I'm beginning to wonder whether the Post Office is fit for purpose. Not content with criminally prosecuting 900 people over 15 years using potentially dodgy IT data as evidence, it turns out its own procedures for dealing with that complex product - stamps - didn't work.
Buried in a press release about the Historical Shortfall Scheme and the appointment of a new director, the Post Office reported:
"Following a close examination of other branch processes unrelated to the technical performance of Horizon... this additional review found that Post Office’s stamp stock procedures had the potential to produce cash surpluses or shortfalls for postmasters in certain circumstances and, in some cases involving a shortfall, that there may not have been an equivalent loss to Post Office."
We don't yet know how the failure manifested itself, how many people have been affected, how much they might be out pocket or how long long this has been going on for. I have asked for this information.
What we do know is that the Post Office is planning to launch a "redress mechanism for postmasters who believe they may have been disadvantaged by this weakness" modelled on the Historical Shortfall Scheme. More details soon, I guess.
Incidentally, the deadline for applicants to the Historical Shortfall Scheme is midnight tonight. The Post Office says "potential applicants are reminded that if they feel they have special circumstances which have delayed application beyond the closing date they should get in touch with the scheme at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible."
So far there have been 1,300 applicants to the scheme. I wonder how many Stamp-gate will get.