think we dealt with this with
       previous witnesses, are you aware of any documentation
       that Post Office produced which explained to postmasters
       and postmistresses before they contracted with
       Post Office that error notices and transaction
       corrections would effectively be regarded as debt by
       Post Office subject to the subpostmaster or
       subpostmistress being able to displace that later by
   A.  I'm not aware we have ever used the word "debt" in
       the early conversations or discussions with postmasters.
   Q.  It is not something they would expect, is it?
   A.  The clause and the liability for making good losses is
       something that is discussed all the way through our
       interaction with would be postmasters from the start.
       So they clearly understand that and that is reiterated
       at several points before they contract.
   Q.  In the respect that I have identified they don't
       understand the effect of its application in practice, do
   A.  From my discussions with postmasters and from how we
       have operated, that is made clear throughout that
   Q.  When did you last discuss such a thing with
       a subpostmaster prior to them contracting?
   A.  Do you mean the specific date when I have spoken to
       a postmaster?
   Q.  Roughly.  When did you sit down with a subpostmaster to
       explain --
   A.  It would be a couple of years.  But I have had these
       conversations over my period of time with Post Office.
   Q.  Is it fair to assume that you have discussed them --
       well, let's just look at 4.15 {G/28/11}:
           "It is open to subpostmasters to request a copy of
       the contract throughout negotiations when seeking
       appointment and from Post Office's Human Resource
       Service Centre if they have misplaced or lost a copy."
           And here:
           "It is also Post Office's standard operating
       procedure to ensure that the subpostmasters have a copy
       of the contract no later than the day that they commence
       their position."
           So that is on the day of branch transfer, isn't it?
   A.  That would be, yes.
   Q.  Does that remain the standard operating procedure today?
   A.  The contracts are different now.  So the contracts we
       were talking about here would have been the traditional
       postmaster contracts.
   Q.  Are there any traditional postmaster contracts left at
   A.  There are.  So the process would be that they would get
       the contract in advance now.  This is really here at the
       very latest what they should have had in advance, this
       would be the very latest position, and the terms --
       certain clauses throughout the contract are provided to
       them and discussed at interview so that they understand
       those particular clauses.
   Q.  Can we now turn, please, to transaction corrections.  We
       looked at that yesterday.  We discussed it briefly
       yesterday and I said to you that I would show you --
       deal with it today in more detail.
           Could we look please at yesterday's transcript,
       page 179, line 12.  {Day7/179:12}
           Do you see you say:
           "Answer: So if I come back to what I was saying.  So
       a transaction would come into a branch and at that point
       it would be to correct a transaction that had been
       transacted within that branch."
           I think you must be talking about a transaction
       correction at line 13, is that fair?
   A.  Yes, that is fair.
   Q.  "In that respect, that would be an error on the part --
       on either the subpostmaster's part or the part of their
       assistants within the branch."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Can we look, please, first at {G/29/1} which refers to
       the transaction corrections issued in the 2013 to
       2014 year.  We need to go up, please, so we can see the
       top.  Thank you very much.
           "Issued TCs 2013 to 2014" in cell 1B.  Do you see
       that at the top?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then "Not caused by branch", 19,044.  And "Caused by
       branch", 84,614.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So even on Post Office's own approach to attributing
       responsibility, about 20 per cent, just below
       20 per cent or so, were not caused by branch TCs, is
       that fair?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  If we go down and just look at the Camelot examples.  If
       we go, please, to line 21.  You will see that this is
       under the "Not caused by branch" list?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And there are 33 Camelot errors in the entire year not
       caused by the branch in relation to Camelot recorded
       here.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then if we go to line 27, there are 25,278 errors --
       transaction corrections that are said here to have been
       caused by the branch, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That suggests, doesn't it, that Post Office's allocation
       of responsibility as between the branch and other
       sources was effectively one in 1,000, roughly, times
       that the Post Office would not regard the branch as
       responsible for those errors?  That is a very small
       proportion.  Do you have any feel for why that was?
   A.  It depends what the error is, because a number of these
       wouldn't be causing losses.  So if you look at Camelot,
       some of the common transaction corrections would be
       where scratch cards were being failed to be activated in
       branch, which is a very common thing, so there are some
       common errors in there but it is just ...
   Q.  Let's look at "Cash rems to branch" on line 11, please.
       Cash rems to branch is cash remittances from the cash
       centre sent to branch, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What happens is the cash centre says how much cash they
       are sending, puts it in a pouch, enters it up, and when
       it arrives at the branch the subpostmaster scans that
       and that is automatically entered as received on
       Horizon, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So cash remittances, transaction corrections to the
       branch.  So on 1,565 occasions a TC needed to be issued
       in relation to cash remittances to the branch that
       weren't the branch's fault?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So that is something that the subpostmaster has to spot.
       If there is, for example, a shortage in the cash that
       has been sent, if the subpostmaster doesn't spot that
       then they may have a loss for which they are then held
       responsible unless the cash centre itself somehow spots
   A.  Potentially.  But the process is that the cash is
       received in by the branch, they scan it in initially,
       and then they check and if there are any problems then
       they would report it.  So they are required to check the
       cash on receipt.
   Q.  Okay.  Let's look at the working agreement document from
       March 2015 at {G/35/1}.  Are you aware of this document?
   A.  I have never seen this one.
   Q.  You have never seen this one.  Okay.  Can we turn,
       please, to {G/35/10}.  Let's look at "Stock Transaction
       Corrections", 3.1.8:
           "Branches must report a stock surplus or shortage to
       the ... Helpline and follow the standard process."
           Then we see some timeline, just to give a feel:
           "95 per cent of the transaction corrections will be
       issued within 3 months ..."
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Where are you reading from?
   MR GREEN:  3.1.8:
           "... of the date the surplus or shortage is
           What is the period for which the transaction data is
       available to subpostmasters on Horizon at this stage?
   A.  60 days.
   Q.  That is less than three months, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "If a branch does not follow this process for shortages
       then the transaction correction will not be issued.  The
       same applies to any expected transaction corrections for
       incorrect stock adjustments."
           Then if we look just in passing at 3.1.9, we have
       automated overpayments and personal banking
       overpayments.  90 per cent of those are issued within
       two years, we can see, and that is longer than 60 days,
       isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And 3.1.10, "Aged/large volume/value transaction
           "FSC ..."
           What does FSC stand for?
   A.  Finance Service Centre.
   Q.  "... will ensure that significant or widespread issues
       with regard to aged, high volume, high value will be
       communicated to the network and service delivery in
       advance of the transaction corrections being issued."
           The criteria for communication in advance of issuing
       TCs of that sort are, if they are aged:
           "If the transaction corrections are to be issued
       outside the timescales set out in this document and it
       affects more than 10 per cent of the network ..."
           Yes, do you see that?
   A.  Yes, I can.
   Q.  So prior communication of old transaction corrections
       are only dealt with -- informed on a network basis if
       both those conditions are satisfied, it seems.
           Over the page {G/35/11} we have the provisions for
       high volume and high value transaction corrections,
       including high value being more than £10,000.  That was
       something for which you'd had to have a policy, hadn't
   A.  For what, sorry?
   Q.  High value and old transaction corrections.  The
       specific policy had to be brought in in relation to
   A.  I wasn't -- as I say, I wasn't aware of this.
   Q.  You weren't aware of that?
   A.  No.
   Q.  We will have a look in a second.
           If we look at {F3/87/8}.  Sorry, to be fair to you,
       Mrs Van Den Bogerd, let me show you page {F3/87/1} of
       that.  So this is version 1.0, 10 February 2010, a
       review of the creation and management of transaction
       corrections to correct accounting errors in Horizon.
           If we go to {F3/87/8} you will see at 2.2.6, "High
       value transaction correction authorisation signature
       requirement".  Basically introduced a requirement for
       higher levels of manager to sign at higher levels of
       transaction corrections.
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  If you come up four lines from the bottom of that
       paragraph you will see in the left-hand margin "the
       paperwork", do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then the next sentence reads:
           "The reason for creating this extra check step was
       twofold; firstly to prevent large credit transaction
       corrections being issued, then a long period for the
       debit to be issued, which then might get disputed and
       blocked.  The second reason being to ensure that
       branches are not hit by a large value transaction
       correction which is subsequently found not to be proper
       to that branch."
           So it was felt necessary, wasn't it, to bring in
       a policy to avoid that happening?
   A.  From reading this, yes.
   Q.  And that reflects a recognition that that was a problem
       that needed addressing, doesn't it?
   A.  My reading of this is that we obviously would want to
       make sure that it was correct, which would apply to
       every transaction correction, but particularly because
       of the high value of it, then, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  What date was this document, Mr Green?
   MR GREEN:  This is 2010, my Lord.  10 February, 2010.
           If we look now, please at {G/35/1}, going back to
       the working agreement document, and look at {G/35/11}.
       This is the document we were in a moment ago.  You will
       see under 3.1.11 "Acceptance of Transaction
           "Branches will ensure that all transaction
       corrections are accepted within their branch trading
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And actually on the screen what the subpostmaster sees
       is a button that says "Accept now" before they then have
       a choice to press "Settling by cash" or "Settle
       centrally".  Do you know about that?
   A.  You say "Accept now", no.
   Q.  Is there an "Accept now" button on the screen --
   A.  Not that I can recall but I would need to see the
   Q.  Looking back at this page {G/35/11}:
           "It is recommended that they are looked
       at/investigated within one week of receipt.  Refer to
       section 3.6 for any disputes and if this affects branch
       trading.  FSC will not issue aged/high volume/high value
       transaction corrections on the Monday/Tuesday prior to
       branch trading, without prior branch agreement."
           So pausing there, a branch trading period ends on
       a Wednesday, doesn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And this is a policy now not to issue very old, very
       high volume or very high value transaction corrections
       on the Monday or Tuesday immediately before the branch
       trading period finishes --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- without prior branch agreement.
           "If a transaction correction does arrive on branch
       trading day, the branch has to action it before they can
       roll their branch trading period."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "The branch, however, can still dispute in line with
       section 3.6."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "If a branch receives compensating transaction
       corrections they must settle these both in the same way,
       either both make good or both settle centrally."
           A compensating transaction correction is
       a transaction correction which undoes a previous
       transaction correction, isn't it?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  When you have that happen, because that was the example
       I gave you yesterday, one of those transaction
       corrections has to be wrongly issued, doesn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Just because we have a reasonable amount to get through,
       if you just look at page 18, because there was
       a reference to the dispute process in passing in what we
       were looking at before.  That is {G/35/18}:
           "Post Office acknowledges the potential financial
       impact and stress that may be caused by unexpected
       transaction corrections or branch discrepancies.
       An effective dispute process is essential to ensure that
       settled centrally debts are not recovered from agents
       without reasonable time to investigate, challenge and
       resolve individual amounts."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That really ought to be completely uncontroversial,
       shouldn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And that is what everybody would expect?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes?  Post Office would expect it and subpostmasters
       would expect it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at "Transaction Corrections", 3.6.1:
           "Branches should contact the transaction correction
       issuer within 7 days of acceptance ..."
           So acceptance of the TC is a prerequisite to
       dispute, isn't it?  Actually subject to one rider which
       we will come to, let me rephrase that.
           Do you see it refers to:
           "... within 7 days of acceptance ..."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "... at branch to challenge the evidence provided to
       support the transaction correction."
           That depends on how informative the evidence is,
       doesn't it, in the TC?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It then says:
           "NB where time permits prior to branch trading,
       branches should challenge prior to acceptance."
           Second bullet point:
           "If the challenge is accepted in full or part at
       this stage, a compensating transaction correction will
       be issued to close the dispute."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then the third bullet point:
           "On receipt of supporting information the issuing
       team will suspend the debt recovery process, if the
       transaction correction was settled centrally, until
       a response has been made."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Sorry, I just missed that bit.
   Q.  I'm sorry.
   A.  Where were --
   Q.  It's the third bullet point under 3.6.1:
           "On receipt of supporting information the issuing
       team will suspend the debt recovery process, if the
       transaction correction was settled centrally, until
       a response was been made."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "Written submissions to the specific team will receive
       a written response, within 10 working days, in line with
       business standards.  It is recommended that written
       submissions be sent using a priority service."
           Pausing there.  We saw from Mrs Stockdale's case
       that she had received a letter asking her to pay.  She
       was responding to that, saying I assume the
       investigation has been done, and she was then asked,
       well, is there a particular product so I can chase the
           So you would accept this is difficult to do if you
       are unable to identify either the product that has
       caused it or indeed how it has exactly come about?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That is fair?
   A.  Yes, that is fair.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Can I just ask a question about
       the beginning of that dispute process.  The passage at
       the top four lines where it says:
           "An effective dispute process is essential to ensure
       that settled centrally debts are not recovered from
       agents without reasonable time to investigate, challenge
       and resolve ..."
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is that reasonable time for the
       Post Office to investigate or reasonable time for the
       agents to investigate?  Or both?
   A.  It is both.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Both.  Right, thank you very much.
           Mr Green.
   MR GREEN:  I am grateful.
           Can we look, please, at {F4/140/1}.  This is
       an email chain relating to an SPM called Fiona Whybro,
       we see her name on the second page of this at the bottom
       {F4/140/2}.  She explains here she has essentially been
       sent a lottery transaction correction to debit her
       account which she disputed before branch trading and had
       been promised a compensating TC.  Can you see what she
       says there?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "... I am in receipt of a letter from you today
       regarding an amount of £655 which I settled centrally at
       my last trading balance.  This amount is for a lottery
       transaction correction.  When I checked the figures from
       the lottery department at Chesterfield I contacted them
       to say the figures they gave me exactly matched the
       figures I had in Horizon.  They immediately agreed and
       said they have another transaction correction to send us
       which will in effect reverse the original one.
           "I asked them to send it through as the trading
       period end was due.  After ten days they still had not
       sent (and indeed I have still not received it!!!) which
       is why I pressed the button to settle centrally.  I will
       therefore not be repaying any amount to you and suggest
       you contact the lottery team at Chesterfield to obtain
       the funds."
           Pausing there.  If someone is told: don't worry, we
       will send you a compensating TC.  Then they accept and
       settle centrally on that footing, don't they?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And if we look at -- go back to the first page
       {F4/140/1}, an internal Post Office email:
           "Spoke to her today."
           At the top.
           "She's getting the comp TC tomorrow, advised to
       settle that centrally too.
           "PS it wasn't me ... we did talk to each other 6
       weeks ago about something else but she says it wasn't me
       who promised her this TC."
           You can understand that it is quite distressing for
       subpostmasters and subpostmistresses not to receive
       a compensating TC when they are liable for the debt for
       the first one, can't you?
   A.  Yes, and that shouldn't have happened.
   Q.  And there is clearly room for human error in
       the production of TCs?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That is one of a number of reasons why TCs or
       discrepancies may occur in accounts, in branch accounts,
       isn't it?
   A.  Yes, it is.
   Q.  And those include client data integrity issues?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If there is a Horizon error that affects branch accounts
       that would be a source?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And reconciliation errors insofar as they are different
       from any error that we have already covered in relation
       to issuing a TC?  Maybe that is the same thing.
   A.  It's the same thing.
   Q.  It's the same thing.  Okay.
           Can we go, please, now to {G/2/1}.  The short point
       here is that the lottery transaction corrections can be
       quite large, can't they?
   A.  As in value?
   Q.  In value.
   A.  They can be, depending on how much lottery transactions
       that branch does, yes.
   Q.  So at the top of {G/2/1} we have a lottery -- a TC
       relating to the lottery that has been issued and settled
       centrally for a credit of £22,000:
           "Unfortunately, this credit was eaten into by
       a lottery debit TC of £34,028."
           Those sums in themselves, compared to the total
       remuneration actually being kept by a subpostmaster, are
       very significant, aren't they?
   A.  They would be, yes.
   Q.  And even the net figure between them is a significant
       figure in that context?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at {F3/72/1} please.  This is a document
       dated, as far as we can tell, 14 November 2008 and it is
       "TC/debt recovery review".  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  There are a couple of headings I would like to draw your
       attention to.  You can see the headings are the single
       word -- they are not in bold, but you've got "NFSP", and
       this looks like a feedback issue:
           "They are forced to accept debts they do not agree
       with at branch trading."
   A.  Sorry, can I ask who has written this?
   Q.  We can't actually tell, and like a number of other
       Post Office documents it is not actually dated.  But the
       date we have been given for it is 14/11/2008.
   A.  Do we know where it went?
   Q.  Sorry?
   A.  Because we don't know who has written it.  Do we know
       where it went?
   Q.  We are trying to figure all this out because it has not
       been laid out in any witness statement from the
       Post Office, so I can't ...
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It is a Post Office document.  So go
       ahead, Mr Green.
   MR GREEN:  Were you made aware at all of these sorts of
       concerns in 2008?
   A.  Not directly, 2008.
   Q.  What about indirectly?
   A.  Sorry, can I just ... just give me a chance to read
       this.  Thank you.  (Pause)
           No, not that I can recall.
   Q.  Do you see under "NFSP" the third point being made:
           "Evidence provided is not meaningful in some cases
       eg lottery."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And:
           "Transaction correction instructions are not clear."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And under "Network":
           "Processes are not understood."
           "What does settle centrally mean?"
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then if we go to the bottom, "NBSC":
           "The vast majority of calls to NBSC are either
       appropriate generic queries around processing TCs or
       complaining about being able to contact the lottery
       team.  There is nothing in the knowledge base to deal
       with a branch who needs more time to assess a TC."
           So one of the gaps in the knowledge base and one of
       the gaps in the training was what to do where you are
       effectively having to accept debt liability by settling
       centrally for something you don't agree with.  And that
       wasn't a specific item covered in the training or in
       the knowledge base, was it, that particular point?
   A.  I don't know.
   Q.  I am grateful.
           Let's look, please, now at {F3/87/1}.  This is
       "Review of the creation and management of transaction
       corrections in POFLS to correct accounting errors in
       Horizon".  Can you just tell his Lordship what POFLS
       stands for.
   A.  I have never actually seen that written like that, but
       I would assume it is Post Office Limited Financial ...
   Q.  Financial Services, something like that?
   A.  Services, yes.
   Q.  They are the people we have been told do
       the reconciliations and ...
   A.  Yes.  My expectation is that is within the Finance
       Service Centre.
   Q.  Can we please look now at page {F3/87/8}.  You will see
       this is the page I took you to before in relation to
       high value transaction corrections --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- halfway down.
