News that the Government has ordered an independent review into how IT failures in the Post Office network led to local closures across Wirral has been welcomed by a local councillor.
In December 2018, more than 1,000 residents of Wallasey Village backed a campaign by Councillor Paul Hayes for the Post Office branch there to be reopened. Other branches in New Brighton and Upton had also been forced to close because of failures in the Post Office’s national IT system known as ‘Horizon’.
Now, the Postal Affairs Minister, Paul Scully, has ordered the independent review to decide whether the Post Office has learned the lessons and assess how they can repair relations with local post offices.
It follows Post Office Ltd reaching a settlement of £57.75 million in December 2019 to conclude a long-running civil court case brought against it by a group of postmasters over issues related to its Horizon IT system.
Councillor Hayes said: “Post Office Ltd failed to support its local post office staff and failed to ensure a continuous service for customers.
“Many people in Wallasey Village were inconvenienced by the failings of the company’s IT system and more than 1,000 residents signed our petition calling for it to be reopened.
“I hope this independent review means that we will never again see local post office staff hounded by arrogant Post Office bosses in London.”
Postal Affairs Minister Paul Scully added: “The Horizon dispute and court case has had a devastating impact on the lives of many postmasters, and I have been deeply moved by the individual stories of those I have spoken to.
“It is so important that a case like this can never happen again.
“That is why this government is committed to establishing an independent review to ensure that lessons have been learned, and that concrete changes have taken place at Post Office Ltd.”