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Post Offices: ICT

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's management of the Post Office since the roll-out of the Horizon accounting system in 2000.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

While publicly owned and accountable to Government for its decisions, Post Office Ltd operates as an independent, commercial business and management of the roll-out of the Horizon accounting system falls within the scope of the Post Office’s responsibilities.

Since 2004, United Kingdom Government Investments, previously known as the Shareholder Executive, has acted as Shareholder Representative for BEIS, overseeing POL’s corporate governance, strategy, and the stewardship of POL’s financial resources on behalf of the shareholder. Prior to 2004, this role was carried out by the Department for Trade and Industry.

It is important that Government takes the Post Office’s relationship with postmasters very seriously and closely monitors the situation. The Post Office, through its new CEO has since accepted he got things wrong. He has apologised and said it aims at establishing a positive relationship with its postmasters. BEIS is working actively with the Post Office on this matter and will hold them to account on their progress.

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