           Look at the bottom, please.  Last paragraph:
           "Camelot uses a process of rolling up or
       amalgamating all errors incurred by a branch over
       a period and issues one transaction correction to the
       branch.  They send a spreadsheet with details of the
       errors to the branches to help them reconcile with their
       paperwork.  This is not a popular method and there is
       a feeling that branches find it difficult to understand
       that evidence."
           If we go over the page {F3/87/9}:
           "The reason for using this method is because there
       are too many errors to handle on an individual basis
       without doubling the resource requirement or getting
       into a backlog situation."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So it was a cost reason, effectively.  If doubling the
       resource requirement to deal with them had been done,
       they could have done it in a more helpful way.
   A.  And that is referring to, I think, Camelot?
   Q.  That appears to be why Camelot are doing it that way,
   A.  Because they have a resource issue.
   Q.  It appears to say that, doesn't it?
   A.  That is how --
   Q.  It doesn't look as if it's Post Office at this stage --
   A.  Yes.  That is how I am reading that, yes.
   Q.  If we come halfway down that page, we can see that:
           "Fujitsu send a file containing all the transaction
       corrections sent to Horizon, the data shows all the
       information the branch received, this includes the text.
           "Analysis of the Fujitsu file found 2,000
       transaction corrections were found to have no contact
       number within the text out of 40,000 issued ..."
           So 2,000 in 40,000, and between August and October
       which is about 5 per cent:
           "In some cases this is because branches are
       instructed to address any dispute in writing.  During
       the analysis of the long text of the transaction
       corrections there were many other issues which made the
       task very difficult, eg the text 1 field was very
       inconsistent in teams approach, some use a reference
       number and some use the name of the product."
           Then 3.1.1 is a table showing examples of poorly
       constructed transaction corrections.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we go over the page to {F3/87/10}, you can see
       an example of a Camelot one is included there.
           So the issue with the lottery is both the text of
       the transaction correction which is sent to the SPM and
       the way that information is provided to subpostmasters
       in an aggregated form, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If SPMs can't actually get to the bottom of the problem,
       they are effectively in a position where they have to
       accept TCs for the lottery which may not have been
   A.  I think what this document -- and I have only just seen
       this document -- is setting out is recognising there is
       a problem and looking at ways to make that better so we
       can make sure that proper information that can be
       understood is going to branches to support the
       transaction correction.
   Q.  Let's give a practical example.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just before you do that.
           What is a blocked transaction correction?
   A.  It is one that is held and not collected.  So if it is
       something that -- it might be we've not issued it to
       branch or, if we have issued it, it is in dispute and we
       are not requesting payment of it, so it's held on the
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So it has been issued to the branch, the
       branch has disputed it, and that is then called
       a blocked transaction correction?
   A.  Yes.  Or it could be where a transaction correction has
       been produced but not actually issued to branch, it is
       blocked at the time because something is not right with
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.  Thank you very much.
   MR GREEN:  If we look, please, at {C1/4/17}.  This is in
       Mr Abdulla's witness statement who is one of the lead
       claimants chosen by the defendant.  At paragraph 92 he
       has been looking at some of the transaction data that
       has been received in this litigation, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Which he hadn't seen before.  He says:
           "A particular issue which causes me concern when
       reading this list is the number of apparently lost
           And he discusses that.  Then if we go over the page
       {C1/4/18} to paragraph 93, he says:
           "A further point which concerns me is entries as
       credits or debits.  In the column 'value of TC', where
       an amount is a debit to be deducted from my account, it
       appears as a positive value.  Where it is a credit to my
       account, it appears with a negative sign in front of the
           He says there:
           "There is an entry dated 14 May which reads
       'National Lottery cheque ...' ..."
           Et cetera.
           Can we look, please, at {E4/92/1} which is an Excel
       download.  Let's just start by getting our eye in.  If
       we look at line 7.  Just to pause there, can you see
       that the date is at the bottom of the field, of the
       cell?  You see the highlighted green cell, 7?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the date is aligned to the bottom of the cell?
   A.  5 June 2007.
   Q.  That is right.  And you go across to cell K7 and you can
       see that the text that relates to that date is largely
       above the date that we have been looking at.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So this is a child trust fund payment accepted and
       remmed out as a cheque:
           "Child trust funds should not be accepted
       over-the-counter, therefore £250 debit transaction
       correction.  Evidence to follow."
           And then we look and in column H7 we see that 250 is
       a positive number, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So the way these records work is that sums to be added
       to the debt of a branch are positive, and sums to be
       credited to a branch are negative?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We can see it again at line 13.  We can see in the K:
           "Please make good."
           And it is £150, so that is something that is going
       to have to be paid by the subpostmaster.
           If we go forward to row, 56, please.  There we have
       a figure of 1,033, so that is going to be debited to the
       subpostmaster, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then go two to the right:
           "National Lottery cheque issued on 18 April for
       £400 and cheque issued on 22nd for, in pounds, 633 have
       not been entered into Horizon.  A credit TC will be
       automatically issued to you on 20.05.08 on the sales and
       prize line which will include these cheques."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  Looking down, you can see that that is the only
       reference there.  There is no further transaction on
       20 May 2008.
   A.  Is this all this account, this post office?
   Q.  This is just one subpostmaster.
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  So on the face of it there, Mr Abdulla's concern is it
       looks as if he is actually being billed £1,033 when he
       should have been credited £1,033?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So he believes that he accepted something that in fact
       should have been a credit, so he is £2,066 out.  If he
       is right about that, if he has been billed instead of
       credited, that would be correct wouldn't it, because he
       has paid £1,033 --
   A.  If that is how it has been, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Because it doesn't have a minus sign.
   MR GREEN:  Precisely.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is that a correct reading of it?
   A.  Yes.  Because from the explanation he has paid out
       a cheque but he has not accounted for it on Horizon, so
       I think that is a correct reading.  But without further
       details --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  But on the face of it --
   A.  Yes, on the face of it --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  -- it says in the text he should be
       getting a credit TC --
   A.  Credit, and he is not.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  -- and he has actually been given
       a debit TC.
   A.  Yes, I believe that is correct.
   MR GREEN:  Let's look at one more example, if we may.  Line
       57, please.  You will see it is for 1,092.  Just to get
       your eye in --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- 1,092 appears in line 57, line 61, line 63 and
       line 65.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So the short point is that three TCs are issued billing
       him £1,092?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then only one transaction correction at the end is
       made for £1,092, do you see that?
   A.  I do see that, yes.
   Q.  So let's just take that in stages, if we may.  Go back
       to 57H.  You can see 1,092 there.  That is 29 May 2008.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And in 57K you will see the wording:
           "This TC is for lottery sales.  This takes into
       account all Camelot sales figures from 17 April up to
       your branch trading of 21 May which do not agree with
       your Horizon system.  This leaves a total balance of
       1,092 GBP debit.  Details of Camelot end of day figures
       will be dispatched to you within 7 days to compare with
       your Horizon slips, lottery team ..."
           And so forth.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then if we go down to line 61, this is TC for lottery
       sales, and the wording is identical apart from the
       dates.  It is just the next trading period.  So the
       suggestion here is that in two trading periods in a row
       he has made an error which just happens to be 1,092
       twice in a row.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You are aware, aren't you, of the difference between
       lottery sales TCs and lottery prizes TCs?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Because if we look up at line 58, there is a lottery
       prizes TC which is a different matter.  You see the top
       line of that is:
           "This TC is for lottery prizes."
           But what we are looking at is TCs for lottery sales,
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So let's look quickly, if we may, at 61.  That is
       the second one.  And then let's go down, please, to 63.
       Same wording but just different branch dates.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then 65:
           "Due to an administration error, you received
       a duplicate on Saturday 12 July.  This TC is
       a compensating TC and you should accept both to balance
       your account.  Please accept our sincere apologies for
       this error."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  On the face of it, it looks as if more than one error
       has been made there, doesn't it?
   A.  Without understanding what is behind this, on the face
       of it, yes.
   Q.  On the face of it --
   A.  What I am not understanding is whether they were
       actually issued to the branch or not.
   Q.  On the basis that they were issued to the branch, as
       appears to have been the case, and indeed the third one
       was corrected, it looks on the face of it as if two were
       issued in error, the second and third at least, yes?
   A.  I'm not sure it does, actually, because when it says --
       the other two you referred me to on row 61 says it will
       be dispatched within 7 days and the other one says the
       same, so I am not sure they were actually dispatched,
       so ... I have just seen this cold, so I don't know what
       is behind it so I can't really comment further than
       that.  I would need to understand what was actually
   Q.  Let's put to this way: if you are Mr Abdulla and you
       have been billed £1,092 three times, and you have only
       had one credit, when you get to actually see this
       information you can understand why he expresses concern
       about it in his witness statement, can't you?
   A.  Absolutely, yes, if he was billed three times.  What
       I am saying is I don't know if he had been billed three
       times.  From this it is not clear to me that he had.
   Q.  Why can't you produce spreadsheets like this for
       subpostmasters in Excel for them to go through?
   A.  What we send is the actual transaction correction with
       the evidence that supports it.  This is the internal
       account of the log, of what we keep.
   Q.  Yes, but why can't you send an Excel spreadsheet so
       people get a chance to look at the piece as a whole and
       put it in context?  So they have a better chance of
       finding out if something is going wrong, haven't they?
   A.  We have not considered that before.  We could look at
       something like that.  It looks like -- you are referring
       to something like a monthly statement or even more than
       that ...
   Q.  Let's look, please, now at {F3/240/1}.  This is
       an agenda operations board, 17 October 2017.
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  "Purpose: To review and improve operational performance,
       enabling stakeholders to hold each other to account and
       drive an SLA culture."
   A.  Service level agreement.
   Q.  Service level agreement culture.  Then that page is
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Did you say service level or service
   A.  Service level.
   MR GREEN:  Is that service level agreement culture within
       Post Office?
   A.  Yes, so it's within --
   Q.  So different departments have to come up to par in
       providing services to each other?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You were a party to this, I think?
   A.  I am not sure if I was actually at that particular one
       but, yes, I had been attending ops boards.
   Q.  A lot of it is redacted.  If we just go forward a few
       pages at a time.  There are lots anyway.
           If we get to {F3/240/64}, please.  That is dealing
       with bad debt.  That is 3.0, do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we go over to {F3/240/65} it is 5.0 and dealing with
       transaction corrections, do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at the top right-hand side we see "Camelot":
           "Data integrity from client has led to hold on TC
       issued in P6."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So that is an example of where data integrity concerns
       have to be investigated, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  To be fair to you, Mrs Van Den Bogerd, Post Office has
       got a large number of clients sending it data?
   A.  Yes, we have.
   Q.  Over 100, I think?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  137, something of that order?
   A.  130-ish, yes.
   Q.  130-ish.  So you have all these data streams coming in
       which then have to be reconciled and processed?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at "Cash rems" at the bottom right-hand side:
           "Continues to run at inflated levels.  Analysis on
       branch type and age of agent has not found any
       correlation.  Looking at counting equipment next with
       early indication that the new polymer notes do not work
       in the current equipment ..."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That was an issue, wasn't it?
   A.  What, that they didn't accept the polymer notes?
   Q.  That the polymer notes weren't working terribly well on
       the counting machines.
   A.  Yes, although it is not regarded to be a reason for the
       current levels, as it says here.  Yes, we were aware
       polymer notes were different and needed different
   Q.  Just to be clear, if we go over the page to {F3/240/67}
       we see:
           "The new polymer notes are not working on the note
       counting machine (TBC) and pose added risk now that the
       £10 notes are live."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Where are the counting machines located?  Are they
       located in branch or at the cash centre?
   A.  I'm not sure which ones they are referring to here, but
       they are in cash centre and some branches would have
       counting machines.
   Q.  If the counting machine is not working properly but it
       is in a branch, whose fault is that?  Is that the
       postmaster or Post Office's fault?
   A.  It depends whether we provided them to them or whether
       they are their own counting machines.
   Q.  If you provided them it would be your fault.  Your
       responsibility, if I can put it that way?
   A.  Yes, these aren't not working properly, it is just that
       the design of the note is different, so at that point
       they would need to physically count.
   Q.  Just one last point.  If we look please on {F3/240/65}
       and you see the "Camelot" line, if we can zoom in a bit
       on the table, please.  The "Camelot" line, the second
       one down, these are transaction corrections volumes in
       different periods, and they seem to be months, is that
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And in P10 2016, which appears to be October, there are
       12,132 TCs, Camelot ones?
   A.  Yes, that would be January.
   Q.  Sorry?
   A.  That would be January period.
   Q.  January?
   A.  Yes, we run -- period 1 is April.
   Q.  I see.  That is helpful, thank you.  Then the previous
       two months had only had 2,000-odd.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  12,000 in that month.
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  And if we go to period 5 in 2017, 374?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What is the reason for the wild variations in TCs?
   A.  I wouldn't recall without seeing the explanation on
       there.  Does it not actually say on the narrative that
       came with this slide, with the deck?  Sorry, can
       we scroll to the right?  Does it not say on the right?
   Q.  It is not --
   A.  Okay.  So what would normally happen is that in a month
       where there had been a fluctuation at that particular
       ops board for that month then we would be reviewing what
       had caused that.  There would be obviously a particular
       reason behind that, that would have been reflected in
       the ops board pack.  That would have been in period 10,
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Can we go back to the right of that
       slide, please.
   MR GREEN:  Can you see ... sorry, my Lord.  I was going to
       ask the same question, I think.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am not asking a question.  The witness
       asked to look at the narrative, and we went to the
       narrative and then shot off again.
   A.  So on here it would be referring to period 6 of 2017, it
       would be referring to that.  What I am saying is what we
       look at is the trend going back a year to see what the
       fluctuations have been month on month to try and
       understand what the root cause of the transaction
       correction is with a view to being able to resolve and
   MR GREEN:  If I just ask you one last question on this
       point.  You did refer to the narrative on the right.  Do
       you see the second paragraph, "Ops simplification"?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "Ops simplification for the fix on lottery is coming
       back at 0.2 million and is unjustified.  The solution is
       not to prioritise this on HNGT ..."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "... to redesign the product."
           What is HNGT?
   A.  It's the Horizon system.
   Q.  What does HNGT stand for?
   A.  Horizon ... sorry, I can't recall.
   Q.  You can't remember.
           My Lord, is that a convenient moment?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just on that.  Do you know what the fix
       on lottery was?
   A.  I can't recall exactly what that fix was.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much.
           We will have a ten-minute break.
       Mrs Van Den Bogerd, you are in the middle of giving
       evidence.  You know I said it to you yesterday, I will
       say it again, just don't talk to anyone about the case
       and come back in ten minutes.
           Thank you all very much.
   (11.58 am)
                         (A short break)
   (12.08 pm)
   MR GREEN:  Mrs Van Den Bogerd, could you be shown now,
       please, the transcript from today at page {Day8/52:2}.
       I was showing you the spreadsheet, do you remember the
       Excel spreadsheet?  You said you weren't sure about it
       and so forth.  Then you say:
           "I have just seen this cold so I don't know what is
       behind this.  I can't really comment to you further than
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The reason I thought it was fair to ask you about that,
       both the credits and debits issue and the three
       consecutive TCs, was because today is Tuesday and on
       Friday you served a witness statement in the Horizon
       trial where you specifically addressed these issues at
       paragraphs 141 and following.  Do you remember on Friday
       signing a witness statement which specifically addressed
       these issues?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So there are two possibilities.  Either you didn't know
       what was in the witness statement, or it is not right
       that you are coming to these matters cold.
   A.  No, I did know what was in the witness statement.  But
       what -- you asked me to look at the screen and tell you
       then, so that is why I was reading, because I would need
       to just follow through to see whether they were
       dispatched, is what I said.
   Q.  If we have a spare copy of the witness statement just to
       show you very quickly.
           We may need to wait, my Lord, just to get a spare
       copy, to be fair to the witness, so she can see.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You are saying you would like to see
       your Horizon witness statement, are you?
   A.  If Mr Green wants me to comment further, then yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The point he is putting to you is the
       way you expressed you were coming to it cold.  I think
       that is his point.
   A.  Just having it flashed up on the screen in front of me
       is what I meant by coming to it cold.  I would need to
       look at it properly in a bit more detail.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Perhaps we can get a copy of the witness
       statement before 2 o'clock.
   MR GREEN:  Let's move on for the meanwhile.  Let's go now,
       please, to {F3/105/1}.  We have looked at this document
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  You may not have done, sorry.  This is guidance, appears
       to be guidance, as to how to issue transaction
       corrections for cash in pouches, do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Have you ever seen this document before?
   A.  Not that I can recall.
   Q.  Do you want to look at page 2?
   A.  Yes, please.  {F3/105/2}
   Q.  Are you able to explain what check 551200 means on the
       first page?  Or check 553002?
   A.  No.
   Q.  Have a look at "Example of narrative" halfway down:
           "Transaction correction ..."
           It says at the bottom:
           "Please accept now and select the make good option.
       Please do not settle centrally."
           Do you know why that would be done? (Pause)
   A.  Only if the £0 is actually there and it would be
       correcting something else other than the value.  Because
       it says it will not affect your office balance.  So
       whether it's correcting a volume transaction rather than
       a value transaction?
   Q.  So you think it would only be right if it was saying £0,
       is that -- or only be expected if it was saying £0.
   A.  From what I am reading on there.  But as I say, I have
       not seen this before.
   Q.  The short point is we have already seen effectively that
       TCs required the entry of data manually.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And we have seen that data entered manually or in
       semi-automated processes can go wrong, can't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look just briefly at {E5/126/1}, we can see that
       Ms Dar was addressed as "Dear Ms Flat 2" in her letter.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at {E4/2/1}, that is the letter that was put
       to Mr Abdulla as having been misdated by Post Office.
   A.  Right, okay.
   Q.  So manual error is one of the risks I think we have
       already looked at in generating TCs and any manual
       process, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Let's look, please, now at {G/53/1}.  This is a letter
       from Womble Bond Dickinson relating to volumes of TCs,
       and was prepared in response to an order by the court to
       set out aggregate volume and value of TCs annually since
       1999.  The short point I would like to direct your
       attention to is in the paragraph "Nevertheless", do you
       see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "... attempted to reconstitute the data ... a margin of
       error, but ... margin of error [seems to be around]
       2 per cent ..."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "Our client has only been able to reconstitute data back
       to 2005 and it may be that the margin of error is
       greater in relation to older data ..."
           Then the bottom three lines there in the middle:
           "Nevertheless, our client believes that
       the information produced is broadly reflective of the
       scale and volume of TCs processed each year, which was
       the purpose behind paragraph 11 of the third CMC order."
           Pausing there.  Subpostmasters don't become wildly
       more negligent or careless one month to another.  There
       may be variations but they don't suddenly all become
       wildly negligent overnight, and then wildly diligent the
       next morning or the following month, do they?
