This is a start

The former boss of the Post Office has quit the boards of two major retailers after her former employer was found culpable for one of Britain’s biggest miscarriages of justice.

Paula Vennells, who ran the Post Office between 2012 and 2019, has resigned from the boards of supermarket Morrisons and furniture retailer Dunelm this morning.

Reports of problems with Horizon, the Post Office’s faulty IT system, were left not properly investigated during her tenure.

There were calls for the company’s former bosses to be prosecuted on Friday after 39 sub-postmasters were cleared of theft, fraud and false accounting by the Court of Appeal.

Myself I’m terribly tempted to call for jail time. After a trial and conviction of course. But there’s a definite lust for blood here. And not just one person either. This steps well over the mark of mistakes were made, lessons have been learned. Time to get medieval on some arses here.

21 thoughts on “This is a start”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Agreed. A few resignations followed by quiet appointments to new sinecures in a few months time shouldn’t be allowed with this one. Sadly that will come to pass.

  2. Another thing about this Vennells woman is that she has the terrible hair of all female members of the Anglican clergy.

    Is it compulsory ?

  3. One of the few sub-post office left nearby was closed overnight by this corrupt affair.

    But Plod saves his violence these days for peaceful protestors and bends the knee to evil. So as you say the guilty will keep their heads down and will lose only money.

  4. Totally agree. Surely perverting the course of justice wouldn’t be hard to prove, along with other charges like theft, fraud, false accounting, perjury, libel, corporate manslaughter and false improsonment (though that may be harder to stick). Would have thought it would be a pretty simple case, its already been proved in court that the money they demanded and forced people to pay wasn’t theirs. Corporate manslaughter would be harder but given the number of people who took their lives from the false allegations and being discredited in their local communities I would argue it should be justified.

    What I don’t get is why resign now? Previous court judgements have already raised the complete failure for the Post Office to do their job properly, if she was going to resign for it she should have already done it.

  5. The Boards of large companies seem to be like the European Commission, a sump for all the dross – talentless, incompetent, failures who as the codicille to the Peter Principle states, have risen well above the level of their incompetence.

  6. I have no sympathy for the wretched woman, but I fail to see how she is guilty of anything other than stupidity and incompetence, although I am happy to be proven wrong. I haven’t kept up with all the details, so maybe there has been some perjury or other malfeasance, but the decision to prosecute 500+ people just looks like pigheadedness, which perhaps ought to be a crime but sadly isn’t.

  7. I fail to see how she is guilty of anything other than stupidity and incompetence

    There are claims of the Post Office, “run” at the time by Vennels, deliberately withholding exculpatory evidence of known failings in their IT system during these prosecutions. That would be criminal misbehaviour.

  8. It will be interesting to see how high this goes. Clearly Post office or Fujitsu employees who gave evidence in court saying that the IT system was perfect can be done for perjury. And the Post Office seems to have taken a decision not to admit errors and withhold evidence, which looks like conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. I would think that would have involved the Post Office IT, Legal and Compliance teams at a high level, but I doubt Vennells would have known what was going on.

    I hope the Post Office is sued into oblivion for this. The postmasters deserve massive damages.

  9. @ Karl
    Look at the dates: she ran the Post Office between 2012 and 2019.
    The Post Office prosecuted subpostmasters between 2000 and 2014.
    It is her predecessor who should be in the dock

  10. I doubt Vennells would have known what was going on

    Obviously being paid over half a million pounds a year as CEO of the Post Office, it’s perfectly believable that she learned virtually nothing about the organisation she ran for those 7 years. It’s less believable that she did not know of the actual existence of faults, errors and software bugs in their Horizon flagship IT program.

    The fact she is now going into hiding strongly suggests that she has something to hide from.

  11. “Another thing about this Vennells woman is that she has the terrible hair of all female members of the Anglican clergy.Is it compulsory ?!”

    Its the ‘I’d like to be a lesbian but can’t quite bring myself to do the deed’ haircut.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ but I doubt Vennells would have known what was going on.”

    She was paid a big salary to know what was going on. If she didn’t the shareholders should be asking for their money back.

  13. “ but I doubt Vennells would have known what was going on.”

    She should have known something was up.. And very much could have ordered a smackdown and thorough investigation at the first sign of trouble..
    The real culprit is indeed her predecessor, she just inherited the mess. But if your own internal legal department strongly suggests there’s Danger Up Ahead, and it gets ignored by 2 CEO’s? It’s on their heads, because they can’t possibly not have heard of the matter.

    And yes.. More than just the token head should roll over this.. Many more people, including the IT head(s) must have known. I wonder how much overtime the shredders and HHD percussionists are doing at the moment..

  14. @Grikath ” I wonder how much overtime the shredders and HHD percussionists are doing at the moment.”

    Probably not very much. There is a newish CEO from upside the PO – a neighbour of mine as it happens – who has no interest in preserving his predecessors’ reputations, and probably little desire to be Irchester his own.

  15. The Pedant-General

    “Look at the dates: she ran the Post Office between 2012 and 2019.
    The Post Office prosecuted subpostmasters between 2000 and 2014.
    It is her predecessor who should be in the dock”

    It took until 2019 for the compensation case to be decided. POL paid £50m to 500 people.
    – WITHOUT ADMITTING LIABILITY
    – HAVING CAUSED COMPLAINANTS TO RUN UP £40M OF LEGAL COSTS TO WRING THAT OUT OF THEM

    That’s ALL on her watch. She needs jailing.

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