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Keith Richards column: How the NFSP supports HSS claimants

Mar 5, 2024 |


My role within the NFSP is described as “Compliance and Network Support” which covers a wide range of services to members.

One role which I have been involved with for a number of years now is the Historical Shortfall Scheme (HSS). This was to support the original claimants who had submitted their claim by November 2020 and I had a watching brief to ensure that those claims were processed according to the criteria laid down by the HSS. 

Whilst I could not be totally involved due to GDPR and the NFSP not being directly part of the HSS, I was able to raise any issue that a claimant was concerned about and this was then dealt with by the HSS.

From the start we had, and continue to have, monthly meetings with the senior manager of the HSS where we have open discussions regarding the progress of claims, compensation paid in total and any outstanding cases. To date, every original claim should now have had at least an offer, and of the 2,800 original claims, just over 300 remain unsettled.

Following the closure of the original HSS, it became obvious that many postmasters had missed the opportunity to make a claim for unexplained losses for a variety of reasons. We pointed this out to government and others on several occasions, and eventually, there was an agreement to open up a “late claims process” to allow further claims to be submitted and considered. Initially, there were approximately 250 claims submitted, with a trickle coming in every week after that.

Following the ITV programme 'Mr Bates vs The Post Office' over the new year, this has triggered thoughts in the minds of postmasters both past and present as to whether their losses, although unidentified and made good at the time, could have been attributable to a Horizon glitch. 

The NFSP have recently received a significant number of calls requesting a claim form so that these individuals can seek recompense for the unidentified losses that occurred in their office.

We would encourage anyone who has a loss of this type and hasn’t yet approached us for a form to do so as soon as possible so that their submission can be considered by the HSS.

Kind regards,

Keith Richards
NFSP Compliance and Network Support Advisor