   A.  I wouldn't imagine so.
   Q.  No.  I wasn't expecting any other answer.
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  If we can now look at {G/54/1}, please.  This is the
       table that was enclosed with the letter.  If we look at
       2005 and 2006 first, can you see that there are 12,000
       TCs in 2005 with a value of £8 million and there are
       108,000 in 2006?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you know why that number got so much bigger?
   A.  I don't know.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Sorry, where is your 108,000?
   MR GREEN:  In the "Total Volume" column --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I see, yes.
   MR GREEN:  12,000 in the top cell then 108 immediately
           If we look to the right, "Total Value", and we look
       at the 2009 row, which if you trace it across goes 4299,
       £7.9 million, 98,000 TCs, £19 million value, total
       volume 141375, and then total value £12 million.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we go down below that, it's then 11 million.  So
       those three years have been reasonably stable.  And then
       2011, £4.5 million, it has halved.  2012, minus
       £975,000.  Do these figures represent total value of
       TCs -- is that TCs imposed on postmasters, so that the
       figures from your internal spreadsheet have positive
       figures being a debit for the subpostmaster and negative
       being a credit?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think that is explained in the letter.
   MR GREEN:  I think it might be.  It might be my fault,
       my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Doesn't it say what a debit and
       a credit --
   MR GREEN:  The figures -- a credit is a credit to a branch
       and a debit is an invoice to a branch.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Does that help you, Mrs Van Den Bogerd?
   A.  Okay.
   MR GREEN:  We can ... does it help you?  Sorry, I didn't
       mean to interrupt.
   A.  Well, inasmuch as it is a credit, money to a branch, and
       then debit is actually asking them to pay, invoice to
       a branch, then yes.
   Q.  It may be unfair to you to ask you about the preparation
       of a document you have not seen --
   A.  Yes, I have not seen this.
   Q.  -- so we can perhaps get confirmation in due course.
       But the point remains nonetheless -- let's have a look
       back at {G/54/1}.  We get minus 975 and then we get
       1.45, minus, and then plus 7.5 million.  And then 2015,
       minus 42 million.  So is that credit to branches, do you
       think, or debit to branches?  You don't know, but --
   A.  I don't know.
   Q.  -- whichever it is, can you remember what happened in
       2015 that caused a total value of £42 million of --
   A.  Sorry, I don't recall.
   Q.  Because this was after -- 2015 was after the ping fix?
   A.  I think the ping was 2012.
   Q.  Can you explain to his Lordship what the ping fixed?
   A.  The ping fix was -- we were having a lot of transaction
       corrections from the lottery.  So the process was that
       branch had to declare their figures into the Horizon
       system, so lottery is not connected to Horizon system
       and therefore they had to manually enter figures, and
       they were making quite a lot of mistakes doing that.  So
       the ping was where we took the information from Camelot,
       because they would already have processed the
       information on the lottery machine, and sent the
       transaction acknowledgement to the branch to say: this
       is what your transaction sales should be, or your
       prizes, and therefore they just accepted that.  So it
       was a semi-automatic way of getting the information into
       the Horizon system and that made a massive difference to
       the transaction corrections.  And I believe it was 2012
       although I am not 100 per cent certain of the date.  But
       for 2015, I am sorry, I don't recall anything.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That would explain, wouldn't it, what
       you have just said, the much lower figure in 2012 and
       2013, for example.
   A.  Yes.  Yes.  I can't recall ...
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No one needs to read anything into this
       comment at all, it is just an observation.  Camelot does
       seem to come up quite a lot in the different documents
       dealing with difficulties, doesn't it?
   A.  Yes, it does.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Was that your experience before the ping
       fix, for example?
   A.  Yes, when I started looking through the branch support
       programme at the level of transaction corrections,
       Camelot was very high and there was an issue, and I
       looked at what we could do to try and reduce that and
       the ping was one of them but there were other things we
       were looking at as well.  Partly it was because it is
       not part of Horizon system, it is an add-on.  And
       whenever there is a manual input of information there is
       a risk that people forget to do it or they make
       an error.
   MR GREEN:  Let's move on, if we may, to {G/44/1}.  This is
       "Agent Losses Management" paper.  The date we have got
       for it is 6 November 2016.
           Just out of interest, is there a reason why so many
       Post Office documents are undated?
   A.  Because this isn't the final version.  So that is why it
       says "Meeting date: non-applicable", because it wasn't
       actually submitted to the audit and risk committee.  It
       was a working document that led into a different paper.
   Q.  What paper did it lead into?
   A.  If I recall, I think it was "Management of Losses",
       I think it was titled, and it was I believe submitted to
       the audit and risk committee and it was a much smaller
       paper than this.  I think it was two pages, that one
   Q.  Let's just look at this one.  This one is authored by
   A.  Co-authored yes.
   Q.  With Tom Moran?
   A.  That is right.
   Q.  Look at the "Conclusion" for a moment:
           "1. Losses are made up of: agent losses, fraud, and
       criminal attacks on our branch and supply chain
           "2. The main drivers are: agent losses (former
       and current agents) ..."
           What you mean by that is what Post Office regards as
       debt not being recovered, is that right?
   A.  From the former, yes.
   Q.  From the former.
   A.  And it's under the current -- it is basically what we
       would hold on -- so the losses that would be generated
       but actually what we would also hold on account as well.
   Q.  After the semi-colon in point 2:
           "... some over-complex or flawed products and branch
       processes which can contribute to postmaster errors."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at {G/44/2}, paragraph 4, "Former agent
       losses".  Under the bullet point you say:
           "Recovery of debt [in relation to former agents] is
       typically slower and more costly than from current
       postmasters as once a postmaster's contract is
       terminated they usually have no source of income.  The
       number of risk audits we do per month and the speed at
       which an audit is done once a loss is identified are key
       considerations.  Identifying any loss as early as
       possible means preventing the problem getting worse.
       Losses where the value is typically less than £10,000
       mean that postmaster can usually raise the funds
       immediately to make good the loss and notwithstanding
       that each case is different there is a higher chance of
       the postmaster's contract not being terminated."
           So at least by this date the approach is now moving
       a little bit more towards not terminating provided the
       subpostmaster can make good the loss, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then this is your document in 2016.  Look at page
       {G/44/3} at paragraph 9, "Product and process design":
           "Contractually postmasters are liable for any losses
       caused by them or their staff."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We have covered that already, haven't we?
   A.  We have.
   Q.  "Some products and customer journeys are overly
       complicated or currently designed in such a way as to
       make fraud possible as acutely demonstrated by the BCV
           We won't deal with that.  But look at the next
           "Equally, some in-branch processes are more
       complicated than they could be.  This, coupled with
       substandard Horizon help, makes it more likely
       postmasters and their staff could make mistakes leading
       to losses."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So you recognised at that stage that the Horizon help
       was substandard?
   A.  Not substandard in the content but the way the user
       searches to get to the information.  So my point in
       making that comment is that where we are with
       technology, and we are all used to using Google search
       engines, then my view is that it would be beneficial if
       we could get to such a system that would enable that in
       branch information to be more readily available.  So all
       the information is there, it is correct, it is just how
       you access it that concerns me.
   Q.  Let's look at -- we will come back to this in a minute
       in a little more detail.
           If we look at document {G/43/1}, please.  The date
       we have for this one is very close to the other one,
       it's 24 October 2016.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Again, this is co-authored by you with someone called
       Marc Reardon this time?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And there you say:
           "Horizon Help (the in-branch operational support
       tool) has since its introduction over a decade ago
       fallen short of delivering the in-branch self-help
       functionality that was promised as part of Horizon
       roll-out and that postmasters and their assistants
       desperately need."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That is an honest and candid internal recognition of the
       situation, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "This has resulted in a sub-optimum level of service to
       customers when branches are unclear on product detail
       and need to seek help from the branch Helpline ... NBSC
       currently handles 30,000 calls per month and costs
       £1.5 million per year."
           If we go over the page to {G/43/3}, please.  Can you
       see at the top of page 3, in the second box in from the
           "An intuitive search engine that enables the
       in-branch user to quickly get to the information they
       need, therefore building the trust of branches in
       the content and encouraging self-service."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That was being proposed.  Do you know whether that was
   A.  It hasn't been introduced yet, no.
   Q.  So that was 2016.  But it is going to be, is it, at some
       point in the future?
   A.  There are no definite dates yet but it is actually being
       looked at again.
   Q.  Being looked at again?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  We see on the right-hand side, which is part of the
       "Benefits of Change" heading in the table, if we just go
       back to show you that {G/43/2}.  Do you see the table is
       laid out: "Release 1 Change", "Key Change", "Cost", and
       then "Benefits of Change", "Financial" and
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Back to page 3, please {G/43/3}.  You can see
       "Non-financial Benefits":
           "In-branch customer experience is improved as help
       can be accessed quickly through the Horizon screen
       rather than leaving the customer stranded at the counter
       whilst the postmaster rings NBSC."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "The ability to publish information instantly to ensure
       help content is current."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That would be an improvement as well?
   A.  Absolutely.
   Q.  And:
           "Help to be owned by branch support team ensuring
       that the content is correct."
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  If we go over the page to page {G/43/5}, please:
           "What would the impact be of delaying or rejecting
       the decision to progress?
           "Delay or rejection would result in:
           "a) Continued acceptance of a poor Horizon user
       experience and consequently an equally poor customer
           Again, that is a candid and honest recognition of
       the reality of the situation internally, isn't it?
   A.  Yes, that is my -- so I wrote this paper, this is my --
   Q.  Yes, that is your honest internal --
   A.  This is my view, yes.
   Q.  -- view.
           Let's go, please, now to {B5.6/2/5}.  This is
       Mrs Stockdale's Individual Particulars of Claim where
       her individual case is set out.  And if you look,
       please, at the top, paragraph 15.3, Mrs Stockdale sets
       out her recollection.  Look at c):
           "The claimant had access to the Horizon system user
       guide and Horizon online help, both online, but these
       were difficult to use and often did not provide
       a resolution to the issue at hand."
           You would fairly accept in the light of your candid
       internal appraisal that we have looked at that there is
       some truth in that, wouldn't you?
   A.  Some truth.  It's not entirely true because the
       information is there.  The point I am making
       particularly with Horizon help is that you can't get to
       the answer quite quickly and therefore you have to
       persevere to read through pages which is why it is not
       used as it should be.
   Q.  I think what we looked at speaks for itself.  I won't
       press you on that.
           Let's look at the response at {B5.6/3/6} at
       paragraph -- this is a subparagraph.  Just to give you
       the context, we had better look at the previous page
           "As to paragraph 15:
           "(1) The wholly unparticularised allegation ... as
       to unclear drafting and formatting is denied (to the
       extent it is understood)."
           Then you get the flavour of it.
           And over the page {B5.6/3/6} at subparagraph (4):
           "The wholly unparticularised allegation at
       paragraph 15.3(c) as to the Horizon system user guide
       and Horizon online help being 'difficult to use' and
       often not providing a 'a resolution to the issue at
       hand', which appears to be inadmissible and/or
       irrelevant to the Common Issues, is denied (to the
       extent it is understood)."
           It is perfectly understandable, isn't it, to say
       that there were shortcomings in the user experience?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And perfectly understandable to say that it wasn't very
       helpful?  Yes?
   A.  So it wasn't ...
   Q.  Not user friendly.
   A.  Not user friendly.  It is a difficulty -- it is not
       difficult, it is "clunky" would be the word I would use.
   Q.  I have afforded you an opportunity to comment on that.
       In reality Mrs Stockdale was right, wasn't she?
   A.  If that was her experience of it, she found it difficult
       to use, then that is her experience.
   Q.  Why don't you mention any of these difficulties in your
       witness statement?  Why have we had to find all these
       documents and put them to you to correct the impression
       in your witness statement?
   A.  I don't ... I suppose the length of my witness
       statement, it is what information went in there.  In
       this situation there are a number of support tools for
       postmasters.  Horizon online help is one of them,
       failing that there is NBSC which actually accesses
       predominantly the same information that is available in
       branch, it is just that they are more familiar with it
       because they use it more often and therefore it becomes
       easier for NBSC to be able to access the information.
       So this wouldn't be everyone's experience.  My view is
       that we could make it easier.  It doesn't mean that what
       is there in terms of content is inaccurate because it is
       not.  But it could be easier to access, in my view.
   Q.  Do you feel a bit let down that some of the things you
       have suggested over the years have not been taken up?
   A.  I would have liked us to have got to some of the answers
       more quickly.  There have been reasons why we haven't.
       But, yes, I would like us to get there.  From a user
       experience and from a customer experience, I think there
       is merit in particularly Horizon help in making it more
       intuitive and I am pleased that we are actually
       progressing that one now.
   Q.  Let's look at {G/7/1}, please.  This is a document dated
       7 September 2012.  Does that ring any bells?
   A.  Is there a front page to this?
   Q.  That is the front page.  It appears to have been
       authored by you.
   A.  The formatting is off a bit so I am failing to recognise
   Q.  {G/7/4}.
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  Yes?  Can we look at this {G/7/1}.  The purpose of the
       paper is summarising the audit activity, providing
       an overview of the findings, to identify steps to
       mitigate risk of potential financial loss to
       Post Office, and to identify lessons learned from audit
       activity as a way of informing future post office
       network audit approach.  Yes?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  If we go over the page to {G/7/3}, please, just at the
       bottom of that you will see there is one line where the
       formatting has gone slightly haywire, the indent has
       gone funny.  It says:
           "A couple of existing agents have claimed that their
       discrepancies are as a result of the Horizon system.
           "Action taken - the process we follow to investigate
       claims from agents that the Horizon system is generating
       discrepancies has been reviewed.  The refreshed process
       is detailed at appendix 2."
           And if we then go, please, to page {G/7/6} of that
       document, we have something called the "Horizon
       Challenge Process".  Taking this in stages, was the
       Horizon challenge process ever introduced internally in
       the end?  As far as you know?
   A.  I am not sure if it was.  I need to have a look at
       this ...
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You are going to have to keep your voice
       up, I am afraid.
   A.  Sorry.  I was just looking at it because the formatting
       is a bit strange on the screen.  (Pause)
   MR GREEN:  Would it help if we move it very slightly to the
       right so you can see the line going down the left-hand
   A.  Thank you.  (Pause)  Yes, this was introduced.
   Q.  It was introduced?
   A.  From the different feeds coming in at the time, yes.  So
       we did put a process in place where it came in from --
       so if we had a query into NBSC, for instance, and there
       was something raised around it was to do with Horizon,
       then we would actually look at that, depending on what
       it was, and the contracts advisor as well would be
       mindful of if there is anything that needed to be
       further investigated.
           I'm not sure it was in its entirety introduced, but
       particularly the step change at the top, branch support
       team being tier 2, was definitely introduced into that.
   Q.  So that bit was.  Can I ask you this, if we look at the
       bottom half, and actually the bottom probably third or
       so, you will see in the middle, vertically, going down
       the middle of the page, you will see "Capture on stage 5
       Horizon challenge case summary", do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then there is a diamond below that, "Can agent
       provide specific day and timeframe for alleged fault".
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And did you introduce this part for the agent or did you
       only introduce the top half internally?  Or some part of
       the top half internally?
   A.  I think it was the top part of it internally because
       I don't recall we did the "via duty manager" piece.
   Q.  Did you ever tell subpostmasters there was a special
       challenge process for Horizon, suspected Horizon errors,
   A.  In 2012, no.  I think when -- what we set up was
       a mailbox, so if postmasters had issues with any
       discrepancies that they couldn't understand, then this
       is where the support resolution team, support services
       resolution team came in and they would actually look
       into those issues to see whether they could establish
       what had actually gone -- what had happened in-branch.
   Q.  Because you would accept, wouldn't you, that if
       subpostmasters can't actually understand what the cause
       is, it is not very fair for them to be forced to accept
   A.  Sometimes you won't understand exactly what has
       happened.  So in investigating an issue, there would be
       some cases where -- it is a process of elimination.  You
       can establish what has not happened.  But when it comes
       to a case of if money has been given out incorrectly
       over the counter, unless you have absolute physical
       proof of that, then that is difficult for people to
       accept they have made a mistake.
   Q.  If we look, for example, if we think of something like
       the payments mismatch problem, which I think is at
       {G/8/1}, do you remember this issue?  Do you remember
       the receipt/payments mismatch issue?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes.  This was where:
           "Discrepancies showing at the Horizon counter
       disappear when the branch follows certain process steps,
       but will still show within the back end branch account.
       Currently impacting 40 branches since migration on to
       Horizon online with an overall cash value of about
       £20,000 loss.  This issue will only occur if a branch
       cancels the completion of the trading period but within
       the same session continues to roll into a new balance
           So it is quite a niche cause but it was already
       affecting 40 branches at that stage, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So there could be things which were difficult for you to
       find out which were nothing to do with what happened in
       the sub-post office?
   A.  Potentially.
   Q.  If a subpostmaster had installed CCTV, knew the person,
       the assistant, with them very well and so forth, and was
       able to review that and still couldn't find out why the
       losses were occurring, then having at least on face
       value ruled that out, it might be sensible to look
       further afield?
   A.  I think there is a step in between there which is
       understanding what has happened in-branch.  So I accept
       that a postmaster or anybody in-branch that has the
       information that is available to them which is from the
       Horizon system, they are really important at the first
       stage of that process in checking to see whether they
       could find anything in branch, looking through their
       information to see whether they can pinpoint.  I think
       the important thing in all of this is being able to
       pinpoint a date of when something has happened, so the
       cash declaration, making it accurate is really, really
           What the support services resolution team can do is
       they use what we call -- there's an information tool
       called HORICE, and that stands for Horizon information
       centre, and they can actually use that information to
       look into the branch accounts to see what has happened
       and actually the recording of the key strokes.  That in
       most cases will allow them to determine what has
       happened and be able to go back to the postmaster to say
       "This is what we can see.  This is what you have done",
       and in many cases that would make sense to the
       postmaster then.
   Q.  Do you provide the actual underlying data or do you just
       tell them what you have found?
   A.  Both.  So what we do is we produce the summary findings
       and we talk them through the data as well.  That would
       support.  That is not -- so that was really an extension
       of the process that you showed me just on the screen,
       which is the 2012.  That is kind of the next step of
       that really.
   Q.  There will be some errors, won't there, where
       notwithstanding providing some information to the
       postmaster, the postmaster simply just doesn't recognise
       the sorts of sums being involved?
