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The Post office scandal evidence

Today, we’re publishing some background correspondence between the Business & Trade Committee and Fujistu. It will be on our correspondence page shortly: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/365/business-and-trade-committee/publications/3/correspondence/


Here’s what struck me.  The statement includes information on cash account discrepancies, reported to Post Office Ltd in 1999-2000. 


Take a look at paragraphs 114-140 (CSR Acceptance Criteria and Testing), in particular paragraphs 137-140:

 

137. Further, until the end of the TIP Integrity Checking Period, ICL Pathway agreed to make available “appropriate experts to explain to POCL [ICL Pathway’s] analysis of all root causes of Cash Account Discrepancies and the measures which [ICL Pathway] implemented in order to prevent the recurrence of any Cash Account Discrepancies which would have not been detected by the Accounting Integrity Control Release”.

 

138. Finally, by Clause 6 of the Third Supplemental Agreement, the parties agreed to amend paragraph 3.6 of Schedule G01 of the Codified Agreement in the manner set out in Schedule 5 to the Third Supplemental Agreement. In summary, this introduced new obligations and new or amended definitions such as “Cash Account Error” and “Data Error”. ICL Pathway was required to apply, throughout the term of the Codified Agreement, “all defensive measures and checks described [in Scheme G01] in order to detect Data Errors and Not Data Errors.”

 

139. Widespread errors were defined as errors, discovered by ICL Pathway (whether through Help Desk calls or otherwise), affecting cash accounts in more than 100 Post Office branches in any one Cash Account period. In respects of widespread errors, ICL Pathway was required to (i) notify POCL immediately in accordance with the procedures set out in the CCD entitled “TPS Reconciliation and Incident Management” and (ii) undertake the activities specified in more detail in the remainder of Paragraph 3.6, including transmitting repaired transaction data to POCL over the TIP interface and issuing Manual Error Reports to POCL.

 

140. On 20 March 2000, POCL informed ICL Pathway that the four-week TIP Integrity Period had elapsed without the discovery of any Cash Account Discrepancies not found by the Accounting Integrity Control Release. Further, POCL indicated it had received satisfactory explanations from ICL Pathway for the Cash Account discrepancies found (FSL_03/64).

 

Paragraph 139 sets out the process of what would happen if errors from 100 or more Post Office branches were discovered by ICL Pathway (Fujitsu). Whilst paragraph 140 states that ICL Pathway did not discover Cash Account Discrepancies within a four-week period, it also says that Post Office received ‘satisfactory explanations’ from ICL Pathway for the Cash Account discrepancies found. 

 

This implies the Post Office were aware of cash account discrepancies (the amount of which is unknown), it is unclear whether the Post Office knew how widespread or serious this issue was, or what is meant by ‘satisfactory explanations.’ 

 

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