The Government today announced the public inquiry into the Post Office Horizon IT programme will be changed to a statutory inquiry from 1 June 2021. What this means in practice is that it will now have legal powers under the Inquiries Act. These powers can allow it to demand documents and compel individuals to attend any public hearings. Sir Wyn Williams, the judge leading the inquiry, is also expanding the inquiry to look more fully at past events as well as how the Post Office works today.
The Post Office has openly and willingly cooperated with the existing inquiry until this point and we will continue to do so. We welcome the inquiry’s new statutory footing and are hopeful that it will provide reassurances to Postmasters past and present that the inquiry will get to the truth of what happened. There can only be closure for victims of the Horizon scandal by establishing a comprehensive picture of what went wrong.
The proposed public hearings that were meant to be taking place this summer are now to be delayed to a later date, an interim report will be published towards the end of the summer and the final inquiry report is now expected to be published in autumn 2022. Post Office will continue to cooperate openly, transparently and fully with the inquiry, Sir Wyn and his team.