But Bates waits on guarantee from Sir Wyn
Alan Bates has made it quite clear that unless the issue of compensation is on the table he will continue the JFSA’s boycott of the Post Office Horizon Inquiry. But…
… after a meeting with Sir Wyn Williams (the inquiry’s chair) last week, there is still a chance the JFSA will get involved. All hinges on Sir Wyn’s forthcoming Statement of Approach (No 4) which is due in less than a fortnight’s time.
For more, read this exciting blog post.
I sincerely hope Sir Wyn does the right thing and gives the JFSA what it needs to be able to participate in the inquiry. If it does, there will be blood on the walls.
Hitting the GPOT
I am delighted we are only a few short hours from the One Louder (indulge me, I am a massive Spinal Tap fan) episode of The Great Post Office Trial.
It’s formal title is Episode 11: The Reckoning, and it will go out on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm (BST) tonight and then again at 11am on Wednesday. It should also be available here shortly after the first transmission.
The Daily Mail has been kind enough to print this preview after hearing an embargoed version of the documentary. Their piece is called “SIX Post Office bosses ‘could face charges for possible criminal offences’ in handling of IT scandal that saw postmasters hounded, bullied and wrongly prosecuted for fraud, lawyer says”
I hope it whets your appetite.
Other media activity
I remain extremely grateful to everyone for pointing me in the direction of other media activity on this story. Like Karl Flinders from Computer Weekly, I am delighted so many other media outlets are now keen to run stories on this scandal. The more journalists set to work on it, the more will be grubbed up, and the more chance there is of getting everything out into the open.
1) The Times has written a (possibly paywalled) piece on Paula Vennells’ predecessor at the Post Office, Alan Cook. He is currently chair of the insurance giant LV= and trying to demutualise the company. In the piece Gareth Thomas MP is quoted as saying:
“Mr Cook has serious questions to answer about decisions the Post Office made during his time as managing director to prosecute sub-postmasters and rely ever more heavily on the Horizon system.”
2) A secret emailer has unearthed a think piece by current Post Office chairman Tim Parker. It is in “Director” magazine, and the Post Office (perhaps unsurprisingly) isn’t mentioned once. Mr Parker does say that:
“The longer I’ve been a leader, the more I have understood that much of it hinges on your judgement about people. Another thing I’ve become very conscious of is the importance of being timely. Quite often organisations get into difficulties because they don’t make decisions soon enough.”
“Being open and honest about the purpose of your enterprise really helps with employee engagement.”
“When it comes to public criticism, bear in mind that things move on. People can be very sensitive in the short term, so let some time pass before taking a view.”
Given he was chairman of an organisation that under his leadership fought tooth and nail to stop Subpostmasters from getting justice the words “brass” and “neck” come to mind.
3) One of my favourite secret emailers has got in touch to alert me to a 50 minute bilingual (Punjabi/English) panel discussion on the Akaal TV channel about the Post Office, featuring former Subpostmasters Jo Hamilton, Jaswinder Barang, Wendy Buffrey and Jasvinder Uppal. It’s definitely worth a watch if you have a facebook login.
4) Finally, this is a must read: Bryn Jones is a journalist who has been on this story longer than me. He filmed Noel Thomas for Taro Naw back in 2009 and has known former Subpostmaster Lorraine Williams since the trauma of her sacking and eventual conviction. Lorraine was one of the 39 people whose conviction was overturned at the court of appeal on 23 April. She has only now felt ready to talk about what happened to her. Every time I think I’ve heard it all with this scandal I become shocked and angered by it all over again. Do read Lorraine’s story here.
That’s it for now. Hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the sunshine (if you have it). I’ll be back soon.