Post Office: Accounting Officers

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 6th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Accounting Officer with responsibility for the Post Office has played any role in advising ministers on the Government’s policy in relation to (1) the faults in Horizon software; (2) the treatment by the Post Office of sub-postmasters in relation to allegations of alleged criminal behaviour by sub-postmasters; (3) the sub-postmasters’ litigation against the Post Office; and (4) the establishment of the review into the Horizon issues.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Principal Accounting Officer (PAO) responsible for Post Office Ltd. (POL) is the BEIS Permanent Secretary.

Issues regarding POL’s IT system and its relationship with postmasters are operational matters in which the PAO and Ministers relied on information provided by POL senior management.

Following the Common Issues Judgment in March 2019, POL advised Ministers that it intended to change its approach to the litigation. This included changes to the POL legal team and strategy, and ultimately led to the successful mediation in December 2019.

The Independent Review into Post Office and the issues highlighted by the litigation was approved within Government at all levels, including by the BEIS Permanent Secretary.

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