Post Office fixes technical trouble causing accounting mistakes in Horizon
The Post Office has diagnosed and stuck mistakes in its returned-office machine but has warned subpostmasters to be vigilant to keep away from also troubles.
Computer Weekly suggested remaining week that a subpostmaster had diagnosed trouble in which coins being widespread via the department from the Post Office coins center turned into now not being correctly recorded inside the Horizon retail and accounting system used by subpostmasters.
The process of accepting cash, called the REM (remittance) system, is automated. When a branch worker scans in the barcode on a pouch of coins, it’s far robotically recorded in Horizon.
But the subpostmaster discovered that although £20,000 in coins – £2,000 in £5 notes and the relaxation a combination of £10 and £20 letters – had been scanned in, most effective £2,000 seemed on Horizon. This might have left him £18,000 in surplus and the Post Office down with the aid of this quantity, had he now not know the organization.
The subpostmaster emailed the Post Office CIO after a failed try and find out the trouble with the Post Office helpline and its economic department in Chesterfield.
The Post Office has investigated the problem and said in a communique with its department network: “We have traced the problem, which changed into occurring due to a technical timeout between systems as the pouch statistics transferred from our cash deliver chain device into Horizon. We accept as true with it is now absolutely resolved but will hold to display.”
The Post Office thanked the subpostmaster for alerting it to the hassle and warned subpostmasters to continue to be vigilant while booking in coins.
The hassle emerged at some stage in a High Court case that becomes analyzing the Horizon device’s alleged function in subpostmasters being wrongly prosecuted and fined for accounting shortfalls. The argument is a part of a multimillion-pound organization litigation order delivered by 550 subpostmasters, which has already seen trials, with more planned over the following year (see the timeline below for complete tale).
During the primary trial last November, which focused on the contractual relationship among subpostmasters and the Post Office, Post Office director Angela van den Bogerd said in court that the Horizon system had made mistakes which the Post Office was accountable for correcting, however, admitted that it did not always have to inform its subpostmaster community approximately the errors.
Van den Bogerd said the Post Office could have informed subpostmasters approximately inevitable mistakes, however, did no longer.
Mark Baker, postmaster branch secretary at the Communication Workers Union, who helped unearth the problem, stated: “The Post Office had no concept approximately it. If the subpostmaster had carried out what the guide says and settle to coins, the subpostmaster could take the cash out of bodily stock and hold it.
“But that would be immoral and doubtlessly unlawful, so my advice to subpostmasters is: don’t settle to cash, settle centrally.”
The plight of a few subpostmasters became first reported in 2009, while Computer Weekly revealed that the lives of a few had been become upside-down when they were fined, sacked, made bankrupt or even imprisoned due to unexplained accounting shortfalls. They blamed the Horizon accounting and local machine for the problems. However, the Post Office has refuted this.
F.A. Is a specialized a vicinity of accounting exercise that describes engagements which result from real or anticipated disputes or litigation. The word “forensic” approach “appropriate to be used in court.” The forensic accountants have to keep in mind this announcement even as they should paintings or chalk out their program. The F.A. Work is tailor made in line with the scenario and want. The gathering of facts and evidence is executed consistent with the wish and situation. We can say it is customized in step with the state of affairs. The forensic-accountants give expert testimony on the final trial.