What lessons can we learn from the Post Office scandal?

How could the subpostmaster scandal, in which hundreds of small business owners had their lives ruined after being wrongly accused of taking money from the Post Office, have gone on for so long?  The subpostmasters were sucked into a nightmare when the Post Office installed a new accounting system called Horizon to replace old manual accounting practices. They found that their tills just weren’t balancing. Some tried to top up the difference from their own money, but the discrepancies mounted until some stretched into tens of thousands of pounds.  When they asked for help from the Post Office, they were told they were the only people having trouble. They weren’t

How the Post Office lost its way

One of the many gems in the vast archives of the Post Office is a six-volume collection of letters from a Colonel Whitley in Head Office to the men (and not a few women) working across the country as postmasters. A former private secretary to King Charles II, Whitley effectively ran the nascent General Post Office for five years with conspicuous success. Those under his charge found him, as we might say, firm but fair. In a letter of November 1672, Whitley sternly advised one Mr Watts to crack down hard on a slipshod junior whom he had been foolish to employ on the mails. As the Colonel pointed out,