We now continually review our systems and processes to address issues of the past, which we apologise for. As part of this review we have identified weaknesses with past stamp stock operations and processes. These were addressed by 29 June 2020.
Although the review found that this issue might have affected only a small number of branches, it is very important to us that we correct this for all current and former postmasters who were adversely affected.
The issues relate to stamp stock discrepancies, which arise where the volume of stamps in branch differs to the volume recorded on the system (for example, through ‘remming’ in/out errors or damaged stamps). Where stamp stock discrepancies led to surpluses, this may have resulted in a financial benefit to postmasters, but those benefits will be retained by the postmaster. On some occasions, postmasters resolved shortages of stamps by recording sales or making stock adjustments, which they then paid for or ‘made good’. However, this was unfair if Post Office’s own processes contributed to the stamps shortage or if the shortage was caused by stamps which could not be sold (and therefore caused no loss to Post Office).
As we announced in August, to correct this Post Office is launching a simple scheme for postmasters who were adversely affected. The Stamp Scheme gives you an opportunity to submit a claim if you feel you were affected.
This issue was not caused by any technical issues with Horizon, so if you have already claimed through the Historical Shortfall Scheme for any losses because of stamp discrepancies then your claim will continue through that scheme and you do not need to do anything further. If, however, you believe you were affected by the stamp issue and you have not previously claimed, you can apply to the Stamp Scheme. All claims for this issue will be treated in the same way, but please remember you should not claim for the same loss twice.
You can find further information about the Stamp Scheme on the scheme website here including more details about the issue, the Eligibility Criteria, Questions and Answers and an application form should you wish to apply. Please submit as soon as possible but importantly before midnight on the closing date of 27 November 2020. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to have the information sent out to you or if you have any further questions.
By resolving past issues where we had things wrong and continually trying to improve our operations and support for postmasters, everyone at Post Office is working to ensure we have the right solutions in place to enable you to prosper and provide the best possible service to your customers and communities who rely on us all.
We will publish a guide to stamp processes for branches in the coming weeks, so please look out for that soon.
We will also write to current and former postmasters about the Stamp Scheme.
If you have experienced a stamp discrepancy at your branch since 29 June 2020, or you experience one in future, please contact the Branch Support Centre on 0333 345 5567 as soon as possible.