[we go to a new doc 31 March 2016]
PG this doc seems shows that if branch miskeys it doesn’t matter how big it is, they have to settle even if this could put the branch viability in doubt if held liable.
PG takes AB to WS par 156 where she talks about changes that have now been made to Horizon. For context you are in charge of improvement at the Post Office yes? so you’re the right person to go to for info on this?
AB some of it
AB they are some examples
PG and your example about Drop and Go sounds really good doesn’t it?
PG was it?
AB no - we had quite a few problems implementing it.
PG let’s have a look at some of those issues…
[goes into lots of issues with Drop and Go - blocked accounts, high volume of calls and dissatisfaction in branch from customers]
PG decision was taken to allow a known design fault to allow customers to continue using [sorry I couldn’t keep up then]
PG so this is what you mean when you added to your witness statement just now about the problems.
AB yes it did come up
PG is what you have written in your WS giving a slightly rosy picture of what the improvement with Drop and Go actually achieved?
AB now you mention all those problems, yes.
PG have you heard of this
AB not this terminology
PG have you heard of the problem by another name?
PG what sort of document is this?
AB not sure - part of the project?
AB yes possibly I haven’t seen it
PG okay let’s take this in stages…
[J is looking at this document with what looks like incredulity. I can’t see it.]
PG noting this is just a prototype - and it has problems because it creates a situation of unintended consequences - ie creating money out of thin air.
AB that’s fair
[we go to email exchange about 54 pilot branches for new Drop and Go system which shows a serious issue which nearly deployed duff code to the live Horizon estate]
PG did you know anything about this?
PG is there any reason why you couldn’t have done that in 2002?
AB it depends what was going on...
PG really? There was no good reason was there?
[PG moves on to the final improvement that AB has listed in her WS. He asks again why it took more than a decade for this to happen. No real answer]
PG Short point is that’s quite a simple thing to change.
PG but there’s no real reason it couldn’t have been brought in earlier.
PG this was a recognised real problem that SPMs were not being told about
PG and were probably getting blamed for.
PG when it was quite a big system problem.
[I think this could be the smoking gun. This is a Horizon error which seemed to lead to an SPM being blamed for not following what we spent a while before the break…]
PG asks why
AB has no idea. She asked a...
AB explains what she was doing at the time - supporting people on the migration to Horizon
PG were you aware of the problems Fujitsu was having?
AB no - if one of my SPMs had a problem I’d go check their accounts with them and one issue we had was with an...
PG did you get any feedback as to what the problem was?
AB no - I escalated on and moved on to the next branch.
PG did you come across this problem?
AB no and I never heard of it
PG but if you did come...
[we now go to the arrival of Horizon Online - the new realtime Horizon which went live in 2010, I think. The doc in question says HOL (as called) was designed to reduced Post Office costs as part of Forward: 3 to 11...
PG says doc says HOL is not about new functionality - it will run on existing equipment. It was about business equivalence and cost-savings. It was not about changing or introducing new functionality.
decision made to halt further migrations until problem dealt with]
PG Were you aware of this halt of the pilot?
PG where you aware of the problems?
PG did you research them before you wrote...
AB I had a broad understanding, but…
[PG starts saying something]
J Mr Green. You interrupted again. Please don’t.
PG I am sorry my Lord.
[we go to a PEAK report in which an SPM reports what s/he thinks is a system error]
PG six lines up from the bottom of that box...
PG were you...
PG refers to document which shows how HOL rollout was postponed, and Fujitsu call it a red alert. Have you seen this document?
PG that wasn’t really accurate was it? as it wasn’t an upgrade and the NFSP were broadly supportive but had expressed reservations.
PG were you aware of any of this?
PG did you have any awareness of these problems?
AB I must have had some
PG did you do any research in order to refresh your memory for your WS?
AB it was from a broad..
Now onto a lessons learned document.
11 Nov 2015 - document written by AVDB document which showed need for business improvement...
and one of those considerations are: “failure to be open and honest when issues arise - eg migration of Horizon and HOL”
PG Do you accept the document I referred to earlier might have helped inform you about the extent to which those complaints might have been justified?
AB what I was trying to say was there was a broad concept - as we do things across the business we should always seek to take what lessons we can - small or large.
AB no, what we did was quite broad - introducing branch user forum
AB don’t know
AB the branch user forum did work and did change things - it fed through in terms of the new technology - IBM and hardware swap out technology -
AB it changed actually at first we listened and then it changed as we became more comfortable we talked about things like the operation of the keyboard and its layout
AB no it was more about the size and shape of the keyboard in terms of ease of use
It transpires one Post Office witness is in hospital. It means the court might now sit next week to accommodate him.
No reasons yet given. Suspect it’s a process thing.
I’ll get my report up, sort out the links to to the tweets and the transcript and it looks like I’ll have to scan in AvdB’s WS because I haven't (yet) had an electronic copy of WSs from the @PostOffice despite requesting them… grr...