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IT man on the 5am ferry as Horizon reaches Orkney



James Rogers

Post Offices in two of the most isolated parts of the UK are the latest to go live as part of the Horizon counter...

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James Rogers

Post Offices in two of the most isolated parts of the UK are the latest to go live as part of the Horizon counter automation project.

Branches in the Shetlands and Orkneys have joined the nationwide scheme, undertaken by the Post Office and e-business services company ICL.

Twenty-five Post Office branches in Shetland and 35 in Orkney have already been automated as part of the scheme, which involves the installation of touch-screen technology across the Post Office network, some 18,500 branches, by spring 2001.

Evelyn Grant, post mistress at Dounby Post Office on Orkney, said, "All the pensions and allowances are on the Horizon system and every customer is using it. As long as it keeps me in a job, that's the main thing."

The Shetland Islands are as close to Norway as they are to Aberdeen. And the spread of the island locations meant that the roll-out relied heavily on reliable ferry schedules.

Orkney-based ICL engineer and sheep farmer John Ruscoe is involved in the maintenance of the project. "The maintenance of this is not too bad, you just have to be flexible," he said. "On some of the islands you might have to catch a 5am ferry - or another option is to hitch a lift on a fishing boat."

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