Could back office outsourcing at Post Office spell end to troublesome Horizon system?

The Post Office is looking for suppliers to provide it with IT services worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

This includes back-office IT applications.

Could this see the organisation look again at the Horizon accounting system used by sub-postmasters. The Horizon system, which was developed by ICL/Fujitsu Services, is used by thousands of sub-postmasters. It has been blamed by many for sub-postmasters being wrongly charged and even jailed for accounting shortfalls. Others have had to make up cash discrepancies following prosecutions.

Despite years of allegations that the Horizon system is at fault for many accounting shortfalls, the Post Office has unrelentingly defended it. However it recently admitted that it had to look more closely at individual sub-postmaster cases.

Could this be the time for the Post Office to get rid of the system?

Read a timeline of articles on the subject from Computer Weekly:

May 2009 – Bankruptcy, prosecution and disrupted livelihoods – Postmasters tell their story

September 2009 – Post-masters form action group after accounts shortfall

November 2009 – Post Office theft case deferred over IT questions

February 2011 – Post Office faces legal action over alleged accounting system failures

October 2011 – 85 sub-postmasters seek legal support in claims against Post Office computer system

June 2012 – Post Office launches external review of system at centre of legal disputes Post Office launches external review of system at centre of legal disputes

January 2013 – Post Office admits that Horizon system needs more investigation

January 2013 – Post Office announces amnesty for Horizon evidence

January 2013 – Post Office wants to get to bottom of IT system allegations

June 2013 – Investigation into Post Office accounting system to drill down on strongest cases

July 2013 – Post Office Horizon system investigation reveals concerns

October 2013 – End in sight for sub-postmaster claims against Post Office’s Horizon accounting system

October 2013 What compensation do you pay a subpostmaster that has been in jail as a result of computer error?