Speaking up about the Post Office (Online)

Date: Thursday 30 May 2024, 11.00AM
Location: Online
Section Group Meeting

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Terrible things happened at the Post Office and went unresolved for several decades, as revealed by the ongoing public inquiry. We will hear about initial proposals in respect of professional responsibilities, effective monitoring, and accountability practices which are being taken forward. And some more direct experience of technology development and the challenges inherent in delivering new systems, with reference to the Post Offices specifically, as well as presenting data about prosecutions. This event asks members what they think the RSS can do, and how statisticians can work with others to do better.
Like many people, RSS members have been moved by the story of the Post Office, which prosecuted their own subpostmasters without validating the accounting data emerging from their distributed accounting systems. Statistics have not been obviously abused so we are working with other organisations such as the BCS to reinforce professional expectations. But the absence of statistical techniques in monitoring, assurance and even basic data collection does indicate a pattern of neglect which members will want the RSS to address.
Our early discussions in the Data Ethics & Governance section this year identified some areas for learning. Tom King will set out six points across individual responsibilities, evaluation strategy and governance oversight and progress so far. Separately, Peter Wells and Sheila Bird have been doing some specific work looking at data about the legal system. Other members are welcome to raise questions and concerns, and respond to the speakers, both generally and specifically (without criticising individuals). Please get in touch if you would like to speak.
Speakers will include Tom King, Sheila Bird and Peter Wells.

Chair: Timandra Harkness
Organiser: Tom King (Data Ethics & Governance section)
Members - free to attend 

Non members - £10