   A.  There would be, yes.
   Q.  Yes.  Let's go back, if we may, to the Horizon challenge
       process which is {G/7/6}.  Just look if we may, please,
       at the diamond at the bottom:
           "Can agent provide specific day and timeframe for
       alleged fault."
           How narrow a timeframe would you be expecting them
       to provide?
   A.  Ideally it would be on the day.  So if they are doing
       their cash declarations properly, then they would
       establish, usually establish that there is loss.
       A large loss would be impounded at that point.  Where --
       and this is very problematic -- where branches are not
       declaring their cash declarations accurately or where
       they are rolling losses, it becomes very difficult to be
       able to pinpoint and get to the root cause that way.
   Q.  Let's pause and just look there.  The agent is being
       required to provide a specific day and timeframe?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If an agent, say, gets a transaction correction three
       months after something has happened when they didn't
       spot it at the time, and they want to investigate it and
       try and get to the bottom of it, that is going to be
       difficult for them if they are trying to work out what
       happened, isn't it?
   A.  A transaction correction comes with supporting evidence,
       so that would -- a transaction correction would come
       with: you have made a mistake in lottery, you have made
       a mistake on the sales.  So it comes with supporting
       evidence.  This is really more about where a branch has
       a loss and they don't know where it is.  That is what
       this is really about.  Because a transaction correction
       comes with supporting evidence already.
   Q.  Let's look at a discrepancy such as -- we have seen,
       for example, discrepancies and transaction corrections
       side by side in Pam Stubbs' case.  Let's look at the
       discrepancy at the end of the balance trading period.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Subpostmaster doesn't know how that has happened?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  He is asking for it to be investigated?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  They would not be able then to provide the information
       necessary for that diamond, would they?
   A.  What they would be able to say is when they incurred the
       loss.  So again it comes back to keeping the accounts
       accurately in terms of the cash declaration.  If
       a branch is doing their cash declarations every day,
       they would at the end of -- whenever they put their cash
       declaration in they would know whether they have a loss
       in that account or not.
   Q.  Have a look at what you have actually specified there.
       You have not specified the date of the loss but the date
       of the fault.
   A.  So what I mean by that is if this is -- if they are
       claiming it is the fault of Horizon, then what they
       would or ought to be claiming is the loss as a result of
       Horizon, or equally it could be a gain, actually.  So
       that is what I mean here is when did it happen so that
       we can narrow the search around -- because part of the
       process, what we would do through the support services
       resolution team is if somebody says "I have got a
       £10,000 loss, it happened on this particular day or this
       particular month", because it is branch trading, we
       would then check to see whether there has been anything
       untoward in any of the transactions and check that out.
       So we do a proper view, including checking with Fujitsu
       to say is there anything there we can see where the
       system has not operated as it should operate?
   Q.  But in the payments mismatch example that we looked at
       which we know was definitely a system issue, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  None of the subpostmasters had spotted what had
       happened, had they?
   A.  I don't believe so in that case.
   Q.  So 40 subpostmasters affected, none of whom had
       identified what happened?
   A.  Okay.  And if I've got the case right, in that case it
       was through Fujitsu's checks and balances that they knew
       something had gone wrong which is when we would have
       contacted the branches.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If you go back to {G/8/1}, please.
       I don't think the Post Office told the branches either,
       did they?  Or they certainly hadn't as at the date of
       this document.
   A.  I think this is the one where there are some
       recommendations (inaudible) approaches, isn't there?  Is
       that the document?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am talking about the first single-line
       paragraph under "What is the issue?"  Do you just want
       to read that.  (Pause)
   A.  Yes.  Yes, they haven't communicated at this point
       because they are trying to --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Who is "they"?
   A.  In terms of the working group that we have here in terms
       of the attendees, then these are the people that are
       looking at -- a problem has identified, they have
       narrowed it down to 40 branches, they have not
       communicated at that point because what this is about is
       agreeing next steps and what they do about
       communicating --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand that.  But if Mr Green is
       right, and 40 branches didn't know.
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  And no one had told them, they are not
       very easily going to be able to provide the day and the
       timeframe of the alleged fault, are they?
   A.  They wouldn't.  But this has been identified -- the
       branches have been identified through Fujitsu so it's
       the other end of the spectrum, almost, because we can
       see which branches they are.  The branches wouldn't know
       at this point, but we can see from this which branches
       they are.  And then the whole purpose of this is we
       would agree how we are going to advise them and how to
       correct whatever the potential discrepancy would be.
       Because I think in this case -- it was losses and gains
       I think in this one.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, back to you.
   MR GREEN:  I think you mentioned the possibility of options
       of communicating with the branches looking forward.  To
       be fair to you, if we go forward one page {G/8/2}, there
       is a reference in the middle in bold:
           "Note the branch will not get a prompt from the
       system to say there is a receipts and payment mismatch,
       therefore the branch will believe they have balanced
           And then, below that, "Impact" is considered:
           "The branch has appeared to have balanced, whereas
       in fact they could have a loss or a gain ... our
       accounting systems will be out of sync ... If widely
       known could cause a loss of confidence in the Horizon
       system by branches."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So was that a factor weighing against telling people
       immediately until you had worked out how to do it?
   A.  It is always a consideration to understand exactly what
       has happened before we would communicate, providing that
       didn't go on for too long, clearly, because this -- if
       people were having misbalances we'd want to get to the
       root cause and communicate that as quickly as possible.
   Q.  "It could provide branches ammunition to blame Horizon
       for future discrepancies."
           That was another concern, wasn't it?
   A.  Yes, and the concern is that, is really, is -- is
       without cause, because if people think it is always the
       Horizon system then they won't do the check steps
       in-branch, which means we could be missing information
       and errors could go undetected when they could have been
       resolved in branch.
   Q.  Is it fair to say that Post Office likes to maintain
       a narrative that Horizon is a robust system?
   A.  Overall it is robust.  The narrative is that it will
       make mistakes but that we can see the mistakes and we
       will correct them.  But what we don't want to do is
       communicate -- and it is not just for Horizon, about
       anything -- communicate anything without the facts.  So
       what would we be communicating?  Because if we
       communicated something without understanding it, it
       would just generate more questions and we wouldn't have
       the answers.
   Q.  Let's look on the next page to see what you could have
       communicated {G/8/3}.  You could have communicated what
       you knew, which was that:
           "The receipts and payments mismatch will result in
       an error code being generated which will allow Fujitsu
       to isolate branches affected by this problem although
       this is not seen by the branches."
           You then say:
           "We have asked Fujitsu why it has taken so long to
       react and to escalate an issue which began in May."
           I think this is October.  So for five months the
       branches haven't found out.  Or maybe this is the end
       of September.
           "Fujitsu are writing a code fix which will stop the
       discrepancy disappearing from Horizon in the future.
       They are aiming to deliver this into test week
       commencing 4 October with live proving at the model
       office week commencing 11 October, with full roll
       out ..."
           So you could have told them the truth, couldn't you?
   A.  At that point we could have.  It was -- obviously
       I wasn't involved in this.  That was the decision from
       the group.
   Q.  Yes.  I hope it is not unfair, you are the most senior
       witness from Post Office --
   A.  I agree.
   Q.  "Proposal for affected branches."
           And these are the solutions being considered:
           "Solution one - alter the Horizon branch figure at
       the counter to show the discrepancy.  Fujitsu would have
       to manually write an entry value to the local branch
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  So that means that Fujitsu are going to amend the data
       in the local branch account.  That is option one?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the impact is then considered:
           "When the branch comes to complete next trading
       period, they would have a discrepancy which they would
       have to bring to account."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So that would be one of those ones where a discrepancy
       comes up on the till at the end of the branch trading
       period but they have no idea of the date or timeframe of
       the alleged fault, have they?
   A.  No, they wouldn't have.
   Q.  "Risk":
           "This has significant data integrity concerns and
       could lead to questions of tampering with the branch
       system and could generate questions around how the
       discrepancy was caused.  This solution could have moral
       implications of Post Office changing branch data without
       informing the branch."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  There is no suggestion there that Post Office can't
       change the branch data via Fujitsu, is there?
   A.  No.
   Q.  In fact it says the opposite?
   A.  Yes, it says Fujitsu would have to do that.
   Q.  But it is pretty clear?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Solution two:
           "P&BA will journal values from the discrepancy
       account into the customer account and recover/refund via
       normal processes.  This will need to be supported by
       an approved POL communication.  Unlike the branch,
       POLSAP remains in balance albeit with an account
       (discrepancies) that should be cleared."
           POLSAP is --
   A.  Internal --
   Q.  -- the internal application keeping a parallel set of
       figures --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- to Horizon.
           "Post Office will be required to explain the reason
       for a debt recovery/refund even though there is no
       discrepancy at the branch."
           And the risk is it could potentially highlight to
       branches that Horizon can lose data, and that was
       a reason for not doing that, wasn't it?  It's listed as
       a risk?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It is clearly being felt internally that just letting
       anyone know that this can happen is a bad idea, instead
       of telling the truth?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Do you agree or disagree with that
   A.  So telling the branches that it impacted is the way that
       we would normally operate, rather than telling everyone
       of a particular issue, yes.
   MR GREEN:  Some of these subpostmasters had -- at least one
       of them had had to do the balancing transaction and make
       good, hadn't they?
   A.  I understand that, yes.
   Q.  So they would have had to -- well, let's move on to
       solution three.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, pausing there.  My learned friend has
       just put to this witness that solution two, and one of
       the items under "Risk", was the reason for not doing it.
       If you read from the top, solution two was the one that
       should be progressed.  So that question is being put on
       a false basis.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am not sure it is.  He is identifying
       it as a risk as to why that solution shouldn't be
       adopted.  I assume we will go on to deal with which one
       was adopted, will we?
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, I think the question at {Day8/93:22}
           "... and that was a reason for not doing that,
       wasn't it?"
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  "It's listed as a risk."
   MR CAVENDER:  Then:
           "It is clearly being felt internally that just
       [lying] --"
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I have already made a note that the word
       "lying" is actually incorrect.  It was "letting".
   MR CAVENDER:  "... instead of telling the truth."
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The question was:
           "It is clearly being felt internally that just
       letting anyone know that this can happen is a bad idea,
       instead of telling the truth."
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, to be fair to the witness, given that
       item two was chosen --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I do know item two was chosen, and
       I assume Mr Green is then going to go on and deal with
       the fact that that was chosen.  I am aware of that,
       Mr Cavender.  Mr Green, do you want to just clarify that
       particular point, out of fairness to the witness.
   MR GREEN:  Yes.  I think it is a little more subtle than my
       learned friend appreciates, and I will deal with it.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am not directing you how you should
       ask your questions.
   A.  No, of course.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Right.  Mr Green.
   MR GREEN:  I am obliged.  If we look at solution three:
           "It is decided not to correct the data in
       the branches (ie Post Office would prefer to write off
       the 'lost' ) ..."
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That should be "loss" I think.
   MR GREEN:  Impact:
           "Post Office must absorb circa 20K loss.
           "Risk - huge moral implication to the integrity of
       the business as there are agents that were potentially
       due a cash gain on their system."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So the point about that is, although the net figure is
       20,000, different branches had a gain or a loss?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we go back up, please --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Just before you do, I may as well put it
       to you, and it is what Mr Cavender said: solution two is
       the one that was a adopted, wasn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.  Mr Green.
   MR GREEN:  It certainly records there that solution two is
       the group's recommendation of what should be progressed.
       At {G/8/3}.  Do you see that?
   A.  Yes, that was my understanding.
   Q.  Group recommends solution two should be progressed.
       Could we now look, please, at {H/2/25}.  This is part of
       Post Office's letter of response in relation to
       balancing transactions.  It explains there:
           "Fujitsu, not Post Office, has the capability to
       inject a new transaction into a branch's accounts.  This
       is called the balancing transaction.  The balancing
       transaction is principally designed to allow errors
       caused by a technical issue in Horizon to be corrected.
       An accounting or operational error would typically be
       corrected by way of a transaction correction.
       A balancing transaction can add a transaction to the
       branch's accounts but it cannot edit or delete other
       data in those accounts.
           "Balancing transactions only exist within Horizon
       Online (not the old version of Horizon) and so have only
       been in use since around 2010.  Their use is logged
       within the system and is extremely rare.  As far as
       Post Office is currently aware, a balancing transaction
       has only been used once to correct a single branch's
       accounts (not being a branch operated by one of
       the claimants)."
           If we look at footnote 57:
           "This was in relation to one of the branches
       affected by the 'payments mismatch' error described in
       schedule 6."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So if we go back to the payments mismatch document at
       {G/8/3} we can see that in fact, in relation to that
       particular branch, what was done appears to have been
       solution one, despite the recommendation of the group to
       adopt solution two.
   A.  That wouldn't have been without the knowledge of that
       branch.  They would have been informed that that was
   Q.  Finally on this point I will just direct you to
       {B4/2/16}.  At 40:
           "Please state whether and, if so, how the
       subpostmaster operating the branch in question was
       notified of the balancing transaction and the reason for
           This is a Request for Further Information made to
       Post Office.  And the defendant's response:
           "The subpostmaster affected is not a claimant and
       the claimants do not require the information sought in
       order to understand Post Office's generic case ..."
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Are you going to ask a question?
   MR GREEN:  Do you know the answer?
   A.  I don't know the specific details, I am afraid, no.  But
       my understanding is that, whenever we did that, we would
       always notify the branch that we were doing that.  So we
       wouldn't do anything that they weren't aware of.
   Q.  So you could perfectly simply, if that was true, have
       said yes?
   A.  In terms of that particular case, then -- I didn't
       respond to this so ... but that would be my expectation;
       is that we would always do that.  I don't know the
       specific branch either.
   MR GREEN:  Is that a convenient moment, my Lord?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Yes.  This witness asked to see her
       Horizon witness statement.
   MR GREEN:  Indeed.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I don't know if you have a copy with
   MR GREEN:  We have copies in court, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You know you are not allowed to discuss
       the case, but one of counsel for the claimant will give
       you that statement.
   A.  Thank you.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  2.05 pm.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, would it help if we tell the witness
       which paragraphs -- where it starts, so she doesn't need
       to look through the whole thing?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I have no problem with that.
       Mr Cavender, do you have a problem with that?
   MR CAVENDER:  I am a bit concerned about this whole thing,
       of the Horizon evidence coming in, as your Lordship
       knows.  I have sat here and allowed this to go on
       because your Lordship seemed happy with it.
       I don't know how much further we are going to go down
       this route.  The witness has already given an answer
       that coming to it cold was the flashing up point.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The statement has been produced because
       the witness asked to see it.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, I'm not sure that is quite right.  My
       learned friend offered it to her.  She didn't demand it.
       Mr Green offered it to her.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I'm not going to get into an extended
       debate.  Mr Draper and whichever of your junior counsel
       it is can identify, if you want, or you can just give
       the witness the statement.  Which is it that you would
       like to do?
   MR GREEN:  Perhaps just give the witness the statement.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think that is probably easiest.
           Mrs Van Den Bogerd, being cross-examined is
       relatively hard going, so don't feel you have to spend
       the whole hour ploughing through that statement.  It is
       a single self-contained point.  It might not even go
       anywhere.  It is completely up to you, can I make that
       clear, how long you want to spend looking at it.  But
       the reason it has been produced is because it was
       mentioned in one of the exchanges between you and
       Mr Green.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, might it be fair if I mention it was
       Mr Abdulla.  It related to Mr Abdulla, in case the
       witness has forgotten.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Before we rise, what page of the
       transcript was it?  Let's call it up on the common
   MR GREEN:  Page 50, I think, line 12.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It was shortly after you put a document
       that was {E4/92/1} I think.  It is likely to be page 52
       I think.  Actually you put it to the witness straight
       after, I think, the short break.
   MR GREEN:  Indeed.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So it was rather out of sequence.
   MR GREEN:  My recollection was page 50, line 14.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You put page 50, line 14 but you put it
       after the break by directing the witness to page 50.  So
       that passage must be -- and that is the relevant one
       because that is when the Horizon statement ... so if you
       could just scroll down, please.  It will be at about
       12.07 pm.  So if you look on the time bar.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, page 57 apparently.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mrs Van Den Bogerd, do you see Mr Green
       there on page {Day8/59:18} shows you the transcript?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Then in the middle of page {Day8/60:5}
       he mentions your witness statement in the Horizon trial.
       Then you answer that at the bottom of that page and it
       goes on at the bottom of page {Day8/60:20} where it
           "If we have a spare copy of the witness statement
       just to show you very quickly.
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I want to make something quite clear --
       and what I am going to do, are you broadly on timetable?
   MR GREEN:  Totally, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  We are actually going to come back at
       2.15 pm.  I don't want you to feel under any pressure
       about this at all.  As I say, it is a small
       self-contained point and it may not go anywhere.
       I would give yourself until 2 o'clock or 1.55 pm and
       then come back and just read the witness statement.
           Mr Green is then going to effectively bowl you
       an opening ball.  So if you want to correct anything or
       add anything based on your witness statement in Horizon,
       you can, out of fairness to you.
           How long is that witness statement, just out of
       interest?  It arrived on my desk this morning.
   MR GREEN:  It is 44 pages, my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You have signed it.  Would you like
       longer than 15 minutes or does that sound about right?
       If you would like longer, please ask for longer.
   A.  I would rather do that before I leave, if that is okay.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You do it when you like.  Would you like
       slightly longer?
   A.  Yes, please.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I will give you twenty minutes, which
       means we will be coming back at 2.20 pm.  Mr Green, any
       observations from you about that?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, no.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Any observations, Mr Cavender?
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, yes.  I am concerned about this whole
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Which whole procedure do you mean?
   MR CAVENDER:  Now putting this witness statement and letting
       the witness read all of it.  And, to be very clear, my
       learned friend's questions on it must be limited to this
       one point.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is a point which I think about four
       minutes ago I said: would you like her directed to
       certain passages of it or read the whole statement,
       and I didn't understand you saying you wanted it
       restricted to one part.  Do you?  The reason this has
       happened is because it came up in the course of
       a question and answer interchange and the witness said
       she would like to see it.
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, she said, if you look at the
       transcript, if Mr Green is going to refer to it further,
       then she would like to see it.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  What page is this?
   MR CAVENDER:  It is on the same page we looked at, page
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think the fairest thing to do --
   MR CAVENDER:  At the top of page {Day8/61:1} I think,
       my Lord.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Give me a second.  My general approach
       to life is, if a witness wants to see a document, they
       ought to be allowed to see it.
   MR CAVENDER:  It is at page {Day8/60:24} You say --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Hold on a second.  At page {Day8/60:12}
       he says:
           "So there are two possibilities.  Either you didn't
       know what was in the witness statement, or it is not
       right that you are coming to these matters cold."
           And the witness said:
           "No, I did know what was in the witness statement.
       But ... you asked me to look at the screen ... I would
       need to just follow through to see whether they were
       dispatched, is what I said."
           And he said:
           "If we have a spare copy of the witness statement
           And I understood her to want to see her witness
   MR CAVENDER:  If she is going to be asked further about it,
       as she says and as the transcript shows.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You are saying you don't want her to
       look at it?
   MR CAVENDER:  I am very happy -- you know our view about
       the possibility of merging the Horizon evidence in this
       trial and at the moment we are right in the gunnels of
       that.  So what I am saying is the point is a narrow
       one --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  As I think I have made clear three
   MR CAVENDER:  Exactly.  So, as I understand it, it was
       whether the witness, when she said she came cold to it,
       what she meant by that.  She has given an answer already
       twice to that.  If my learned friend wants to put the
       particular paragraph that relates to that document to
       test how cold she was or wasn't, then, although it may
       be unnecessary, he can do that.  What I am concerned
       about is she is asked to read the whole statement and he
       comes back and asks a load more questions.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Cavender, let me be quite clear: if
       Mr Green had simply produced that witness statement and
       started trying to put parts of it to the witness in
       terms of interrogating the content of that statement, he
       would not have been allowed to do so.  On the basis that
       the witness gave the evidence that she did and he put
       the point he did, it seemed to me fair to her that she
       be allowed to look at it in case she had any follow-up
       points.  This is not going to be opening the door to
       Mr Green.  I can be quite clear with you about that.
       And rather more clear with you, Mr Green.
           I think the safest and fairest way to deal with this
       is I am going to ask Mr Draper and Mr Warwick, or if it
       is one of your other juniors, one of your other juniors,
       simply to direct this witness's attention to the
       relevant part of that statement which deals with this
       passage or these passages -- I imagine it is
       self-contained and you will have it at your
       fingertips -- so that she is not in the middle of what
       is going to be an entire day's cross-examination
       effectively feels, regardless of what I say to her,
       subjected to some brutal memory test over lunch on
       something which is, as I have said, fairly
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, yes.  That is the point I was trying
       to make.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Draper and Mr Warwick, is it entirely
       clear to both of you what it is I am asking you to do?
       This witness has said she would like to do it first,
       which is entirely understandable.  So I am going to rise
       now.  We will come back at 2.20 pm.  Please do it
       straightaway, and it's entirely up to Mrs Van Den Bogerd
       when she actually does this, and it may not go anywhere
       at all.  Thank you very much.
   (1.15 pm)
                     (The short adjournment)
   (2.20 pm)
   MR GREEN:  Mrs Van Den Bogerd, could you just have a look at
       your witness statement for the Horizon trial at page 33,
           Does your Lordship have a copy?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  No.  I do but it is upstairs.
           Mr Green, you are not going to go very far.
   MR GREEN:  Of course not.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It is really just a single point.
   MR GREEN:  Precisely.  (Handed)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you very much.  Paragraph 33.
   MR GREEN:  This is the witness statement you signed on
       16 November?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  Which was Friday?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it's Tuesday today?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at page 33, paragraph 140, you say:
           "For the sake of brevity, I do not intend to fully
       respond to every allegation in relation to the TCs
       raised by Mr Abdulla but I quickly address a few
       examples to show that these matters are not relevant to
       the Horizon issues."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So you had picked out some examples rather than dealing
       with all of them?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  141:
           "Mr Abdulla questions the TC data disclosed by
       Post Office at paragraph 90 of his witness statement
       confirming that he does not believe this is a report he
       has had sight of before."
           "This report was produced by FSC and was not
       available to subpostmasters in branch."
           That is the --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, it is a simple point,
       isn't it?
   MR GREEN:  In fairness to her I was going to show her where
       she said it, where she identified each of the specific
       ones I put to her.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  All right.
           It is the case, I think, and you will have looked at
       it over the short adjournment, that you deal with
       certain examples from Mr Abdulla between paragraphs 140
       and paragraph 152, is that right?
   A.  Correct.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, put your point.
   MR GREEN:  The spreadsheet you were looking at at 141 was
       the one we were looking at just now, wasn't it?
   A.  That's right.
   Q.  And the examples I put were the examples you mentioned
   A.  Particularly the 1,092, yes, which is the one I queried
       about whether they had been issued.
   Q.  When you said you were coming to this cold, that was
       a mistake, was it?
   A.  It was, yes.
   Q.  You weren't trying to distance yourself from it?
   A.  Not at all, no.
   Q.  I suggest to you that you are hesitant to accept things
       that are damaging to Post Office?
   A.  That is not the case.
   Q.  At paragraph 41 of your witness statement page {C2/1/10}
       you are referring I think there at 40 to the Panorama
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That wasn't just about changes in the network, was it?
   A.  No, that wasn't.
   Q.  The Panorama documentary?  Because that is one way of
       reading paragraph 40.
           Then at 41 you say:
           "This heightened level of media attention means
       Post Office has to carefully protect its brand at all
   A.  Correct.
   Q.  Do you feel under pressure to protect Post Office's
       brand now?
   A.  At this particular moment?
   Q.  Yes.
   A.  No.  That is the broad -- that is just the environment
       we operate in as Post Office.
   Q.  Did you feel under that pressure when you were writing
       your witness statement?
   A.  No.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Can I just ask a simple question.  What
       exactly does "protecting a brand" mean?
   A.  It just means that, one, it is making sure that how we
       do things, how we behave, how we interact with people,
       and just to make sure that at all times we are
       maintaining that.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  You mean to a particular standard?
   A.  Yes.
   MR GREEN:  Can we look now, please, at {G/40/1}.  You will
       see this document in the box is dated 12 June 2014, do
       you see that?
   A.  I do.
   Q.  There are various versions produced in June 2014.
   A.  2014, yes.
   Q.  And it's some sort of -- it's an internal document at
       the top?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it is an action summary of some sort.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you see?  Can we look over the page at page {G/40/2},
       please.  The introduction says:
           "This document ... highlights specific areas
       regarding the Horizon solution ... with suggested
       controls Post Office could implement ..."
           And then further redactions.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then there is a large redacted passage.
           At 4.1.1, the Horizon management council is
       suggested.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Were you a party to this document?  Did you see it at
       the time?
   A.  No.
   Q.  Were you aware that a document such as this was being
   A.  Not that I can recall, no.
   Q.  To look at specific areas regarding the Horizon
   A.  No.
   Q.  4.1.1 says "Horizon Management Council":
           "Since Horizon is a critical business function of
       the Post Office estate a management council should be
       created in order to ensure the ongoing oversight,
       management and support of this business critical
       infrastructure going forward.  This is in addition to
       the current information security management forum."
           Was the Horizon management council ever set up, to
       your knowledge?
   A.  I wasn't aware of it.
   Q.  Have you ever heard of it?
   A.  Not in that terminology, no, so --
   Q.  In any terminology?
   A.  No, I am not aware that we have had a Horizon management
   Q.  Is there a group that does consider the matters set out
       at 4.1.1?  Oversight, management and support of this
       business critical infrastructure?
   A.  There would be something set up, I'm not sure what it
       would be called, where we would -- so there would be
       interactions between our IT department and Fujitsu, yes,
       so there is something.
   Q.  Let's look at the bottom of page 2:
           "Risks and issues relating to the Horizon solution
       of a high or critical nature should be flagged to this
       group who will then review them and take appropriate
       action to maintain the integrity of this business
       critical asset."
           Then if we go on to the next page {G/40/3}.  So
       against the background of that, this "Recommended
       Remediation" follows at the top:
           "Creation of a Horizon management council made up of
       one representative from each organisation, Post Office,
       Atos and Fujitsu."
           "This group should meet quarterly ... or after any
       significant change or issue."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then "Documentation update and ongoing maintenance":
           "Current, accurate and auditable documentation is
       imperative to the management of a critical business
       asset such as Horizon."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And:
           "A complete document pack to be created that
       outlines at least the following ..."
           And you will see policies and procedures -- a
       complete document pack to include policies, procedures
       and standards.  And then risk register, third from the
       bottom.  Have you ever seen a risk register created in
       relation to Horizon?
   A.  Not specifically for Horizon, no, not that I recall.
   Q.  Over to page {G/40/4} please.  4.1.4:
           "Technical issues and connectivity issues will
       always be a risk within any technical environment ..."
           Pausing there.  Those are not matters that are
       peculiarly within the knowledge of subpostmasters, are
   A.  No.
   Q.  "... and it is strongly advised that a programme is put
       in place to undertake auditable controls, ongoing
       training, spot-checks and regular reviews from
       Post Office's audit department to make sure that errors
       in processing are kept to a minimum and quickly
           Pausing there.  I accept you say you are not
       familiar with this document, do you think that is errors
       in processing by the Horizon IT itself or would it
       include the reconciliations?
   A.  As I read that, I would think it would be more broad to
       include the reconciliations as well.
   Q.  "Recommended remediation":
           "The creation of an audit programme by Post Office's
       finance department in order to review samples of data
       from subpostmasters.  This would ensure consistency of
       accounts and enable higher chance of detecting errors in
       accounts due to problems with Horizon."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Do you know whether that was done?
   A.  I'm not aware that it was.
   Q.  If we look over at {G/40/6}, please.  At the bottom,
       "Data Logging", 4.2.2.  The first bit is redacted and
           "... it was possible for someone with privileged
       access to delete data from specific areas of Horizon.
       This is always a risk with individuals using admin or
       power user accounts and is a persistent risk, one that
       needs to be catered for in almost any organisation."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So there's a clear recognition there that that was
       a possibility, isn't there, internally, and a risk?
   A.  Yes.  It doesn't say what it refers to in the redacted
   Q.  I am doing the best I can with the parts we have.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then:
           "Due to the sensitive nature of the information
       contained in the databases, monitoring of those
       databases should be put in place using technology to
       detect and record deletions ..."
           Are you aware whether that has been done?
   A.  Sorry, can you just go back a bit, please?
   Q.  {G/40/6}, at the bottom of the page:
           "... monitoring of those databases should be put
       in ..."
           Over the page {G/40/7}:
           "... place using technology to detect and record
       deletions ..."
           Do you know whether --
   A.  My understanding is that that is in place --
   Q.  Put in place since 2014?
   A.  My understanding is it was in place but I have not seen
       this document before, so I couldn't comment any further.
   Q.  When did you understand it was in place?
   A.  I know that Horizon is subject to annual audits, and
       that would be my expectation, that would be part of
       that.  But I didn't get involved in the detail so
       I couldn't comment any more than that, I am afraid.
   Q.  Just one clarification.  When did you first think in
       terms of timeline that such a system recording those
       matters would be in place?
   A.  I can't recall.
   Q.  Before this or after this?
   A.  What, this document?
   Q.  Before this document, before June 2014, or after?
   A.  I think it was always my understanding that these things
       would be in place but I can't ever recall seeing
       anything specific on that.
   Q.  It also suggests that administrative changes to the
       databases should be caught as well, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "If possible, alerts should be generated for mass
       deletions and high level risk changes to database
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then "Recommended Remediation", and at the bottom:
           "This needs to be investigated further and the
       options on how to handle this defined through the risk
       management process and based on the solutions already
       in place or ones that could be procured to handle this."
           This was at about the time, wasn't it, of the branch
       support programme?
   A.  It was, yes.
   Q.  Was it related to the thinking that was being done
       internally in the branch support programme?
   A.  No, I wasn't involved in this.
   Q.  I understand you say you weren't involved in this but my
       question was slightly different.  Do you know if this
       was related to the matters that you were considering in
       the branch support programme?
   A.  No, not to my knowledge.
   Q.  It wasn't related?
   A.  No.
   Q.  Let's look at {G/15/4}.  This is the branch support
       programme.  Perhaps in fairness to you I can show you
       the first page {G/15/1}.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Terms of reference of the branch support programme.  We
       can see 19 July 2013?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And what you recite there, top paragraph, is:
           "The review made it clear that Horizon computer
       system and its supporting processes function effectively
       across our network.  It did, however, raise questions
       about the training and support we have offered some
       subpostmasters.  It has been acknowledged that this
       needs to be investigated further and improvements need
       to be made."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That is at least acknowledging the difficulties raised
       with training and support, but that is a candid
       recognition of a need for improvements, isn't it?
   A.  Yes, to look to see -- yes, the whole point of this was
       to look at what processes we had in place and look at
       the known errors and see what we could do to make --
       improve things to give better support, yes.
   Q.  And you see:
           "The purpose of the programme is to understand the
       current business processes, operational procedures and
       way of working which are in place to support branches,
       identify the gaps and produce recommendations to rectify
       the issues."
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  The interim report that is being referred to there under
       "Scope" is the interim report by Second Sight, isn't it?
   A.  It would be, yes.
   Q.  The points raised that you were considering there are in
       the bullet points:
           "Post Office's attitude to subpostmasters which is
       often defensive and unsympathetic with a focus to
       recover assets rather than to identify the root cause of
       the problem."
           Pausing there.  Did you recognise there could be
       aspects of Post Office's attitude which might be
       sometimes defensive and unsympathetic?
   A.  There were some examples, yes.
   Q.  Was it a fair observation to say there appeared to be
       a focus to recover assets rather than identify the root
       cause of the problem?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And another point:
           "Inadequate help desk support ..."
           Had been raised?
   A.  Some had been raised, yes.
   Q.  It was suggested the responses were script-based?
   A.  Yes, so these are the things that had been raised.
   Q.  Yes.  Do you accept that whether you call it a script or
       an article, the Helpline was in fact reading out, often,
       guidance that had been pre-prepared?
   A.  They would have had guidance prepared.  Whether they
       were reading out, I -- I don't believe I ever found any
       evidence to suggest that.  But this was the scope of
       what we were looking at.  So what we did is we took at
       face value what had been put into the report and looked
       to see -- looked into the organisation to see whether we
       could see any evidence of that or anything else that we
       could actually rectify at the time.
   Q.  Then:
           "Lack of timely, accurate and complete information
       provided to subpostmasters to support them in resolving
           "Inexperienced trainers and gaps in training
           "Lack of centralised data or files specific to each
       branch which hinders a quality investigation from taking
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The approach you have adopted is at the bottom:
           "... normal project management principles."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we can go forward, please, to page {G/15/4}, if we
       look at the system at the bottom -- did you want to see
       the headings of this table?
   A.  That would be helpful.
   Q.  Go back a page, please {G/15/3}, "Key Performance
       Indicator" and "Measures".
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And forward again {G/15/4}.  Under "System" we have:
           "Robustness of the system."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So at the very lowest, you would have known that was
       an issue on your radar on the branch support programme
       that you were effectively leading?
   A.  In terms of the scope of it, yes, taking -- say, taking
       what was in the interim report and broadening the scope
       and to look to see whether we could see any evidence of
       that, then yes.
   Q.  What is:
           "Calls into HSD."
           Help service desk?
   A.  Yes, that is the Horizon service desk, the technical
       help desk.
   Q.  And what is:
           "Number and type of issues not to be increased."
           Is that a KPI?
   A.  Yes.  So if you go back to the heading it is
       a measurement.  So what we were looking at doing is
       where we had -- in terms of baseline in the project, if
       we look at -- to take issues as we know them today or
       anything, calls that were being made, and to actually --
       the measure would be for those they didn't increase
       going forward and actually that they should reduce.
   Q.  Can we look at "Risks and Issues" at the bottom, please.
       We have the known programme risks and issues at this
       stage.  Do you see that?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  "Lack of resource/funds to develop a technical solution
       to support consistent working across business
           Over the page, please {G/15/5}:
           "Inability to change people's mindsets and ways of
           "Technical infrastructure and product transaction
       flow too complex to make things easier for branches and
       our customers."
           So those were three challenges that you faced,
       weren't they?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it is fair to say that changing people's approach to
       things that have been done for a long time within
       Post Office is a bit like turning a large ship around;
       it is going to take a little time, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.  Although some people are more receptive than
   Q.  Can we now go forward, please, to consider training.  If
       we look at paragraph 99 of your witness statement,
       please {C2/1/29}, you say:
           "The aim of training is to equip the subpostmaster
       with the skills to perform the role that they have been
       asked to do."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You would accept, wouldn't you, that what a diligent
       subpostmaster is able to do will depend on the extent to
       which they understand the system and how it works?
   A.  In terms of the transaction, yes.
   Q.  And the training and support that they have received or
       get from Post Office, at least in part?
   A.  At the initial start, yes.
   Q.  And ongoing if they encounter a problem?
   A.  Absolutely.  But equally how they apply themselves to
       that training and the ongoing training.
   Q.  Yes.  I was saying a diligent subpostmaster.
   A.  Absolutely.
   Q.  What a diligent person can do --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- is dependent on the information they are able to
       obtain and the support they can get.
   A.  I agree.
   Q.  At paragraph 104, which is {C2/1/31}, you say:
           "No matter the method of delivery, there are some
       core features which have always been covered in initial
       training programmes."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So:
           "How to conduct basic transactions.
           "How to deal with remittances of cash and stock in
       and out.
           "How to submit the required daily, weekly and
       monthly accounts.
           "How to declare, investigate, make good and dispute
           "How to get further advice and support."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Taking it in stages.  You would accept, wouldn't you,
       over the period, and we can go through it and have
       a look at some of materials in a moment.  But you would
       accept that the training in relation to balancing and
       transaction corrections was at a fairly basic level,
       wasn't it?
   A.  Basic in ... it depends what you mean by basic.  Because
       the training actually taught people -- whoever was
       receiving the training how to process that transaction
       correction and what supporting evidence should come with
       that to support it.  So it actually went through all the
   Q.  But in terms of investigating discrepancies or
       shortfalls, there was little or no training at all,
       wasn't there?
   A.  No, there was training.  So the training would have
       been -- so in the classroom initially.  It depends at
       what stage of the training we are because it covers
       quite a broad number of years.  The training would have
       been around if you were to find -- if you had a loss,
       this is how you would look for things.  It would show
       you how to actually search on Horizon, how to narrow the
       field to get the right kind of value, so it would
       actually show you how to do that.  But I suppose the bit
       that really reinforces that then is on the on-site
       training where it is shown in the branch scenario, which
       is in live situation, and that is really I think which
       is why the on-site training is so important, it
       reinforces the training.
   Q.  I am just curious.  In writing paragraph 104, you didn't
       go back to the underlying training materials, did you?
       Otherwise you would have done something a bit more like
       in the claimants' witness statements where they identify
       the document as the source of each statement?
   A.  So in terms of -- I didn't go back to every single stage
       of that training, no.
