Friday, 2 October 2020

Misplaced Faith


Depressing stories have emerged about Post Office staff convicted of alleged crimes that had never been committed either by themselves or by anyone else. What had actually happened was that the Post Office computer systems made errors. Gullible managers had assumed that the computers could not have erred. 

Ever since computers came to be used widely there have been cases of people making the absurd assumption that computer systems cannot err.  No one making that assumption should be allowed to hold any senior post in any organisation.

1 comment :

Frank Little said...

A question which has not yet been answered is whether the ability to alter balances by Post Office staff was built in to the design of the system from the start. A large number of supervisors seems to have been given the ability and encouragement to do so. Also, was Horizon released without thorough testing?

The background to this scandal is that, from the 1980s until the first years of the coalition, government policy, driven no doubt by HM Treasury, was to close Post Offices. Demoralisation of the workforce and deterrence of would-be sub-postmasters and -mistresses would have helped the process.