Alan Bates: Where is the Former Subpostmaster Now?

PBS’ ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ is a biographical drama series that focuses on the Horizon scandal that led to the false allegations against hundreds of subpostmasters. In light of this injustice, Alan Bates formed an alliance with everyone affected by it and began the fight against the Post Office. Since Alan was the face of the entire campaign, many people are likely to be interested to find out more about his personal life and current whereabouts.

Alan Bates Led the Movement Against The Post Office Scandal

Born in 1954 in Liverpool, England, Alan Bates spent time in different regions of the United Kingdom, including Newcastle, Exeter, and Cardiff. After studying graphic design in Wrexham, he began his career in project management. He got married to Suzanne Sercombe, with whom he spent many years together before collectively deciding to make the most of their life savings and invest in a Post office branch in Llandudno, North Wales, in 1998. In March of the same year, he was appointed subpostmaster, and in the next two years, he became fully aware of the faulty Horizon system when his account appeared short of £6,000.

Initially, Alan managed to rectify the discrepancies shown in the system, but when the Post Office found out that £1,200 was unaccounted for in November 2003, his contract was terminated, and he was sacked from his job. He was accused of fraud and theft, which consequently led to losses at his local branch. Not only did he refuse to accept liability, but he also set up a website to bring some of the concerns related to the Horizon system to light. Then, he brought all the other subpostmasters with similar issues together and formed an alliance called the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance (JFSA).

Leading the alliance with a primary objective of granting justice for everyone falsely accused of fraud, Alan Bates fought the Post Office for several years that followed. Meanwhile, Alan and his wife were luckier than most of the other claimants. In a conversation with RNZ, he explained, “Even though the post office was taken away, we still had the retail side of our business, which we ran for a few years…We were fortunate enough to come out with enough to buy outright a small property for ourselves…We both had basic jobs and also I went back to college to (study) more on computer sciences and stuff of that sort, which was very useful going forward. It did help once we started to get into court and on the technical aspects of all of this.”

Finally, Alan’s years and years of rebellion bore some fruit when, in 2019, it was proven that the Horizon system contained several errors, bugs, and defects. This resulted in the Post Office agreeing to settle all the hundreds of claimants who had been wronged. In the end, out of the hundreds of false convictions related to the Horizon and the Post Office scandal, the convictions of several claimants were reversed and eligible for compensation. He elaborated on the same, “We were out to expose the truth because with the truth, there was a lot more we could do. Convictions have been overturned, people are starting to get money back, a whole host of things. But we have to get this truth out.”

Retired Alan Bates Still Fights For Justice For Other Claimants

After the success of the court trial, Alan Bates has now retired but would only rest when he gets justice and reasonable compensation for everyone who was traumatized and affected in any form or manner by the scandal. In January 2023, he was awarded an OBE for services to justice, but he turned it down, telling the Honours Committee, “I do appreciate that there may well be people who believe that after the many years of my unpaid campaigning, which I led in order to expose the truth, I deserve some recognition for my work. But I hope you can understand why it would be so inappropriate for me to accept any award at present, while so many of the victims continue to suffer so badly and (Paula) Vennells still retains an honor and remains a ‘role model’ to the Honours Committee.”

What made 2023 a significant year for Alan is that he was also named the winner of the Special Recognition Award at the Pride of Britain Awards. During a conversation with Wales Online, he talked about the Horizon scandal further. He said, “With the public inquiry into the scandal not due to report until (2024) it is too soon to declare success. People say this is about getting justice, but it isn’t. It’s about finding the truth of what happened. Justice will follow, hopefully. But the first aim was to prove we’d been lied to.” In January 2024, he received only about a sixth of what he proposed as compensation for the false accusations against him. He rejected the compensation offer and called it “cruel” and “derisory.”

Further elaborating on the same, he added, “I have been in the queue along with all the others in the scheme, but if my case is an example of the way they are going to treat all the cases, we may as well start looking at a legal action again and let the judiciary decide.” He also made an appearance on ‘This Morning’ and ‘Lorraine’ along with his wife Suzanne Sercombe. On April 9, 2024, during the Post Office Horizon Public inquiry, he gave evidence to the court and helped with a resolution of the debacle. After sharing his side in the public inquiry, Alan Bates quipped that he plans to “buy a little post office and put his feet up” following the conclusion of the entire legal process.

Read More: Suzanne Sercombe: Alan Bates’ Wife is a Special Education Teacher Today