   Q.  Did you go to any of them?
   A.  Some of them, yes, and some of them -- I have got a very
       good knowledge of this anyway from myself being in
       the classroom and actually being involved in some of
       those training documents over the years.
   Q.  Since 2002, for example?
   A.  Since 2002, yes.
   Q.  Let's have a look, if we may, then, at {F3/141/1}.  We
       are given a date for this document of May 2012 in
       disclosure.  It is from Sue Richardson.  Do you know
       Sue Richardson?
   A.  I do, yes.
   Q.  Have you worked with her?
   A.  She used to be part of my team.
   Q.  Was she involved in the branch support programme with
   A.  Not in the support programme, no.  She managed the --
       she -- the field support advisors, the audit trainers,
       she was involved in overseeing that, the design of the
       training and the standards that they worked to.
   Q.  Would it be fair to say she was nearer the training than
   A.  She would have been, yes.
   Q.  Let's look at what she had to say in May 2012:
           "I have managed to pull together an outline of the
       training support offered to new agents around 2002.
       This information has been provided by a number of people
       from across the business who have a background in
       training but don't necessarily still form part of our
       team.  Detailed here is what I have found to be
       consistent across each of those conversations and we
       have managed to find some supporting documentation,
       however I can't substantiate any of this as all records
       for individual agents are only held for 7 years.
           "In 2002 new agents didn't have any formal classroom
       training but were invited in for two days pre-transfer
       training to go through some basics."
           Is that right?
   A.  So it depends what she calls formal classroom training.
       But yes, they had some classroom training after Horizon
       was put in place.
   Q.  She describes that:
           "This really just involved some business awareness,
       customer care and use of the date stamp et cetera.  We
       have no specific details of what was covered."
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  How were you able to form a view, at the time of writing
       your witness statement, about what had been covered back
       then if she --
   A.  So the same in terms of my experience of what was
       in place from my knowledge, but also talking to other
       people that were around at that point.  But Sue would be
       right, there isn't anything -- and that is the problem
       with going back so far.  We don't have any documentation
       to say what was in place.
   Q.  Four bullet points down:
           "This was followed by on-site training for circa two
       weeks and a follow-up balance ... but we can't find
       details of what was included."
           So it is quite difficult to say with confidence that
       detailed training in relation to discrepancies and
       shortfalls and how to trace their true course was
       provided, isn't it?
   A.  That has always been part of the training, from when
       I received the training myself to when I played my part
       in delivering the training early on, and to when I have
       been involved all the way through.  We have always gone
       through that.  The trainers have always done that
       whether it is in the classroom or on site or both.
   Q.  Let's have a look at some of the training materials.
       {F3/18/1}, please.  This is suggested weekly sessions
       and the amount of time suggested.  We can see there,
       number 8:
           "Introduction to Horizon, HSUGs and helplines."
           What is HSUGs, do you know?
   A.  I don't know.
   Q.  1 hour 45.
           If we go, please, to {F3/20/1}.  We have half an
       hour, 30 minutes, on:
           "Balancing with Horizon guide, Horizon printout."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  30 minutes.
           There is no record there of people being explained
       how to declare, investigate, make good and dispute
       shortfalls, is there?  As far as we can tell?
   A.  Not on that document, no.
   Q.  In fairness, have a look over the page {F3/20/2}:
           "The importance of legibility of figure-work.
           "The principles of balancing ... receipt of money -
       receipt go up, cash goes up; sale of stock - stock goes
       down, cash goes up.
           "Cash and stock in hand.
           "Refer to Horizon printout and discuss all sections
           "Use of balancing sequences in the Balancing with
       Horizon guide.
           "Refer to HSUG."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Let's look at the Balancing with Horizon guide {F4/5/1}.
       This is a 93-page document.  It obviously couldn't have
       been gone through in a half hour session, could it?
   A.  Not in detail, no.
   Q.  No.  If we look at page {F4/5/1}, Alan Barry the
       operations director says at the penultimate paragraph on
       the right-hand side:
           "Retail network manager and Horizon field support
       officer both have copies of the manual and will help you
       through the early stages."
           And then says:
           "Finally, I would like to wish you good luck with
       using Horizon."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look within it, this is all part of this manual
       itself that the retail network manager and Horizon field
       support officer should have, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Look at page 75 on Opus {F4/5/75}, we can see "Making
       Good Losses", do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "If you have not obtained authority to hold a loss
       within the suspense account, you will need to make good
       the discrepancy after the final stock unit has rolled to
       the next CAP."
           That is account period, I think, isn't it?
   A.  Cash account period.
   Q.  And that is because the suspense account -- hold in the
       suspense account for eight weeks that we saw,
       for example, with Pam Stubbs --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- that system was still in place prior to 2005, wasn't
   A.  Yes, it was.
   Q.  "Make good the loss":
           "This involves placing the cash for the amount of
       the loss in your till."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It is not going into -- I'm not showing you the whole
       document, but we are not seeing a lot of guidance in
       this document -- doubtless my learned friend will take
       you to any helpful passages in re-examination -- about
       how to actually identify the underlying causes of errors
       in that section of the document.  Look at {F4/5/80} now,
       please.  Section 4.  This is "Correcting errors on
       Horizon and out of hours procedures":
           "Errors found when checking reports before
           What is "cut-off" there?
   A.  It is when you actually just cut off the report,
       I think.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Sorry, what?
   A.  Cut off the report.  You actually tell the system you
       want to cut the report off.  It was actually a term.
   MR GREEN:  Is that --
   A.  Can I just have a quick look at this?
   Q.  Please do.
   A.  Yes, it's when you actually cut off to say that is what
       is included in that report.  So it's just the start to
       finish and then you go on to a different report, so it
       means you just cut off at that point.
   Q.  This is about how to correct errors that you have found,
       isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Not errors that you haven't found?
   A.  No.
   Q.  Nor errors that you have tried to find and can't find?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Let's go forward to 2006, please --
   A.  Sorry, can I just say on this, this is 2001 I think we
       are referring to here, aren't we?
   Q.  2002, it appears to be.
   A.  So I think the important thing in this is when we
       introduced Horizon at that time then we still had --
       everything pretty much was the same in branch other than
       we had the Horizon system to put things into, so all the
       dockets and all the paper, all the manual -- manual
       summary forms were the same as it had been before
       Horizon had been introduced.  So it is pretty much the
       same, other than there was an added step check in that
       the information had to be input into Horizon system.
   Q.  Let's go forward to {F3/49/1}, please.  This is 2006
       training and this is the "Introduction to Horizon
       Helpline".  We can't see what the Horizon jigsaw
       practical exercise is.  But if we go forward, please
       {F3/49/2}.  "Objectives":
           "To introduce and make you familiar with the Horizon
       equipment and basic operating instructions.
           "To ensure you are aware of and know when and how to
       use the Helpline."
           Then the speaking notes are:
           "Horizon is the name given by Post Office Limited to
       the equipment provided to all PO branches nationally, it
       is an automated system that is linked to a central
       system that aids customer service and balancing."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Certainly at this stage you would accept it is fairly
       basic, isn't it?
   A.  From the slides, yes.
   Q.  Look at the next page {F3/49/3}, "Horizon Workstation":
           "The processor.
           "The keyboard.
           "The monitor.
           "The bar code reader.
           "The counter printer.
           "The pin pad."
           And the presenter has to watch out because those
       bullets are coming individually:
           "When sitting at the workstation your chair should
       be adjusted to suit your needs ..."
           Then it explains what these items are to the
       subpostmaster or postmistress:
           "The processor.  This is the brains of the Horizon
       system and must never be switched off."
           Pause there.  Would it be a good idea to switch it
       off 25 times in one day?  It says there it should never
       be switched off.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It would be a bad idea to have it switched off 25 times
       in one day, wouldn't it?
   A.  It would be.
   Q.  "The keyboard.  This contains a magnetic card reader
       and also a smart card reader.
           "The bar code reader.  We use this to read and
       record information from bar codes."
           So this is giving some helpful information to
       subpostmasters and subpostmistresses about how it works.
           "The bar code reader should never be pointed at
       a person's eyes because the light can induce a seizure."
           "The counter printer.  We use this to produce
       customer receipts and also to print counter reports,
       should be switched off at the end of the day.
           "The pin pad.  This is used by the customer to enter
       PIN numbers to allow them to withdraw cash from their
       accounts ..."
           It is quite basic, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Go to the next page {F3/49/4} to see what "The back room
       printer" looks like:
           "We use this to produce our weekly reports and also
       daily for our foreign currency exchange rates."
           Then "User names and passwords" is next {F3/49/5}.
       And over the page {F3/49/6}, another "User names and
       passwords" one.  Then the "Postmaster memory card" is
       next {F3/49/7}.
           Then a practical exercise {F3/49/8} and:
           "Trainees to log on to BB, using own user name and
           "Guide the delegates through the first exercise,
       then let them complete the remainder."
           Can you help the court as to what that might have
       been, the exercise?  Perhaps selling some stamps or ...?
   A.  Possibly, yes.
   Q.  Then the next page {F3/49/9} is the next section of the
       training.  We have moved on to the Helpline now.
           Then the next slide {F3/49/10}:
           "Every branch has ..."
           And then there is the list of things that they have.
       It is explained in one line there:
           "Everyone has a responsibility to keep these
       up-to-date and to familiarise themselves with the
       operating instructions."
           Then the next slide {F3/49/11} has a phone number on
       it, and:
           "Trainer to discuss different options at the
           Can you help the court as to how detailed that would
       have been?
   A.  They have the two helplines on there.  So the
       conversation or the training would have been around the
       NBSC, which is your helpline to do with your branch,
       your transactions, any queries to do with that,
       including balancing.  The HR service centre would be any
       queries to do with your postmaster pay or your
       allowances, that is where they get that type of help
   Q.  I see.  Over the page {F3/49/12}, "Objectives Achieved":
           "You are now familiar with the Horizon equipment and
       basic operating instructions.
           "You are now aware of and know when and how to use
       the Helpline (NBSC)."
           And apart from the "Any Questions" slide, that is
       it.  But that is not actually going to help
       a subpostmistress or subpostmaster in relation to the
       sorts of issues that this litigation is concerned with,
       is it?
   A.  So the slide you have there would be the prompts for the
       trainers.  They would have more detailed information
       themselves to make -- to bring that to life, because it
       was not so much what was on the slides, it was all about
       how they used the system in the classroom, and how they
       served and how they used it.  So there would have been
       a lot more discussion and information.
   Q.  There is one specifically on stock balancing.  That is
       {F3/51/1}.  If we go over the page {F3/51/2},
           "To gain an understanding of the basic principles of
           "To balance a stock unit."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then over the page {F3/51/3}:
           "Cash and stock ..."
           It is all relatively basic, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then if we go over the page again {F3/51/4}:
           "We will now complete a stock unit balance ...
           "Trainer to talk delegates through the first
           Then at the bottom in capitals:
           "Inform delegates that they must sign the print-out
       weekly (keep 2 years) and the BTS statement monthly ..."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Next slide {F3/51/5} is "Objectives Achieved":
           "You now have an understanding of the basic
       principles of balancing.
           You can now balance a stock unit."
           You would accept, wouldn't you, that this is fairly
       basic stuff compared to the difficulties they would
       encounter --
   A.  Could you go back one slide.
   Q.  {F3/51/4}.  Certainly.
   A.  What it refers to is the handout for balance, so they
       would have further information available to them to take
       them through the balance, and they would have done that
       on days 5, 8 and 10, so they would have been more
       in-depth than what the slides are suggesting.
   Q.  Let's look at the balance procedure handout that we have
       from July 2006 {F4/18/1}.  At the top just under the
       capitals, it says:
           "You can prepare for balancing throughout the day in
       order to save time later.  This should only be done at
       quiet times and should not impact customer service."
           Then 1 is:
           "Check outstanding transaction corrections."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it says:
           "Outstanding transaction corrections must be
       resolved before the end of the trading period."
           That is right?
   A.  That is correct.
   Q.  Then 4:
           "Print a balance snapshot."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then at the bottom:
           "Using this balance snapshot you produced, carefully
       check figures.
           "Check all receipt and payment transaction totals
       with the supporting vouchers/documentation.  It is wise
       to check all transactions.  The more you check, the less
       chance that you will incur transaction correction
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And just underneath that:
           "Check the snapshot carefully against the actual
       stock in your office, ensuring that the system held
       stock figures match your actual stockholdings.  If there
       are any major differences, it is advisable to recheck
       that item of stock."
           That is helpful guidance if someone has the wrong
       number of books of stamps beside them?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it is helpful guidance if, on the face of the
       transaction documents themselves, they can find the
       problem.  But beyond that, this in itself doesn't help,
       does it?
   A.  It takes them through the process, and then if they are
       unable to locate or rectify then part of the training
       would be, which is why the help desk is on the training,
       that is your obvious port of call for your queries.
   Q.  So that is crucial?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Look at 5 now, a slightly different point, how to amend
       stock discrepancies.  This may be a procedure familiar
       to a number of people in the room:
           "To reduce stockholdings.  Transactions (F1) - serve
       customer - then sell the difference between your figures
       and the systems figures ... This will alter your system
       figure ..."
           For the number of stamps you actually have.  And to
       increase stockholdings reverse the transactions.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Now, those are not actually transactions that the
       subpostmaster or subpostmistress has actually done.
       They haven't actually served a customer, have they?
   A.  In the classroom they would have gone through dummy
   Q.  Yes.  But this is the procedure that everyone uses?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it is standard training.  What you do is you put in
       a fake transaction, without a customer actually buying
       stamps, to make your stock tally?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Subpostmasters and subpostmistresses were being
       instructed to introduce into the Horizon record
       transactions of them having sold things to people that
       they hadn't actually sold, weren't they?
   A.  So what the guide is doing here is if you -- yes, so if
       your information is incorrect, then rather than adjust
       your stock, then if you have less -- sorry, I will start
           If you needed to reduce your stockholdings to align
       with what the system tells you to what you have got,
       then yes, it would ask you to sell it through the system
       because you have forgotten to put it through.  That is
       what that is saying.  And if you just amended your stock
       then you wouldn't get credit for selling the stamps.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Why is it saying you have to --
   A.  Sorry?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Why in the worked example for reduced
       stockholdings does it say you have to have forgotten?
   A.  What you do at this point is when you are balancing, you
       are basically counting your stock on hand, the physical
       stock that you have in your branch to match with what
       the system is telling you that you have, and the
       difference would be that if you have more stock than --
       if you have -- sorry, reduced the stockholdings that you
       would have sold, and that is what it is telling you to
       do, is to adjust.  So whether you needed to reduce your
       stockholdings or increase your stockholdings it is just
       telling you to put it through the system.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I can see that is what it is telling me.
       But if you look at "To reduce stockholdings", I think
       the example given in brackets, do you just want to talk
       me through what that training is telling the postmaster
       or postmistress to do.
   A.  So what it's saying, if you go to the example, it says
       the system thinks you have 225 first-class stamps and
       you actually have 221, which means you have four
       difference.  And then what it is telling you to do is to
       go in and sell the difference to bring your system in
       line with your stock.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  When you say "sell", you mean use the F1
       functions as though you were serving somebody.
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Even though there isn't a Mr Bloggs or
       Mrs Bloggs in fact buying those stamps, is that right?
   A.  Yes, because it would adjust.  So it would adjust your
       figures in the branch then to rectify what you have got
       on hand.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If Mr Bloggs or Mrs Bloggs in real life
       turned up and asked to buy those four stamps, they would
       be handing the money over, wouldn't they, and they would
       be being given the stamps?
   A.  Yes, they would.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  So by doing what is suggested there --
   A.  Yes, it would adjust --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  -- the stamps side of the transaction
       occurs but the money doesn't come in from
       Mr or Mrs Bloggs, is that right?
   A.  That is correct.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I understand.
           Thank you, Mr Green.
   MR GREEN:  If there has been a mistake in sending stock out
       to the branch and too few stamps have been sent out, the
       subpostmaster hasn't spotted that when it comes in --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- and they do this transaction, what then happens is
       they become liable for the cash difference, do they?
   A.  No, because they would have booked in the amount of
       stock that they had.
   Q.  But if they haven't noticed the fact that the stock is
       short, has been delivered ...
   A.  So what you are saying is they would have booked in from
       the slip that they would receive to say how much -- and
       taken it off that reading, rather than actually
       physically checking the stock, is that what you're
   Q.  If when they check the stock --
   A.  They haven't checked the stock.
   Q.  -- they check the stock and they make a mistake in
       the sense that they don't pick up Post Office's
       mistake --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- in sending them the wrong amount of stock?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then this way of correcting it will suggest on the
       Horizon records that stamps that they never in fact
       received have been sold?
   A.  It would, yes.
   Q.  And that will then turn into a shortfall in their cash
       account because there wouldn't have been
       a Mr or Mrs Bloggs handing over the money and they will
       then be liable for that shortfall, would they?
   A.  If they hadn't noticed the mistake, then yes.  Because
       what they have done is they have booked in an amount
       of stock they haven't received, because what --
       obviously what they are meant to do is check to make
       sure that is correct when it comes into the branch and
       on to the system.  So in that scenario then, tracking
       back, if they had remembered what they had booked in,
       then they would check with the stock unit to see whether
       the stock unit had equally had a mistake.
   Q.  But it is fair to say that Post Office is also at fault
       if it sends out the wrong amount --
   A.  Yes, it would be --
   Q.  -- and tells the subpostmaster or subpostmistress the
       wrong amount?
   A.  The process of booking in and booking out, whether that
       is into a branch or into a cash or stock unit, would be
       that you check out -- you check, physically check what
       you send out and you physically check what you receive
       in.  So in that scenario there would have to have been
       two mistakes not for it to be noticed.
   Q.  If it is the other way around and the subpostmaster
       makes a mistake and the Post Office doesn't notice it,
       is that Post Office's fault entirely?
   A.  Sorry, if the -- sorry, if the postmaster makes
       a mistake ...
   Q.  And Post Office doesn't notice the mistake, whose fault
       is that then?
   A.  I would say it is on both parts.
   Q.  On your understanding of section 12(12), who would be
       responsible for that?
   A.  For what?  For making the mistake?
   Q.  For any loss that resulted.
   A.  If the loss hadn't been identified outside of the branch
       then it would have been the branch because they would
       have been required to check stock in and out.  It would
       have shown up in their accounts.
   Q.  Just to get it right, the branch is responsible when it
       sends it out and Post Office doesn't spot it, but then
       if Post Office send the wrong thing to the branch, and
       the branch doesn't spot their mistake, it is again the
       branch?  Both times?
