Paula Vennells in front of the PO enquiry

What do we reckon?

Blunt denial?

Tearful evasion?

"God told me to do it"?

"Look! Squirrell!"?

What Kimmy said. She has experts who guide her and she feels incredibly let down that the issues weren't sufficiently highlighted. She feels terrible for the families involved and wishes she had put less trust in others to advise her. 

The thing that winds me up about CEOs is they constantly bang on justifying their salary because of the size and complexity of the organisation they run and then as as soon as something goes wrong they complain that how can any one person know everything that is going on blah blah. 

I think this is all a lot simpler that the various involved parties have managed to make it.

The CEO is responsible and accountable for the effective operation of the entire business. It is the Chief Executive - the head of the management of the business and the link between executive management and non executive board.

The governance structure was inadequate.  Lower operational elements of the organisation had unrestrained discretion to behave as they pleased and nobody expected better performance of them and nobody held them to account - prosecutors, investigators, IT, procurers of external consultancy support, operations, legal, compliance etc etc the list is endless. Accordingly, the executive management were in possession of some but not all information. They were able to live in a pretendy world where information was plausibly deniable. Toxic activity was able to carry on in the labyrinth with executive management living above it and deciding they didn't have to get their hands dirty. They "relied" on the information coming from below but did not interrogate it. They had every reason to be concerned that things were very very bad and enjoyed being able to pretend they did not know.  Leadership morals were corrupt. Governance structures were inept. People in positions of responsibility having massive effect on others' lives were able to operate like Police Lite - prosecution without the safeguards of rule of law.  She is accountable and responsible for a completely broken organisation.  The people above her did not hold her to account for this. She did not hold people below to account for their acts and omissions.  She did not face facts but she had facts. She is as culpable as anyone ever was.  

Agreed Mutts.

As CEO why would you not have knowledge of this when Criminal Cases were mounting and when questions were being asked?  You are, in essence, presiding over an organisation that is catastrophically failing.

it's not quite that simple because there are quite a few emails where she personally was given information which (at least with the benefit of hindsight) could have led her to understand Horizon was not infallible

add to that the fact that Private Eye was writing continuously that this was an IT problem

I know I have said it before, but Jason Beer really is a very formidable advocate

I can't remember a more impressive lead counsel to a statutory inquiry

I’m not sure, but I think we will find out. I just don’t find it credible that all this was able to happen over such a long period of time with so many people involved in the mischief and for it all to go unnoticed at board level.

how can there be more to it than "she is as culpable as anyone ever was"?

OK I will scale up.  Far beyond this she is a presiding member of a devil worshiping cult dressed up as a church of england priest the sole purpose of which is to collect cadavers and make gold from them then work that through the economy to launder the benefit of a cocain and sex trafficking side hustle based in Albania the ultimate beneficiary of which is Putin.

You think the chief exec of any organisation being sued for tens of millions would take a personal interest in the day to day running of that litigation rather than pondering the possible new font for their letterhead.

Of course she knew.  

From the graun:

"At the moment it would appear that Vennells is going to push the line that information was withheld from her, and keeps casting forward as if the inquiry is looking to make general recommendations about corporate governance, rather than potentially deliver a verdict that might lead to the police and CPS being interested in some of the witnesses, including herself"

I think people mistake PO for a credible corporate organisation. It is and was like a bastard child of a sex party attended by all of the lower echelons of the civil service, the Soviet politburo, keystone cops,  Rod Hull and Emu,  the Iraqi ministry of information under Saddam Hussein,  Lizz Truss's government, Prince Andrew, Gary Glitter, Jimmy Savile, Donald Trump's various lawyers, and the Chuckle Brothers, all supervised by Adolf Hitler.

If she stuck her fingers in her ears and said la la la for a decade then she (a) can give the equivalent of all her salary and benefits to the compensation pot; and (b) be liable for gross negligence 

re her massive WS, 

"As a reminder, last week, Beer was frustrated that Vennells had supplied a tranche of a further 50 documents to the inquiry. Late disclosure of documents has been a persistent theme of the inquiry." 

playftse4me22 May 24 10:35

I just don’t find it credible that all this was able to happen over such a long period of time with so many people involved in the mischief and for it all to go unnoticed at board level.


it's very implausible that an organisation being constantly prodded in the press and having crusading MPs taking an interest would not have some board attention on the matter

however, it is also true that after a couple of quarters with no big bang that this could sink into the  general background noise of the board process and if people are coming on and off the board being briefed "oh that's been going on for ages nothing happens" they would be indoctrinated into the nothing to see here'ness' of it all 


She is being pressed on having said to MPs in 2012 “every case taken to prosecution that involves the Horizon system thus far has found in favour of the Post Office.”

Beer lists a number of acquittals prior to that date.

Vennells is emotional for the first time visibly, and says “The Post Office knew that. I completely accept that. Personally I didn’t know that. And I’m incredibly sorry.”

so she goes to give evidence to MPs and doesn't bother to acquaint herself with the basic facts beforehand? BS and/or PRISON. 

so she goes to give evidence to MPs and doesn't bother to acquaint herself with the basic facts beforehand? BS and/or PRISON. 

If anything, she could have told them "I don't know". But she didn't. Spin spin spin, and the truth be damned.

Modern Tory (and tbh Blairite) Britain.

This one does go back a lot further...

"Between 1999 and 2015, more than 900 subpostmasters were convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting based on faulty Horizon data," says wiki

Scep Tick22 May 24 11:28

So Deloittes audited the system and found nothing wrong.


in fairness it depends what they were auditing 

seems the crux of this was 

  1. pretending Horizon was the first piece of completely perfect software ever written 
  2. pretending remote support is not a thing 

The books would have still balanced in the audit wouldn’t they? The Horizon faults just showed missing money. That goes down as a debit and the potential recovery from the post masters is a contingent credit. They aren’t auditing the secret bank accounts of sticky fingered employees.

Yeah, that's going to go down like a turd in a swimming pool. Schoedinger's Chief exec, both not knowing what was going on and being concerned for the family of the postie...

Bertha22 May 24 11:50

deemed a culpable wuss?


there is nothing more pathetic than men crying and anyone who indulges this ridiculous trend should be expelled from humanity via a very big cannon pointed at the sun 

Beer continues “Some might say that that has been the same approach by others who have given evidence in the inquiry. They have great difficulty in remembering things unless it paints them in a favourable light.”

Vennells says “My approach to this is, I hope, with integrity.”

Dear God...

Amnesia =/= iintegrity

"When I became CEO, I didn't know we were prosecuting these cases ourselves."

"But in 2008 you attended a meeting with PO investigators who were doing just that?"

Oooops. Again. Integrity, I guess.

Why didn’t you say to John, I’ve been in the organisation five or six years now, I didn’t know you had a team of 100 people that were investigating up and down the country subpostmasters and sending them to prison. How come I didn’t know? Dozens of prosecutions occurred when you were network director. Dozens of prosecutions occurred when you were managing director. Collectively hundreds of prosecutions went on, conducted by the Post Office, having been investigated by the Post Office, and you didn’t know about it until 2012?

-- Sir Wyn Lewis Williams

It's delicious watching these fooking corporate drones who exist everywhere and trouser large sackfulls of money for doing fook all and generally ruin the lives of people who work for them get their arses handed to them

She must be really really sure there's no paper trail, given the number of people she's trying to throw under the bus ("no report was given to me, evah").


I hope she's wrong about there being no paper trail.

"What happened between you finding these cases very disturbing and you shutting down the mediation scheme? When did they cease to be very disturbing?"


BOOOOOM again.

I do have she has proper mental health report.