News story

Update: Postmasters impacted by Horizon who may have been made bankrupt

Update - January 2024

Horizon was the former accounting system used by the Post Office. Between 1999 and 2015, a number of Postmasters experienced shortfalls in cash and stock in relation to the data produced by Horizon. As a result, Postmasters were required to make good the shortfall. 

In some cases, this led to bankruptcy, where some postmasters may have petitioned for their own bankruptcy or were subject to a bankruptcy order on the petition of a creditor. The Insolvency Service and the Official Receiver, acting as trustee in bankruptcy, continues to assist former Postmasters impacted by bankruptcy and we are working closely with the Post Office and the Department for Business and Trade to ensure that claims for compensation are paid as quickly as possible.

Bankruptcy and claims for compensation are a complex area and we are helping claimants understand whether their bankruptcy orders can be cancelled and signposting appropriate advice.   

There are a number of official schemes offering compensation.

If you wish to know more about claiming compensation directly from the Post Office, please click here.

Bankruptcy / adjudicator or sequestration orders

If you have been subject to a bankruptcy / adjudicator or sequestration order, resided in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, and believe you were impacted by the Horizon discrepancies and have not yet been in contact with the Insolvency Service, please contact us via our dedicated inbox:

Please ensure you provide the following information:

  • full name;
  • date of birth;
  • contact details;
  • court / bankruptcy reference number relating to your bankruptcy (if available);
  • where your bankruptcy / adjudicator or sequestration order was made, i.e. England/Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland; and
  • a brief overview of how you were affected.

If you were subject to a bankruptcy / sequestration order in Scotland or Northern Ireland, we will  forward your details to the appropriate bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If an Insolvency Practitioner has been appointed as your Trustee in bankruptcy or you were subject to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA), please direct any queries to the Insolvency Practitioner appointed.

If you are currently subject to a Debt Relief Order and within the 12-month moratorium period, please contact the Official Receiver dealing with your case.

If you have previously contacted the Insolvency Service on this matter via the Horizon inbox referenced above, we are currently working through the enquiries received and you will receive a response in due course.

Published 23 July 2021
Last updated 9 January 2024 + show all updates
  1. Update to reflect that the Insolvency Service and the Official Receiver, acting as trustee in bankruptcy, continues to assist former Postmasters impacted by bankruptcy.

  2. Information relating to the compensation schemes has been removed and published on a separate page with more information.

  3. Updated to reflect latest information (as at Jan 2023) regarding compensation payments.

  4. Updated to include latest information on payments to former bankrupts making claims through the Historical Shortfall Scheme.

  5. Update to article conferring that the Official Receiver is engaging with the Historic Shortfall Scheme

  6. Updated to reflect that policy also applies to Northern Ireland.

  7. First published.