   A.  What I am saying is that unless -- Post Office wouldn't
       be able to identify where that loss was, necessarily,
       unless they spotted the error themselves from the stock
       unit.  And section 12 doesn't refer to the stock unit.
       So in that respect then the branch would be showing
       a loss, if it were a loss.  It could equally be a gain
       and then it would be at the branch level, yes.
   Q.  Then just going back to the document we were looking at,
       if we scroll forward {F4/18/2}.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That document we have just been looking
       at, could that be a laminated thing?  One of the
       claimant witnesses said he had an A4 laminated guide.
   A.  It could be.  The handouts are very often handed out to
       take away, to keep in branch.
   MR GREEN:  The emphasis of this is on effectively the
       subpostmaster or postmistress checking things themselves
       a lot, isn't it?
   A.  Yes, it would be.
   Q.  If we look at {F4/18/5} at the end of that:
           "All of the above information is subject to change.
       Please refer to Operational Focus or telephone the
       [hotline] for the current status."
           How often did Operational Focus come out?
   A.  Operational Focus was the one before Branch Focus, if
       I remember.  I believe at that time it would have
       been -- I'm not sure, because it went -- I'm not sure
       actually what that frequency would have been.  Because
       we used to have Counter News, which I think was monthly.
       So it's in between weekly and monthly but I can't be
   Q.  Let's go forward, if we may, now.  You were aware, given
       what you knew of the training that subpostmasters were
       getting, that training was an issue as at, for example,
       2013, weren't you?
   A.  Sorry, at 2013?
   Q.  As at 2013, at least then you were aware that training
       was an issue, weren't you?
   A.  Some people would be saying it was an issue but not in
   Q.  Let's have a little look at the spreadsheet of feedback,
       if we can.  {F3/125/17}.  On the first page -- sorry,
       can we go to page {F3/125/1}, start there to give you
       context.  You can see "Name", "Class/on site/PTC".  What
       does PTC stand for?
   A.  Sorry, I don't recall.
   Q.  Then "Comments".  These appear to be trainers or the
       training teams?
   A.  These are -- I remember these people, yes.
   Q.  You remember these people.  They are trainers?
   A.  Yes, these are the team leaders.
   Q.  If we look at David Patrick.  You can see the second
           "Eight days.  Too much to cover in the eight days,
       but the new delegates do struggle to take all on board
       with the timetable sessions."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we go forward, I will just give you some examples.
       If we go forward to page {F3/125/10}, it says:
           "Classroom should be made a specialist, that is not
       to say that no one else should ever do it.  All should
       be given the opportunity to cover if necessary.  We feel
       it gets watered down if it is not done for a while and
       this is not fair on the delegates."
           "Train the trainer?  Quality needs to be good.
       Subpostmasters are investing a lot of money and poor
       training has a knock-on effect when it comes to
       an audit."
           That is a fair observation, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.  So my understanding -- and I haven't -- I don't
       recall seeing this document before, but the 2011 date
       was as we were going into the NT programme, I believe,
       and this was -- the pilot they were looking at is
       reviewing the training to make sure it was appropriate
       and sufficient for the new operating models.
           And when it says:
           "Classroom should be made a specialist ..."
           So this was -- the training was done by individuals
       who were multi-skilled in audit and training, and
       what -- the point they are making here is that depending
       on the individual, they might have a particular leaning
       to training or to audit, and not familiar if not doing
       it all the time is what he's saying.  It can be --
       "watered down" I think is the word they said, was it?
   Q.  Let's have a look, if we may, at page {F3/125/12}.  At
       the top of the page:
           "Follow-up visit sooner to ensure weaknesses shown
       on site can be corrected sooner rather than later,
       ie ATM, lottery, sales, cash management.  Possible
       reduction in number of interventions required."
           That is a sensible suggestion, isn't it, to try and
       catch --
   A.  Sooner rather than later --
   Q.  -- on site sooner.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then come down to the third group of entries:
           "Course timetable too tight.  Needs to be 9 days
       split 7 and 2.  No proper evaluation on how delegate has
       understood or performed during the course."
           Do you accept that is a fair observation?
   A.  My understanding was that each had an evaluation.  So
       the trainer, when they deliver the training, would
       make-there would be a summary of points that -- and it
       would be done in conjunction with the person being
       trained of areas they felt they still needed further
       training on.  And that would be followed through then or
       focused on more when they go on site.
   Q.  The next thing says:
           "Extend to 7 or 9 days to allow more time for
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look in the next batch:
           "Timetable needs looking at especially if full
       course and slow learners.  Not enough practicals."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Were you aware of this sort of feedback in 2011?
   A.  In terms of the individual feedback, I don't recall
       exactly, but I would have been aware of looking at the
       training to make sure it is sufficient going into the
       new operating models for Locals and Mains which would be
       around about this time.
   Q.  Let's look at the next one down:
           "Found timetable very restricting, no real time for
       lengthy questions or lack of understanding by delegates.
           "Mails on first day a bit heavy as not a lot of time
       given to practising with HOL.
           "Business awareness needs to be earlier to ensure
       delegates know what is at stake for them and the
       business as it is a partnership."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The perception of trainers is that they are trying to
       train people how to work together with Post Office,
       isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then:
           "More practicals needed to make balancing and end of
       day more realistic."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  These were all things that really needed to be done in
       the eyes of the trainers, weren't they?
   A.  Yes, that was the whole point of -- what I can
       understand from -- this is a pilot, yes.
   Q.  Let's look at page {F3/125/17}.  David Patrick's
       feedback on the right-hand side.  He is talking about
       the two days:
           "... I found the sessions very rushed and only gave
       a very brief overview with no real depth."
           Next entry:
           "One of my delegates suggested the Minimum Standard
       Conversation would have been useful if they had had it
       sent to them with the distance learning pack so they
       would be able to look at it in advance so as to see what
       they would be doing when we cover the perfect branch."
           Then the next one down, second line:
           "Previously with the old course we covered a course
       on day 5 which gave an indication of how the delegates
       understood the transactions and the course, which also
       meant that any weak areas could be forwarded to the
       onsite trainer.  The same with day 7 and 8, there is no
       test to show if the delegates have understood the
           That is suggesting that a change had been made that
       was slightly worse, isn't it?  At least in the eyes of
       the trainer?
   A.  From that, yes.  Yes.  Which would have been the whole
       point of getting the feedback, because it is a pilot.
   Q.  And some of the people these people were training were
       SPMs, weren't they?
   A.  They would have been, yes.
   Q.  One suggestion at the very bottom of the page:
           "It would be nice to have a CA to sit in on the
       session to see how delegates are doing on the course but
       understand they are busy but we have to pick up the
       pieces when they are struggling."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "Overall, my main changes would be to have a 10 day
       course as before and having day 2 on all sales
           Then at the end:
           "Also to have a test on both day 5 and day 10 so we
       know how well the delegates have done and it also gives
       the CTC trainer an idea on how the course went."
           So as at that stage there were various issues being
       raised about how suitable the course then being proposed
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That is fair?
   A.  That is fair.
   Q.  I think on page 20, last one {F3/125/20}, second
       paragraph, halfway down:
           "I was very aware this course was still
       a one-size-fits-all type of course aimed more towards
       the Crown office branches.  All of this might of course
       be changed with the network changes, even so, SPMR of
       main PO branches are not the same as counter assistants
       in a Crown Office.  My feeling is there should be
       a course written completely from scratch that is aimed
       specifically at someone who will have to run a branch by
       themselves after a couple of weeks or so.  As
       a for instance, we could have rems more fully."
           Then at the bottom:
           "As to the audit ..."
           On the right-hand side, the first line:
           "... again this is good as it picks up any problems.
       However, would it not be better to do a compliance audit
       at the 3 month visit and use the actual audit at the
       6 month stage to gauge whether any gaps have been
       closed?  This can then be seen not so much as finding
       fault but as part of the training and support.  Most new
       PMs want to have a well run, compliant branch and will
       take this seriously."
           That is a fair observation as well, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So that is the 2011 picture.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Before you go to the next document,
       I have on eye on the clock for the shorthand writers.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, is that a convenient moment?
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think it probably is.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, is it possible that we might be able to
       sit very shortly after 4.30 pm?  I'm doing my best.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is this to finish this witness?
   MR GREEN:  Just to finish completely if I possibly can.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I am sure Mrs Van Den Bogerd would
       rather finish today rather than come back.
   MR GREEN:  I would prefer her not to leave her bound over.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is sensible.  Yes, but not
       unlimited for obvious reasons, not least the witness
           So we will have a ten-minute break.  The usual
   (3.29 pm)
                         (A short break)
   (3.40 pm)
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, if you are going to finish
       shortly after 4.30 pm with the witness, you have to
       remember you need to factor in enough time for
       Mr Cavender's re-examination.
   MR GREEN:  I will do my best.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  The timetable has the witness coming
       back tomorrow.
   MR GREEN:  If I can't do it sensibly I will say, but I will
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Well, you might be able to finish at
       4.30 pm but Mr Cavender might have twenty minutes'
   MR GREEN:  Indeed, my Lord.
           Mrs Van Den Bogerd, the point that I was putting to
       you, the overall point I was putting to you earlier was
       that you were aware by the latest 2013 that there were
       some fairly serious issues with the quality of training
       being provided, weren't you?
   A.  Not from that document we just looked at, because that
       was a pilot to look at what course we should put
       in place going forward.
   Q.  Can you tell his Lordship whether or not you were aware
       of inadequacies in training by 2013?
   A.  Not generally.  There had been some -- from my
       involvement with the initial mediation scheme there had
       been some issues raised, and there would be some
       requests for follow-up training from NBSC into the
       Helpline.  But more broadly I can't recall that there
       was a wholesale problem with training.
   Q.  Let's have a look at {F3/173/1}, please.  "Operations
       Board Action - Training Approaches into the Network".
       Go over the page, you will see it is a two-page document
       {F3/173/2} authored by Julie Thomas on 2 August 2013.
       Do you know Julie Thomas?
   A.  I do.
   Q.  Does she work with you?
   A.  No, and I'm not sure what role she would have been in
       2013 either.  She works in the network now, she wasn't
       there then.
   Q.  Let's look at what she says on the previous page
           "A recent incident occurred as a result of two major
       product changes with training implications going live on
       the same date.  This incident has exposed an issue with
       the quality of training, in particular workbook based
       training and our capacity planning processes.
           "This issue was raised at a recent ops board and as
       a result a small working group was formed comprising
       people within network most involved in designing
       training, communications, L&D from within HR and network
           What is the ops board?
   A.  In 2013 the ops board was -- it was a board set up
       between the different areas of network to look at things
       happening in the operations.  So performance, it would
       be sales performance, but also process -- or training as
       this would be.  So the ops board that we would looked at
       earlier, which would have been 2017, that was a slightly
       different make up to this board, as I recall.
   Q.  Let's have a quick look on this page, "Who currently
       designs training materials?":
           "This is where the working group found the biggest
       issue in that there is no prescribed group who have the
       capability to write training material or are officially
       recognised as training suppliers within POL."
           Were you aware of that issue at the time?
   A.  I wasn't particularly aware of that at that time.
   Q.  Let's look down at the bottom:
           "A clear opportunity exists for people involved in
       training and design to be identified and given:
           "(a) a clear template to follow which ensures the
       training is simple, on brand, clearly states the purpose
       of the training and is easy to follow the transactional
           Do you see that?
   A.  Uh-huh.
   Q.  Were you aware of that concern?
   A.  The concern that I was aware of at this point is that
       training was being delivered by different teams across
       the organisation rather than having an overarching
       control or view on training, and that is different now
       as it was then.
   Q.  So you were in fact aware of the broad thrust of what
       was being said at least about there being no dedicated
       training team?
   A.  Yes, at this point there were different training teams.
       So the training that was given, which is induction,
       initial training, there was a dedicated team which is
       the field based team.  But we also had other training
       teams across the business delivering certain perhaps
       products which was different to the initial training
       provided to new people into the business.
   Q.  {F3/173/2} over the page, "Conclusion and
           "The quality and quantity of training materials
       being launched in the network is an issue currently."
           And at the bottom:
           "A new sign-off board to be established to ensure
       quality and user friendliness going forward without
       risking the reputational brand of the Post Office."
           Do you know if such a board was established?
   A.  I don't believe the board was established.  If it was
       I wasn't aware.  But there was a different -- so after
       this point I am not sure exactly when we did amalgamate
       some of the training teams into a more central team.
   Q.  Let's go forward briefly {F3/195/1}.  This is
       a spreadsheet.  If you come down to the second large
       cell under "Issue":
           "Camelot training on the lottery is done on a formal
       face-to-face basis with 78 per cent of new offices
       scoring this aspect of the training as good.  Only
       0.8 per cent said they required further training.
       Horizon training of new operators who are existing
       postmasters is done via workbooks and instruction
       manual.  65.8 per cent of new offices surveyed stated
       they needed more training on Horizon.  Only
       15.38 per cent scored the training as good."
           This document is in 2014, August, 2014.  Were those
       figures brought to your attention?
   A.  No.
   Q.  Look on the right-hand side, please, under "Progress":
           "Joe to agree completion date with Michael.  Liaise
       with branch support programme."
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Where are you reading?
   MR GREEN:  The right-hand box under "Progress".
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Thank you.
   MR GREEN:  Who was leading the branch support programme?
   A.  Gayle Peacock was leading that for me at the time, so
       she would have been aware of it from (inaudible).
   Q.  Gayle Peacock was the practical lead under you, wasn't
   A.  She was, yes.
   Q.  It says, item 3:
           "Advised not to proceed by Gayle Peacock branch
       support.  Delayed until new year.  Programme ongoing so
       workshop is still on hold."
           Do you know what that was about?
   A.  I don't recall, I am afraid.
   Q.  Did she report any of these concerns back to you?
   A.  Not that I can remember.
   Q.  It would be quite helpful for you to know that, wouldn't
       it, that two-thirds of those surveyed in the first box
       said they needed more training on Horizon and only 1/7th
       scored the training as good?
   A.  Sorry, can we scroll back to the left.  Do you mind if
       we go back to the left.
           So this is really in relation to lottery, then, if
       I am reading that correctly.
   Q.  It appears to relate to Camelot losses at the top, and
       two aspects of the training, one is Camelot training
       which is dealt with first, seems to be quite good, and
       then Horizon training, not so good.
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  No one told you that?
   A.  So I do remember conversations about how we deliver
       lottery training.  I can't remember the detail.
   Q.  It wasn't very satisfactory, that is what you remember,
       isn't it?
   A.  What I am reading from this is Gayle was to agree a new
       date, and I don't recall why -- what the date was.  This
       document was dated when, sorry?
   Q.  That document was August 2014.
   A.  August 2014.  Can I go across the timescales, just go
       across a little bit more, please.
   Q.  To the right.  (Pause)
           I don't want to dwell too much on --
   A.  It doesn't tell me much more anyway.
   Q.  -- I have quite a lot to get through.
   A.  Yes, okay.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mrs Van Den Bogerd, counsel said to you:
       do you remember that it wasn't very satisfactory?  And
       then you started asking about the document.  So
       I don't know what the answer is to his question.
   A.  I think -- my recollection, and I don't recall an awful
       lot, if I am honest, is that lottery was still
       concerning to us because of the number of errors that we
       were having with lottery.  But I can't recall exactly
       what we did about it so I can't comment any further.
       But Gayle was working for me at that point and would
       have been dealing with it.
   MR GREEN:  Because one of the things that doesn't really
       come out of your witness statement is the internal
       recognition of such problems as you did have and what
       steps, if any, were or were not taken to address them.
       Is that fair?
   A.  In part, yes.  There were things -- in terms of training
       more broadly, one of the steps that did come out and is
       in my witness statement is that I introduced online
       training as part of the induction training, initial
       training in 2015, which was one of the big steps to make
       sure that we had, you know, in the training advanced,
       that it was an additional step.  Do the online training,
       do the classroom training, do the onsite and have the
       follow ups to have a much more comprehensive view.  So
       that is one of the things that is mentioned in there,
       but I haven't --
   Q.  Sorry.  Let's look at {G/36/1}, please.  That is
       the 2015 Second Sight report.  So they are reporting as
       at 9 April 2015 in this one.  If we go to page {G/36/10}
       please, paragraph 4.4:
           "In this context, the most commonly reported issue
       (complaints about training and support) has been raised
       by over 130 applicants, while the least reported issues
       ... were raised by fewer than 15 ..."
           So you knew that at least in the Second Sight
       reports training and support were fairly prominent,
       didn't you?
   A.  From the 130, yes, but in different degrees, yes, we
       were aware that it was being raised.
   Q.  Look at page {G/36/25}, please.  11.2:
           "We have been told by most applicants that whilst
       their basic training was probably adequate in regard to
       general 'business as usual' transaction processing, it
       was predominantly sales focused and weak in regard to
       end of day, end of week and in particular end of trading
       period balancing.  We have been advised by most
       applicants that there was little or no coverage of how
       to deal is with discrepancies, both surpluses and
       shortfalls, how to identify the root causes of recurring
       problems or how to deal with transaction corrections."
           Do you see that?
   A.  I do see that.
   Q.  That was drawn to your attention at that time, wasn't
   A.  It was, yes.
   Q.  Did you regard that as fair?
   A.  So what I did do was look at the individual issues that
       were being raised by the claimants and looked more
       broadly across the organisation.  So this was a very
       small number.  There were some areas of the training
       that we could improve and we did put some improvements
       into place at the time.
   Q.  Let's go forward {G/33/1}, please.  "Group Executive
       Agenda".  Present: Paula Vennells the chair, and in
       attendance you.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Then there is a large redacted section.  If we go to
       page {G/33/35}, please, "Branch Support Programme", that
       is your programme, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  That you mention in paragraph 15 of your witness
       statement.  The purpose of the paper is to:
           "... update the Post Office Executive Committee on
       improvements made to the support offered to postmasters
       as a result of the branch support programme."
           And the branch support programme is at least partly
       in response to what Second Sight were raising, is that
   A.  That is fair.
   Q.  "Improvements to Training", 2.1:
           "The content of the classroom training provided to
       new postmasters has been refreshed with more focus on:
           "Balancing and how to look for discrepancies when
       they occur within branch.
           "Contractual obligation regarding discrepancies that
       do occur and how to process discrepancies correctly.
           "Explanation of false accounting and the potential
           "A revised balancing guide has been introduced to
       help new postmasters balance their accounts correctly.
       This is a handout from the initial training provided to
       new postmasters and assistants where appropriate.
