Inquiry to investigate Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved matters

The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry has confirmed it will explore the practices of Royal Mail Group and Post Office Limited across the UK, after a request to investigate Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved matters has been approved.

Sir Wyn Williams has published a statement confirming this here.

Permission has been granted by the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets Paul Scully MP in accordance with s.27(3) of the Inquiries Act 2005 following consultation with Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish ministers. Sir Wyn Williams has therefore today confirmed that he will be addressing paragraphs 162 and 163 of the Inquiry’s List of Issues.

Given the different criminal justice systems across the devolved administrations this development will allow the Inquiry to be able to fully consider a theme it has identified around divergences in the policies and practices adopted by Royal Mail Group and Post Office Limited within the four countries of the UK when taking action against subpostmasters and submistresses, managers and assistants. The Minister has also confirmed that the law of England and Wales will apply to the Inquiry.

The Inquiry recently held public Human Impact Hearings in England and Wales to understand the impact of failings surrounding the Horizon system on those affected. It will hold further Human Impact Hearings in Scotland and Northern Ireland in May 2022. Specific dates for these Hearings will be set out in due course.

Sir Wyn Williams has welcomed this development, saying:

“I am committed to setting out a full and thorough account of the failings that this Inquiry is looking into, and so I welcome this decision, which will allow me to examine certain matters across all four administrations unimpeded.

“The accounts that we will soon hear from affected subpostmasters and subpostmistresses in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be invaluable in helping me to understand the full picture of how people were impacted. I am grateful to those that will do so, as well as to those who have submitted written witness statements to the Inquiry.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Chair sought permission to investigate matters relating to devolved administrations in November 2021, as set out in his statement on the List of Issues, following a process of consultation.
  2. The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is an independent statutory inquiry examining failings surrounding Post Office Limited’s Horizon IT system which led to the suspension and termination of contracts, and the wrongful prosecution and conviction of subpostmasters and subpostmistresses. Read the List of Issues the Inquiry is examining here.
  3. The Chair will publish a report, setting out his findings and recommendations, on conclusion of the Inquiry. The Inquiry is expected to conclude next year.