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FiLed on behait of the: Delendant

Witness: A. P. Carpenter

,,'" r"?'3l?T il'Jli'I!1
THE POST OFFICE GROUP LITIGATION

Claim Nos: HQ16X0't238, HQl7X02637 and HQ17X04248

tN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
OUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE
BETWEEN:
ALAN BATES & OTHERS
Claimants

AND

POST OFFICE LIMITED
Defendant

WTNESS STATEMENT OF ANDREW PHILIP CARPENTER

l, ANDREW PHILIP CARPENTER of Future Walk, West Bars, Chesterfield, S49 1PF
WILL SAY as follows:

I am an Agents Contract Advisor for Post Office Limited (Post OfIice). I am
authorised to make this statement on behalf of Post Office.

The facts set out in this statement are within my own knowledge, or if they are
outside my knowledge, I have explained the source of my information or belief

ln this stalement:

3.1 the term Subpostmaster is used to generally refer to agents of Post
Office who operate branches on its behalf, including subpostmasters,
subpostmistresses, postmasters, franchisees and operators; and

3.2 paragraph references are to paragraphs of the Individual Particulars of
Claim (IPOC) of Lead Claimant Mrs Elizabeth Stockdale, unless otherwise
stated.

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

4. I sla(ed my career with Post Office as a Retail Network Manager in December
1993 I progressed to become a Retail Line Manager in September 2001. I

became a Contract and Service Manager in March 2005. I was appointed as a
Contracts Advisor in the National Contracts Team in September 2006. ln May
2007, I was successful with my application to become a Business Development

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Manager. ln April 2009, I was appointed to my current role as an Agents Contracl
Advisor.

My responsibilities as a Contracts Advisor include interviewing applications for
appointment as Subpostmaster. During my time as Contracts Advisor, I have
carried oul hundreds of interviews of applicants for the position of Subpostmaster.

fJ- This statement focuses on my interview of the Lead Claimant, Mrs Stockdale
concerning her application to be appointed a Subpostmaster.

INTEBVIEW OF MRS STOCKDALE

7. As a result of the time that has passed since, and the number of interviews I have
carried out in my career, I cannot now recall interviewing Mrs Stockdale on 5
February 2A14 al the branch known as the Sandsacre Post Office branch at
Wheatley Drive, Bridlington, East Yorkshire, Y016 6TN (the Branch). However, I

have been shown a number of documents which confirm that I did in fact
interview her for the position of Subpostmaster. I can confirm that it is my
handwriting on the lnterviewer Guidance Notes, Section A {POL-0000543} .

8. Whilst I cannot recall the details of the interview with Mrs Stockdale, I can confirm
that I always followed a structured format for all interviews I conducted. I would
have run through an 'interview checklist'with Mrs Stockdale, as I did this as part
of all agent application interviews. I would read through this checklist and expand
on the relevant sections as set out below. I would explain:

8.1 That the Subpostmaster contract is a contract for services and not a
contract of employment, therefore, personal service is not required. I

would have made the distinctron clear so that the applicant understood
this. As pan of the interview, I would run through the key sections of the
contract, in this case a Local contract, as a general overview of some of
the things the applicant should bear in mind. I would have told Mrs
Stockdale at the interview after I ran through the summary of the contract
that if she was successful at interview, she would be sent two copies of
the contract. lf she agreed to the terms, I would have explained that the
standard process was that she would be required to sign the copies and
send them back to Post Off ice. The two copies would then be
countersigned by Post Otfice, who would retain one and send one back to
Mrs Stockdale.

8.2 That the Subpostmaster is responsible, whether present in branch or not,
for the performance and operation of the branch. I would have explained

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Claim Nos: HQl6X01238, HQl7X02637 and HQl7X04248

to Mrs Stockdale that she could appoint someone else to run the branch
on a day to day basis, but that the ultimate accountabilily lay with her.

8.3 That the Subpostmaster is responsible for staffing the branch and for the
training of their staff. I would mention TUPE, but not give them any advice
about how it worked, and would have said that they were responsible for
their assistants from the moment they were employed by them to the
moment irrey teft.

u.+ That the Subpostmaster is responsible for preparing accounts at the end
of each trading period, which was every 4 to 5 weeks, together with any
losses identified in the branch accounts (whether incurred by them or
others). I would run through the fact that they wouid be responsible for
cash and stock, and for balancing the books, I would explain that if there
were any losses, they were required to make these good straight away.
Conversely if there were any gains, I would have said that they could
remove them, but I would have stressed that as with a loss if the books
did not balance this was because an error had been made somewhere
along the line and they might have to put the gain back once the error was
corrected. I may have also mentioned that this topic would be covered in
their training if the applicant was successful with lheir application.

8.5 That Post Office was unable to guarantee the fees from the branch. Any
figures that the applicanl had been given prior to the interview were an
estimate, and I would explain that their earnings could be higher or lower
than this sum. ln this interview, as it was a change from a Subpostmaster
Contract to a Local contract, the fees would be very different to those
earned by the outgoing Subpostmaster and so it is unlikely that the old
remuneration of the outgoing Subpostmaster would have been used as
any sot1 of comparator in the interview of Mrs Stockdale.

8.6 That the Subpostmaster would receive training which was split into online
learning, classroom training and on-site training. I would have most likely
mentioned the operations manual and other instructions that the
Subpostmaster was required to follow and explained that the
Subpostmaster needed to keep up to date with these as and when they
were changed or issued, and that these documents would be covered in
their training. I would have made il clear that the training of their
assistants was a matter for the Subpostmaster. I might have mentioned
that they could call a helpline known as NBSC if they had any queries.

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Claim Nos: HQ16X01238, HO17X02637 and HQ17X04248

8.7 That there were certain standards which they would be required to meet
when running a branch so that all branches operated io the standard that
customers expected. As part ol this section of the interview, I may have
ask the applicant to give an example of a retailer who they thought
operated on agood set of siandards and how this was comparable to Post
Office.

8.8 I would have covered with Mrs Stockdale the possibility of fraud. I would
starl by saying this was an unpleasant topic, but that I needed to cover it
off. I would say that there was the possibility of robbery and theft from
outside sources, and also trom staff. I would explain that it was imperative
that she followed the guidance contained in the security and operations
manuals and instructions issued by Post Office. I would end this topic by
saying that the guidance was in place to protect Post Office, Mrs
Stockdale and her staff. I would have suggested that she carry out regular
checks, whether she was there on a day to day basis or not, to keep on
top of this risk.

8.9 I would have explained to Mrs Stockdale that transaction errors were
possible which could be the cause of a shortfall.

8.10 I would have informed Mrs Stockdale that cash was only to be used for
Post Office uses. I would use as a standard example that she couldn't use
Post Office money io pay the window cleaner, or to take some cash to the
wholesaler to buy stock, even if she was going to pay it back the same
day.

8.1 1 I would have explained that it was important that she understood the
contents of the Local contract, ask any questions she may have prior to
signing it and only sign it once she was happy to do so, as this was
something I said to all applicants.

I would not have gone into any detail about the specific products and services of
Post Otfice in the Interview wilh Mrs Stockdale, or the notice periods under the
contract.

10. I am aware that in paragraph 92, Mrs Stockdale has alleged that Post Office
agreed to act as her agent. I do not believe that I said that. This was not how the

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relationship worked and was not something lwould agree to or suggest in any
circumstances.

STATEMENT OF TFUTH

I believe thal

Signed:

Date: