Over the weekend media outlets were focused on the pay taken by senior Fujitsu executives over the period covered by the Horizon scandal.
I am ashamed to say that ‘The Great Post Office Scandal: The story of the fight to expose a multimillion pound IT disaster which put innocent people in jail’ by Nick Wallis has been sitting on my eBook reader for over twelve months. It took the ITV drama, Mr. Bates vs. The Post Office to move it (near to) the top of my reading list.
The author, Nick Wallis, has produced an amazing piece of investigative journalism. He balances the harrowing personal stories of the Subpostmasters and Subpostmistresses (SPM), a detailed timeline of the events that led up to the largest miscarriages of justice in British history and a forensic examination of the legal cases and evidence that proves The Post Offices prosecuted its SPMs while having and not disclosing to the defendants the information that showed that the Horizon IT system was unreliable.
I’m sorry to say this tragic case study starts with quality failings in software development and project management and throughout the scandal there were multiple opportunities for responsible professionals to stand up and challenge a toxic culture and ropey processes.
This book is required reading for quality professionals, software developers and anyone required to deal with a delivery network like the SPMs. An additional ‘recommended’ list includes anyone in the Met Police investigating possible criminal activity at the Post Office and anyone at the Crown Prosecution Service who will have to decide whether to take action.
I’ll be coming back to this post with further lessons from the book and any developments from the Public Inquiry. If you want more on the previous stages of the inquiry, Nick has more facts and opinions at a crowdfunded website – Post Office Scandal.