Post Office turns to Twitter during computer system crash

The Post Office branch network is back up and running after it failed for several hours on Thursday.

The Post Office branch network is back up and running after it failed for several hours on Thursday.

Users on Twitter were informed that the service had crashed. The Post Office team tweeted and responded individually to over 100 customers who had queries on the system failure: “Apologies, we are aware of a problem affecting our branches, which is being looked at,” the Post Office posted in one tweet.

A Post Office spokesman said of yesterday's system crash: "Post Offices across the network are again working normally after a computer problem which had earlier affected branches nationwide for several hours. We apologise to all our customers for the service problems experienced in our branches and the inconvenience this may have caused.  Services have now fully been restored and customers are able to complete all transactions across the Post Office network. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely to make sure our services remain available as normal.”

The system failure appears more substantial than the previous outage in December 2011 when the Post Office suffered disruption after thousands of branches were hit by a computer crash.
At the time the problems hit for two 30-minute periods, which left some branches unable to handle the usual volume of mail.

Post Office owner Royal Mail is undergoing a major transformation in its business, which is due to complete in 2016, to modernise the mailing service, with greater levels of automation. As part of the project, according its December 2011 annual statement, Royal Mail reported it has started to implement the largest SAP human resources and payroll system in Europe. The IT system, dubbed “People System Programme”, aims to completely modernise all of the Royal Mail HR systems and drive performance improvements.

As part of government plans to part-privatise Royal Mail, the Post Office is set to be mutualised, a plan that is likely to lead to further major changes in the back-office IT that supports both organisations.


Read more on Business continuity planning