Disgraced Post Office CEO has CBE stripped by King Charles

Paula Vennells has officially had her CBE revoked by the King due to public outcry over her involvement in the Post Office Horizon scandal. Last month, Vennells announced her intention to return her CBE following the airing of ITV’s drama about the scandal, Mr. Bates vs The Post Office. However, it has now been legally stripped from her. The decision to rescind her honor came after an online petition garnered over a million signatures in just a few days, demanding her removal. Vennells served as the CEO of the Post Office from 2012 to 2019 and held various senior positions prior to that. She left the organization in 2019, just before a damning High Court judgment criticized the management’s handling of the scandal, which unfairly punished subpostmasters for errors caused by the Post Office’s own computer system. During her time as CEO, Vennells received over £400,000 in salary and bonuses. In a separate incident, Alan Bates, a former subpostmaster who has been at the forefront of the campaign for justice, declined an OBE in January 2023 due to Vennells’ retention of her CBE. Bates believed it would be inappropriate to accept the honor while Vennells still held her accolade, which he claimed brought the entire honors system into disrepute. The Post Office Horizon scandal revolved around the blaming and financial burdens placed on subpostmasters for unexplained losses in their accounts, which were actually caused by the faulty Horizon computer system implemented by the Post Office in 1999 and 2000. Many subpostmasters suffered significant financial losses, resulting in terminations and bankruptcies. Over 700 subpostmasters were prosecuted based on the Horizon system’s evidence, leading to numerous convictions for crimes such as theft and false accounting. Computer Weekly initially highlighted the experiences of seven impacted subpostmasters in 2009, which prompted an influx of others who had also suffered losses to come forward. For more information on the Horizon scandal, you can read the timeline of Computer Weekly articles provided below or watch ITV’s documentary on the topic, Mr. Bates vs the Post Office: The real story.

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