The Post Office has identified issues when it comes to selling stamps and has set up a shortfall programme to offer redress to subpostmasters affected.
The issues were identified by the Post Office when investigating the Horizon system problems.
In a statement announcing the scheme’s launch, it said: “Following a close examination of other branch processes unrelated to the technical performance of Horizon, a further specific measure is being introduced to address an historical weakness in its stock processes for stamps. Whilst this process has been corrected, 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.
“In these circumstances, it is right that steps are taken to provide a redress mechanism for postmasters who believe they may have been disadvantaged by this weakness in the old stock control process. To this end, a new scheme, modelled on the Historical Shortfall Scheme, is being finalised and full details will be communicated to current and former postmasters in the near future. It will, of course, also be open to those who have already applied to the Historical Shortfall Scheme, or who plan to do so.”
A new Post Office director, Declan Salter has been appointed to implement the claims schemes and a programme of operational measures that help deliver the reset of Post Office’s relationship with postmasters. He will report to Post Office chairman Tim Parker and CEO Nick Read.
Read said: “We are making sure the mistakes of the past are fairly addressed for the people affected and can never happen again. We have made good progress with significant improvements for our postmasters.
“Declan’s appointment will ensure we maintain momentum as we balance the importance of dealing with the past with our responsibilities to the many thousands of postmasters who are currently providing vital services for our customers across the UK every day.”
This comes as the deadline approaches for the Horizon Historical Shortfall Scheme for current and former postmasters who believe they experienced shortfalls related to previous versions of the computer system.
The scheme, which opened on 1 May, has received more than 1,300 applications and closes to applications at midnight tonight (Friday 14 August 2020). However 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 email@example.com as soon as possible.
The Historical Shortfall Scheme followed the agreed settlement last year of group litigation between Post Office and 555 mainly former postmasters and is part of a major programme addressing past issues and fundamentally reforming the Post Office for the future.