Mr Bates & the Post Office

Who’s been watching Mr Bates and the Post office?

I wondered about parallels for us. People who haven’t had a stroke don’t get what it’s like. Sub postmasters who were accused and had no experience of being in their situation before and no connection to others felt isolation and despair .

Over time they got together and formed a community like we might be. They started to share common needs learn from each other travel their journey together…


@SimonInEdinburgh i have watched it. it was brilliant. I did shed a tear or two for these people and they injustice they suffered. it angers me now that it is still not been sorted.


I watched it too . I was interested because I worked on a post office counter back in the 80’s . We never had computers then and balanced our till once a week manually . Adding up what stock and cash we had adding up all the slips from pension books and green giros we didn’t even have a calculator :joy:
The post office has a lot to answer for and Fujitsu !


I would also like to recommend - The Royal Institute - Christmas Lectures 2023 on BBC iplayer - it’s about AI - another type of software that is becoming a strong force.


I watched it, even signed the pettion to have Paula Vennels CBE removed. Can’t understand how she’s still in the clergy, thats true hypocrisy, do as I say not as I do.

But I hear where you are coming from, and I agree that is something that could work online. I’ve never been to any local stroke group in person (other than Aphasia), but I was under the impression that’s what they are for.

So are you suggesting an online community as perhaps another tier up, perhaps separate from this forum?


She resigned her dog collar, whether she was pushed is another question. Vile woman as is the Van de Borgerd woman. Both should face criminal charges, they perverted the course of justice, they lied and still were getting people prosecuted in 2015 even though they knew the system was not fit for purpose :triumph::rage::triumph::rage::triumph::rage::triumph:



I’ve always thought the forum was distinct from the community.

We are the community
We support each other but no one has extended that into any of the aspects of recovery - just into friendship through discussion of common interest topics.

We all have (to varying degree) shared recovery needs that we talk to therapists about as if we were the only one.
Therapists don’t actually understand our life post stroke.
And or we feel abandoned by any support services

The Mr Bates documentary has given today’s society a phrase to sum up many contributing factors, in the post office case a deliberate subversive attempt to suppress the truth. In our case a nascent vision of how technology could enable social structures for better recoveries.

But We need to be a community with a voice not a bunch of separate people - and that needs (positive) discussion too

As an aside…

I was aware of the post office scandal from the articles in Computer Weekly long ago.

I was an IT techie from the late 70s & one of the first to gain the Certified In The Governance Of Enterprise IT (CGEIT). Anybody that can claim an IT system doesn’t have unexpected behaviours is either really dumb or a liar.

When the documentary was announced I definitely wanted to watch it having been aware of many years. I don’t think Lee was too keen. But after watching she and everyone else has seen it ignite a cause - because it’s given so many a common understanding



I to worked on the post office counters from 74 to 78 in Romford Essex,balancing on a wednesday and the last Friday of the month ,all done with pen and paper,the overseer was an older chap who liked to go to the pub afterwards used to alter the figures so they added up so he could get off :sweat_smile:


She had a job with the government until recently.
Who recommended her for a CBE knowing that this issue existed is surely as guilty as the recipient ?

One bit which doesn’t seem to have been mentioned is who did the system and user testing for this. Sometimes that can be poor as it’s following a script and looking for expected results. The testing might only be as good as the imagination of whoever writes the test plan, often someone technical looking for technical errors. In fact the test managers often might have tight timescales.
What doesn’t always happen is users having free reign and trying to break a platform (especially if they haven’t been trained) and using the programme in a way the developer never imagined or didn’t think to ask.


I read this when it was hot of the press first edition - It was the gold standard until about 15 or 20 years ago when better treatments of the topic were published but for a long time it was the reference work

Yeah Vennels CBE is suspect - But in hindsight.
I imagine at the start she was protecting the post office reputation from a position of having been assured they had bought a reasonable system. At some point in a highly political process she crossed the line from loyalty to the post office in good faith to loyalty through deception and sacrifice of her wider duty as a moral individual - made even more hypocritical by the fact that she was an ordained priest.

It’s very interesting that the subsequent chief exec who went to the television channel that made the program hasn’t been mentioned at all - he must have questions to answer.

I’d say more but I’m a little paranoid …

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He did get mentioned here together with an explanation. I quite like this channel as you get a view from different perspectives…apart from on brexit


Where does he get a mention? I watched it up to the point where they moved off the post office onto general elections and I heard a mention of Paula Vennels but not of the other guy?

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It was this guy

No matter how much of a f*** up you make, how much misery you cause, plenty of other CEO roles for you.


Yes I knew - but couldn’t remember who he was.
the point was I didn’t recall mention of him in Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart discussion .

He avoided mention in the documentary because he was chief exec of company that made it but I don’t think he’ll be out of the public eye :eyes: in the fallout that is raining down at the moment.

I thought Rory Stewart’s description of bugs in a computer system was only exceeded by Lewis Carroll’s imagination in Alice in Wonderland "drop the red ball in the blue box " wow - he seriously doesn’t understand but then I suppose it communicated at the layman’s level :slight_smile:

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Yes, it must be quite difficult to know at what level to pitch it. I will have to dig out the Crozier reference as he looks to be very heavily involved. I have watched so many you tube vids now perhaps it was on something else