New scheme with independent panel to resolve past shortfalls

New scheme with independent panel to resolve past shortfalls

Post Office has launched a new scheme today (1 May 2020) to independently assess applications from postmasters who believe they have experienced shortfalls related to previous versions of the Horizon system. The Historical Shortfall Scheme is now open for applications from current and former postmasters.

Please visit www.onepostoffice.co.uk/scheme where you will find full details about the scheme, including the eligibility criteria, the application form and questions and answers to help you apply.

You can also email historicalshortfallscheme@postoffice.co.uk to ask for the information and an application form to be sent to you.

Please note these are Post Office addresses as this is a Post Office scheme - please be assured eligible applications will be assessed by an independent advisory panel.

All applications should be received by midnight on 14 August 2020 to be considered, as the scheme is then due to close to new applications.

In light of the ongoing Coronavirus situation, please apply or send any queries by email at the moment. This is to minimise any potential delays with responding to queries and processing your application. If you don’t have an email address yourself, a family member or friend is welcome to email on your behalf. 

If you do not have any access to an email address to be able to apply, in those circumstances applications can be sent by post to Post Office Historical Shortfall Scheme, PO Box 76882, London E1W 9RR. Please use Royal Mail as PO Box addresses can only accept post from Royal Mail and not from other carriers or couriers. Please note postal applications and queries may not be processed immediately given the current circumstances. 

Post Office has launched this scheme following the agreed settlement in December 2019 of the group litigation between Post Office and a group of mainly former postmasters. As part of the litigation, the Court found the current version of Horizon to be robust compared to similar systems. However, the Court identified some issues with previous versions of Horizon, in use from around 2000, that had the potential to affect branch accounting. The scheme therefore covers those previous versions of Horizon and not the current version. 

Nick Read, Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are resolving past events fairly where we got things wrong. The launch of this scheme is an important milestone that demonstrates a more open and transparent relationship with postmasters and offers redress for those who may have experienced shortfalls related to previous versions of Horizon.”

Eligible applications will be thoroughly investigated and the outcomes assessed by an independent advisory panel. If you are submitting an application, please bear in mind the time taken to investigate and assess will depend on the circumstances of each individual claim, the number of applicants to the scheme and the volume of documentation involved, and the process may take several months for some individual applications. If we need further information from you to complete our investigations, we will be in touch. We will progress all applications as quickly as possible.

We appreciate people may be facing difficult circumstances due to the Coronavirus situation. We will of course continue to monitor this and any impact on the scheme, and if we need to be flexible, for example in changing the closing date or if we can process postal applications more easily, we will keep you updated at www.onepostoffice.co.uk/scheme.