End of year newsletter: Phase 3 Timetable and Update from Sir Wyn Williams

As the year comes to a close, we thank you for your continued interest in the progress of the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry.   

It has been good to see so many people taking part in the Inquiry’s work this year, either by giving evidence, following hearings from the public gallery or via YouTube, or by participating in our various focus groups and engagement sessions.  

The Inquiry has now heard oral evidence relevant to Phases 1 and 2 from over 100 witnesses, including former Sub-Postmasters and their colleagues or families, former ministers, civil servants, Post Office, ICL and Fujitsu employees and former representatives of the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters and the Communication Workers’ Union. 

More recently the Inquiry has been turning its attention to compensation, and Phase 3. Please find some updates below. 

A message from the Chair following the December Compensation Hearing  

I am grateful to all those who participated in the recent Compensation Hearing, particularly those who took the time and trouble to travel to London and follow the proceedings from the public gallery.  

The various issues raised in the written and oral submissions require careful consideration. I cannot reach conclusions upon them and publish my views before the Christmas holiday. My current intention is that I will make public my views in January, either before, or at the commencement of, the Phase 3 Hearings.  

I am able to say now, however, that I will be obtaining my own legal advice about a discrete topic, namely how bankruptcy (whether discharged or undischarged) impacts upon a person’s entitlement to compensation under the various compensation schemes.  

I recognise that compensation issues are of deep concern to many people and that even a delay of a few weeks before I express my views may be unwelcome. However, it is of paramount importance that each step I take in relation to these issues has the effect of facilitating a proper outcome for those entitled to compensation and for that reason speed of decision- making must, when the occasion demands it, give way to a more measured approach.   

Sir Wyn Williams, Chair 

Phase 3 witness timetable published 

We have today published the witness timetable for the first part of Phase 3 Hearings (10 – 20 January), which will focus on the Operation of the Horizon system: training, assistance, resolution of disputes, knowledge and rectification of errors in the system.  

Please find the witness timetable here: https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/provisional-timetable-phase-3-january

This is not an exhaustive list of the witnesses and issues to be explored during Phase 3. The timetable for the later Phase 3 Hearings, taking place between 14 February and 10 March, will be published at a later stage.  

You can also watch a short video setting out what Phase 3 will cover here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SDyPy7AmP4  

Register for public gallery attendance 

People can continue to register for attendance in the public gallery for these hearings via the following form: https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/form/phase-3-hearings-registration 

Please do so by midday on Thursday 5 January. Places will be confirmed shortly thereafter.  

Website resources 

Evidence, recordings and transcripts from the 56 public hearings or focus groups we held this year, including our Human Impact phase, can all be found on our website: https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/.  

Phase 2 closing statements from Core Participants to the Inquiry have been published this week: https://www.postofficehorizoninquiry.org.uk/hearings/phase-2-2-december-2022 Further evidence relating to Phase 2 Hearings will be uploaded in the new year. 

Thank you for reading, and I hope to see many of you next year. 

With best wishes, 

Leila Pilgrim 

Secretary to the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry 


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