       A further best practice guide to identify discrepancies
       in branch has been introduced.  This is a handout at
       on-site training for new postmasters and follow-up
       visits where branches are experiencing balancing
           Was there any reason not to send that out to
   A.  Where it was -- so the trainers had their own supply and
       where it was deemed that people needed them they would
       be sent out.  I don't recall that we did send out -- we
       did send out other things like Horizon recovery process
       at the time, because that was deemed to be a problem for
       people.  So I don't recall if we did send it out or not
   Q.  The reality was these were things that were recognised
       as being inadequate in the previous training and which
       you were seeking to put right, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.  And it was at this stage particularly around the
       induction training, the new training.  Yes.
   Q.  If we go over the page to {G/33/36}, please.  Under
       "NBSC Improvements":
           "A new approach has been developed to analyse the
       calls received by NBSC to identify the root cause of the
       issue; to identify the solution for the branch in the
       first instance and implement wider business changes if
       appropriate, eg content of and method of delivering new
       product training."
           Two points to that.  There is a training implication
       there, isn't there, because you are learning from
       identifying what the root causes are?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  But it also recognises, doesn't it, that as it is a new
       approach, analysing calls received by NBSC to identify
       root cause of issue is something that hadn't been done
       or hadn't been done adequately before, is that fair?
   A.  It hadn't been done consistently.  There were occasions
       where it had been done but not consistently.
   Q.  Let's go forward, please, now to {F3/213/1}.  This
       document appears not to be a final version.  It has
       a note on the right-hand side at the top in red:
           "Note: where can they get this?"
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then "To reconcile", "To reconcile" is also in red
       but that may be part of what is intended.  Do you know
       what this document is?
   A.  I don't remember -- what date is this?  I don't recall.
       It is a quick guide to balancing, so ...
   Q.  I'm not sure we are sure.
   A.  Sometimes the working document looks quite different to
       when it is produced in the final version.
   Q.  We believe it is December 2015 but it is a Post Office
       document.  Does that make any sense to you?
   A.  It looks like one of the guides that we would have in
       the training pack or potentially used in branch, but
       without seeing it completely I wouldn't know.  It is
       intended to be a quick guide, which is one of the handy
       guides to just keep everyone ...
   Q.  I am being corrected, December 2014 it might be.  It is
       a handy guide but you would accept it doesn't give any
       detailed guidance on getting to the root cause of
       a discrepancy, for example --
   A.  Sorry, this is just more to step through the process.
   Q.  Just a balancing guide?
   A.  Yes, which is what it says, a guide to balancing.
   Q.  So just broadly there, the picture emerges from that
       sweep, I have tried to give you a fair sweep of the
       documents we have been able to identify.  The picture
       emerges there if individual subpostmasters said they had
       difficulties with applying the training they were given
       to sort out the problems we are concerned with, you can
       understand how that might have happened, is that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And if we move now to the Helpline, please {B3/2/28}.
       This is what Post Office says in its Generic Defence.
       At paragraph 62/1:
           "The Helpline's hours of operation have changed over
       time to meet demand and there have been periods where
       Helpline was more difficult to contact than in other
       periods.  It currently operates from 8 am to 8 pm on
       weekdays other than Wednesdays (the usual day for branch
       balancing) ..."
           And so forth.
           Let's just look at the first bit of that, the hours
       of operation have changed to meet demand and there have
       been periods where it is more difficult to contact.
       Just being fair minded -- and we can go to all the
       documents if we need to, but just see if I can do it
       compendiously.  The bottom line is if individual
       subpostmasters had some real difficulties actually
       getting through and getting helpful advice and following
       these things up, you can understand why?
   A.  On some occasions, yes, if there was a high influx of
       calls for a particular reason then it would have been
       busier than usual, yes.
   Q.  If we look at 62(2):
           "Helpline operators do not give script-based
           Do you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You remember from the Second Sight report that that was
       one of the issues that was raised.  If we briefly look
       at {G/20/7}.  In the interim report, do you see "script
       based" at item (h) at the top?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You can remember that was one of the issues that kept
       coming up in the Second Sight complaints about
       the Helpline.
           If we look at {G/28/28} this is in Post Office's
       response to Second Sight.  If we look at paragraph 9.8:
           "The Helpline does not use scripts.  The operators,
       many of whom are very experienced with Horizon, listen
       to the query and then use categorisations in Remedy, the
       contact management system.  The Post Office knowledge
       base is accessed where there are articles relating to
       that category of call.  The operator then selects the
       relevant article according to the issue raised by the
       caller and relays the information to them."
           In reality that is a script, isn't it?  Or it might
       fairly be described as a script?
   A.  The articles are effectively what is predominantly on
       the Horizon help, so it's all the contents there.  The
       script that people might refer to is because there is
       a degree of consistency of information, the answer to
       the question would be a certain way, particularly at
       tier one, and if there were difficulties then tier two
       would look at more specifics.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is reading out the information in
       an article any different to reading out a script?
   A.  So the article would -- I suppose the article would have
       more information in.  A script -- for me if I hear
       a script it means you stick to certain words.  That
       isn't quite what happens on the Helpline.  So there
       might be -- if you ask a certain question there might be
       just an absolute answer, but as that conversation
       expands there might be more information that will be
       given, so that isn't a script then.
   MR GREEN:  Let's look, if we may, at {G/8/4}.  This is the
       action point summary, just to orientate you, at the back
       of the payments mismatch document.  NBSC is the
       Helpline, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the details say:
           "Confirm NBSC scripts for receipts and payments."
   A.  Yes, that is the message around what is the answer to
       that question.  It doesn't mean they actually just read
       out from it, it is not a script, they are prescribed to
       read that and nothing else.
   Q.  Then the "HSD Script":
           "Confirm Horizon system desk script ..."
           So all I am suggesting to you is it is not an unfair
       description to call it a script, is it, when you call it
       a script yourself?
   A.  In here it is referred to -- these are the -- this is
       the answer to the question should they get calls.  What
       I am suggesting is they just don't stick to that.  As
       the conversation develops there would be different
   Q.  Let's -- sorry.
   A.  That is okay.
   Q.  Look at {G/93/4}.  Just to orientate you, this is in the
       email chain that was disclosed last week.  And if we
       look at the middle message, this is from
       Sharon Merryweather to Tracy Marshall:
           "Just had another chat to Sarah Barnett."
           Do you know who she is?
   A.  No.
   Q.  "She did receive a call from Susan Ellis, who did her
       best, but her reply was that they were waiting for new
       scripts to read to people in her situation who did not
       register their wish to sell before 1 April but now want
           This is in the context of someone seeking clarity on
       the status of their branch that for the future they were
       seeking to sell and wanted confirmation from
       Post Office.  So it's perfectly --
   A.  Sorry, this is for the NT Helpline.
   Q.  Indeed.
   A.  Not NBSC.
   Q.  Yes, so a different Helpline.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And Susan Ellis does her best but says she is waiting
       for a new script, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It's completely understandable that that is what she
       would have described it as?
   A.  Particularly in this context, yes.  Because there wasn't
       just a stock answer to whatever the situation was.
   Q.  So the reality is that whether you call them articles or
       scripts, that was how the Helpline operated, broadly?
   A.  In terms of the content -- what I am trying to say is
       that sticking to a script, how I perceive that is -- so
       if you ask me a question I am going to give you the
       answer, and if you ask me the question again I am going
       to give the same answer because I am -- that is not how
       the NBSC Helpline works.
   Q.  Can we have a look, please, at the Second Sight
       report -- the reply of Post Office to the Second Sight
       briefing report part 2 at {G/66/117}.  Can we look,
       please, going further back, if we may, to {G/66/147}
       which is in a section dealing with training and support.
       If you look at paragraph 33.
           Is it possible to show two documents at the same
       time?  Could we have paragraph 33 visible and at the
       same time show paragraph 107 of Mrs Van Den Bogerd's
       witness statement, please, which is page 31 {C2/1/31}.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It might be easier on the screen if you
       just ask the witness to turn to that paragraph.  You
       have it in hard copy?
   MR GREEN:  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Which paragraph?
   MR GREEN:  Paragraph 107.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  That is probably easier than having them
       both on the screen.
   A.  Yes.
   MR GREEN:  Paragraph 107 says:
           "From around the time Horizon was rolled out to
       2002, there was a move to classroom training being
       offered to new subpostmasters followed by around ten
       days of on-site training and support.  There would then
       be a follow-up balance."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  33:
           "Classroom training was offered to new
       subpostmasters followed by ten or eleven days of on-site
       training and support.  This was followed by one day of
       follow-up support on how to carry out balancing at the
       end of the trading period referred to as 'balance
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  They are quite similar.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Those paragraphs.
           If we can go over the page to {G/66/148},
       paragraph 34 corresponds to paragraph 108 of your
       witness statement, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the dates just above paragraph 34 have been inserted
       at the beginning of 108, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And we get:
           "Between five and ten days of classroom training was
       offered to new subpostmasters and five to ten days of
       on-site training and support was then given depending on
       whether the classroom training was attended."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "This would then be followed by a further day of
       follow-up balance support."
           That is identical, that one?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And 35 is the same as 109 and 110.  Yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And then paragraph 36 is the same as -- largely the same
       as paragraph 103.
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  Apart from that first sentence.  You see:
           "A subpostmaster may choose not to attend training
       or only attend part of a training session ..."
           It is identical?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  So quite a lot of your witness statement has been taken
       from previous authored documents, hasn't it?
   A.  That I provided the information for, yes.  This is my
   Q.  And this document that we are looking at here is the
       Post Office's response to the mediation scheme?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it pre-dated any of the detailed matters which had
       been pleaded and raised in these proceedings, didn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  What thought did you give to updating some of those
       passages before including them from previous documents
       that Post Office had advanced?
   A.  I would have -- if I thought I had given incorrect
       information previously I would have updated but I don't
       recollect that there has been changes, or if there have
       I have missed them.  This is my recollection of the
       information that I pulled together then.
   Q.  Can I now turn to a couple of points in relation to
       section 12(12) and you deal with this at paragraph 98 of
       your witness statement {C2/1/29}.
           You say:
           "No one truly expects an IT system to be perfect but
       they would expect it to be robust and for Post Office to
       have in place reasonable processes for detecting and
       correcting any problems."
           As to that last point, you would say that people
       would expect Post Office to have in place a reasonable
       process for detecting and correcting any problems,
       wouldn't they?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And where there is a possibility that an error has not
       been caused by a subpostmaster and the sums in issue are
       quite significant, those processes would have to be, not
       just perhaps reasonable processes, but careful ones?  Is
       that fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  In trying to identify what has actually gone wrong and
       get to the root cause of something, in a relationship
       like this both Post Office and subpostmaster are
       entitled to expect openness, transparency and
       co-operation, aren't they?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And the subpostmaster or subpostmistress is entitled to
       expect fair dealing from Post Office?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And that is something Post Office would expect to
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  If we look at {G/13/1} please.  This is a document about
       the local suspense problem.  So it is not the payments
       mismatch one, it's a different one.
   A.  Okay.
   Q.  Do you know about this problem?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  It is raised in Second Sight's interim report, I think.
       If we look at the bottom of page {G/13/2} do you see:
           "The problem was not reported to Fujitsu in 2011/12
       and only affected a small number of branches and only
       for a single trading period.  However, it was reported
       to Post Office Limited who could see the impact of the
       problem in their back end system and wrote off the loss
       for the branch but did not ask Fujitsu to investigate
           Pausing there, you would accept that having a robust
       system necessarily involves trying to investigate the
       root causes of errors when they occur?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And if we look just below that:
           "At the same trading period 2012/13 the problem
       reoccurred and this time one of affected branches
       reported the problem to Fujitsu on 25 February 2013
       resulting in a detailed analysis of this issue and
       finding the orphaned BTS records.  The root cause was
       determined by 28 February 2013 and a preliminary report
       was sent to Post Office Limited.  A further update was
       sent on 14 March 2013 with a full analysis of the issue
       and all the affected branches."
           So the short point is that, if you don't actually
       bother to investigate, things can recur again, can't
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And that rather supports the evidence you have fairly
       accepted; that it is essential to have a robust system
       to investigate the root causes of problems?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You would accept that the robustness of Horizon is
       dependent upon the proper investigation of those root
       causes --
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  -- because it cannot be ensured without it, can it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  One of the things you have suggested in your witness
       statement at paragraph 142 {C2/1/39} is that there is no
       transaction that enters the subpostmasters' or
       subpostmistresses' accounts without their consent.  Do
       you see that?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  You were here for the evidence of Mrs Dar.  Do you
       remember when she became very upset in the witness box?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And Margaret Guthrie doing the audit had generated
       a shortfall of some £977 I think from memory?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  She called the Helpline and couldn't actually resolve
       that there and then.  You wouldn't say that the
       transaction by which £977 had apparently appeared as
       a loss was a transaction entered by Mrs Dar at that
       stage, would you?
   A.  No.
   Q.  It was Mrs Guthrie?
   A.  It was Mrs Guthrie, yes.
   Q.  You wouldn't say that the transaction data in
       the payments mismatch document was transaction data in
       that sense, reflecting accurately the transactions
       entered by subpostmasters or subpostmistresses, would
   A.  No.
   Q.  And in the case of Mr Abdulla, when one of his
       transaction corrections was accepted on his terminal by
       an auditor whilst he was in Dubai, that wouldn't be
       a transaction that enters his accounts with his consent,
       would it?
   A.  Not if he was in Dubai.
   Q.  No --
   A.  But it would have been identified against the audit at
       the time.
   Q.  So there are essentially two aspects to this: one is the
       mechanical aspect and the other is the human aspect.
       Can we look, please, at {F4/73/1}.  This is a Horizon
       Online article from March 2011.  Do you see:
           "Disputing a transaction correction.
           "If you want to dispute a transaction correction you
       should contact the person who sent you the transaction
       correction as soon as possible."
           Do you see that?
   A.  Sorry, where are you on the screen?
   Q.  Halfway down -- sorry.  {F4/73/3}.  Sorry, I didn't say
       the third page.  Do you see "Disputing a transaction
   A.  I am there now, yes.
   Q.  I do apologise, Mrs Van Den Bogerd:
           "If you want to dispute a transaction correction you
       should contact the person who sent you the transaction
       correction as soon as possible."
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  "You may be asked to give more information.  If your
       dispute is accepted, a compensating transaction
       correction will be sent to you."
           Then there is an appeal process.  It is a little bit
       like a grievance policy, isn't it?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  The employer in the employment situation, or in this
       case perhaps Post Office as the principal, as you have
       pointed out, has the power to decide this?  Yes?
   A.  Yes.  This process is the relationship manager looks
       into it to see --
   Q.  Yes, but it is rather like you and I have an agreement
       and I agree that, if there is a problem between us, you
       will be the judge.
   A.  Yes.  But -- yes.  Taking the evidence into account,
   Q.  So that really sharpens the trust that the subpostmaster
       or subpostmistress has to place in Post Office, doesn't
   A.  In expecting that process to be carried out properly,
       then yes.
   Q.  Investigations have to be full and fair?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And it has to be conscientiously considered?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  In good faith, yes?
   A.  Yes.
   Q.  And affording the subpostmaster or subpostmistress
       reasonable access to information that they need to make
       out their side of the argument?
   A.  Yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mr Green, there is probably a limit to
       the utility of exploring matters like good faith.
   MR GREEN:  I am grateful.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Because that expression, as was
       demonstrated when Mr Cavender was doing his oral
       opening, can mean different things depending on whether
       you are reading Chitty or not.
   MR GREEN:  Indeed.  Yes, my Lord, that is a good point.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is there a realistic chance of you
       finishing this witness in the next five minutes?  She is
       an important witness and she has already been in
       the witness box the entire day.  I'm not pushing you to
   MR GREEN:  I understand, and my learned friend may have some
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  It is only fair that he has a proper
       time to re-examine.  He might not want to or he might
       want to spend two minutes.  I might also have some
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.  I'm not going to finish within
       five minutes.  It might shorten the time I spend --
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I think, out of fairness, if you are not
       going to finish in five minutes, you need to look for
       the next convenient break and then the witness will have
       to come back tomorrow.
   MR GREEN:  I will do one last topic.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  I know you find it difficult to rein
       yourself in when you feel you're on a roll.
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, perhaps, in fairness to the witness, now
       might be a convenient moment, if that is not
       inconvenient to the court.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Mrs Van Den Bogerd, I don't want you to
       think I am needlessly dragging you back tomorrow, but
       I don't want you to be rushed at the end of the day.
       I also don't want Mr Cavender to feel he hasn't got long
       enough to re-examine you, and also I know I have
       a couple of questions.  So I am going to ask you to come
       back tomorrow.  Hopefully it won't be for very long.
       But a whole day is quite a long time to be
       cross-examined, particularly when at lunchtime you are
       asked to look through a witness statement on another
       part of the case.
           So we are going to stop now.  10.30 am?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Still on track?
   MR GREEN:  My Lord, yes.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Good.  I'm going to ask you to come back
       tomorrow and, as before, please don't discuss the case
       with anyone overnight.
           Anything else?  Nothing outstanding?
   MR CAVENDER:  My Lord, there is another witness statement
       you asked for.  I'm not sure you have a copy.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  Is this the 12th Mr Parsons?
   MR CAVENDER:  Indeed.
   MR JUSTICE FRASER:  If you just hand that up.  (Handed)
           Thank you all very much.  10.30 am tomorrow.
   (4.25 pm)
        (The court adjourned until 10.30 am on Wednesday,
                        21 November 2018)

   MRS ANGELA MARGARET VAN DEN BOGERD ...................1

                Cross-examination by MR GREEN (continued) ........1

Day 1 transcript - Wed 7 November - Opening arguments
Day 2 transcript - Thu 8 November - Claimants: Alan Bates, Pam Stubbs part 1
Day 3 transcript - Mon 12 November - Pam Stubbs part 2, Mohammad Sabir
Day 4 transcript - Tue 13 November - Naushad Abdulla, Liz Stockdale
Day 5 transcript - Wed 14 November - Louise Dar
Day 6 transcript - Thu 15 November - Post Office: Nick Beal, Paul Williams
Day 7 transcript - Mon 19 November - Sarah Rimmer, John Breeden, AvdB part 1
Day 8 transcript - Tue 20 November - AvdB part 2
Day 9 transcript - Wed 21 November - AvdB part 3, Timothy Dance, Helen Dickinson, Michael Shields part 1
Day 10 transcript - Thu 22 November - Michael Shields part 2, Elaine Ridge, David Longbottom, Michael Webb
Day 11 transcript - Mon 26 November - Michael Haworth, Andrew Carpenter, Brian Trotter