How The Great British Post Office Scandal (and Others) Can Affect You

I am sure that you are aware of the Great British Post Office Scandal.

It has been described by the Criminal Cases Review Commission as “the most widespread miscarriage of justice ever seen and represents the biggest single series of wrongful convictions in British legal history”.

The Post Office is owned by the Government and it is a unique institution in so much as it has the ability to undertake its own in-house criminal prosecutions against its own staff.

Between 1991 and 2015 736 sub-postmasters were wrongfully convicted, which resulted in the ITV drama ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ being broadcast this year.

Out of a total of 736 employees who were prosecuted by the Post Office:

  • Over 230 were jailed (including a pregnant woman),
  • Four committed suicide,
  • 33 died,
  • Others were declared bankrupt,
  • And many saw their personal lives fall apart as they endured public humiliation.

And to rub salt into the wound, Paula Vennells, the former Chief Executive of the Post Office during this scandal was awarded the CBE (which she is now voluntarily returning after over one million people petitioned for her CBE to be removed).

Ken Macdonald, who was the Director for Public Prosecution for England and Wales between 2003 and 2008, and who is now a crossbench peer, said that the scandal was a “system failure” that would not have happened had the Post Office not had the power to bring prosecutions against its own staff.

The questions on almost everybody’s mind is: Why wasn’t the fact that it happened to so many sub-postmasters over such a long period of time (18 years) picked up? Surely a basic trend analysis by any auditor would have highlighted a systematic or causal failure.

How was this missed and why was each one of the 736 sub-postmasters told that “they were the only one”?

At this present moment in time not one Post Office or Fujitsu executive has been punished or held accountable for the faulty system.

But this is not the only major travesty in recent years.

Government Policies Created a Death Trap For The Residents of Grenfell Tower

On the 14th June 2017 we had the Grenfell tower fire.

This was the worst domestic fire in living memory.

The fire engulfed a building that contained 129 flats over 20 floors.

Which resulted in 72 people losing their lives.

Martin Seaward, the Fire Brigade Union counsel for the Grenfell inquiry, said:

“The disaster was a direct consequence of a generation of government policies which combined to create a death trap for the residents of Grenfell Tower.”

And guess what (again), not one Government minister, official or person has been held responsible!

Ofsted Inspection Contributed to Ruth Perry’s Death

On the 8 January 2023 Ruth Perry, a dedicated headteacher, committed suicide following an Ofsted inspection at her school in 2022.

The senior coroner for Berkshire, Heidi Connor, said that Ruth Perry’s suicide was “contributed to by an Ofsted inspection carried out in November 2022” at the school that she led.

Heidi Connor went on to describe the inspection as at times being: “rude and intimidating” and concluded that “during and after this inspection, Ruth’s mental health deteriorated significantly” before she took her own life on 8 January 2023.

Paul Whiteman, the General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, called the coroner’s verdict “a clear and damning indictment” of the harm done by Ofsted’s inspections.

He went on to say: “Ofsted and the government have so far refused to take seriously the lessons that need to be learned from this case, or to listen properly to our warnings or the experiences of the school profession.”

Ruth Perry’s family have also spoken out against the “brutal inhumanity” of the Ofsted inspection that led to the suicide of Ruth.

The full article can be read in the Guardian newspaper here –

Oh, and if you wish to complain against Ofsted, you have to complain to Ofsted, who will investigate itself (no conflict of interest there then).

And who has been held directly accountable at Ofsted, guess what; once again – no-one!

So What Has This Got To Do With You?

The fact is, as is highlighted by the Post Office Scandal, the Grenfell Tower Scandal and the Ofsted Scandal, there are people and organisations, backed by Government (either directly or indirectly) who’s policies, standards and working practices are being ‘recommended’ or at least ‘sign-posted’ by Government Inspectors, primarily CQC and Ofsted who operate under a cloak of ‘accountable invisibility’ as ‘best practice’ when they are possibly not.

We [NFPS Ltd] have constantly raised concerns about Inspectors competence to make ‘recommendations’ in regard to an inspector’s operational knowledge and competence when it comes to the use of force, as these blog post show:

Yet organisational management do away with training that is fit for purpose in lieu of adopting an inspectors incompetent recommendation/s.

And they do this primarily to please an inspector and for fear of sanctions being imposed if they don’t.

Even when the risk assessment and financial argument (cost v risk) supports not needing to do it.

Yet regularly, these inspectors seem at some form of ‘impunity’ to peddle out recommendations in an area that they have no competence in.

Sector Experts Are Not Listened to

Even worse still, many of the organisations promoting certain policies, standards and working practices intentionally fail to listen to the sector experts in the use of force world.

Why? Primarily because many of these experienced and very competent sector experts do not agree with the inspectors.

In short, just like The Post Office Scandal, Grenfell and the sad case of Ruth Perry, money, power and influence comes before safety, welfare, compassion and consideration.

The ‘Sting In The Tail’ 

But here’s the real ‘sting in the tail’.

Those who are responsible for creating these policies, standards and working practices and the inspectors and quasi-Government departments/organisations who promote/signpost them are highly unlikely (as The Post Office, Grenfell and Ruth Perry scandals highlight) to be held accountable when things go wrong.

Instead, it will be you!

Yes, that’s right. You can be ‘advised’ (under possible fear of sanctions) by an incompetent inspector to ‘comply’ with certain standards and directives, even if your risk assessment and financial argument shows that you don’t need to, and then you become accountable for following the advice given by an incompetent inspector.

Training Providers Are Not Exempt From This Criticism Too

Many sign up as ‘complying’ with such policies, standards and working practices for one reason only – financial gain.

Some are not interested in your safety or well-being at all.

The reason – they will prioritise financial gain (the contract with the organisation) over you!

So, in turn, you will be hung out to dry.

A sacrificial lamb on the altar of financial gain.

But I am going to contradict myself here, there is one organisation who will do right by you.

One who has a history of attending meetings, tribunals and even court hearings to support you, and that is us.

The question for you is, if you agree that the Post Office, Grenfell and Ruth Perry case are all scandals where money, power and influence comes before safety, compassion and consideration, then have a good long look at our industry too as it’s happening and has been happening for some time.

So if you want an instructor course that puts safety and support first get in touch –

After all you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by simply talking to us.