The Windrush generation were wronged by successive governments. To help right those wrongs, the Home Office has put in place a number of measures.
Supporting people to settle their status in the UK and outreach
On 16 April 2018, the Home Office established a taskforce to ensure members of the Windrush generation could get the documentation they need to prove their right to be in the UK.
The Windrush scheme was introduced a month later to formalise the work of the taskforce.
So far 12,030 individuals have been granted some form of documentation by the taskforce.
To help people apply for documentation, the taskforce has attended over 70 one to one surgeries in person at places of worship, care homes and community centres, across the UK since 2018.
Urgent and exceptional cases
In October 2018, the Home Office established an Urgent and Exceptional Payments process for those members of the Windrush generation who had an urgent and exceptional need that could not wait for a compensation claim to be processed.
The process remains open for those who need it. The total value of the payments approved to date is £46,795.08.
But this is just one way we help those in urgent need. There is also a dedicated Vulnerable Persons Team (VPT) to provide help and advice for more vulnerable people. This service also helps people:
- get emergency housing
- access mainstream benefits, including referring people to the Department for Work and Pensions
- get support and advice on housing.
To the end of March, the VPT has provided support to 1,438 individuals including:
- 364 referrals to Department for Work and Pensions in relation to fresh claims and reinstatement of benefits
- 265 individuals given advice and support on issues relating to housing
Windrush Compensation Scheme
The Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched on 3 April 2019 and will be open for claims until at least 2 April 2023.
The fair and accessible scheme was designed with a leading barrister, Martin Forde QC.
Payments are made as quickly as possible, with the first payment made within just four months of the scheme operating.
The scheme has been designed so that people should not need lawyers to make a claim. For those who want support, the Home Office has funded Citizens Advice, a national charity, to provide free, independent claimant assistance – this is accessed by referral through the Windrush Helpline: 0800 678 1925.
The Home Office is currently running a full tender for organisations to bid to provide claimant assistance for the duration of the scheme.
A review process for those dissatisfied with their compensation offer has been established, first through an internal Home Office review and, if the claimant is still dissatisfied, through an independent review by the Adjudicator’s Office.
On 27 February, the first set of data relating to the Windrush Compensation Scheme was published. Data will continue to be published on a quarterly basis.
Face to face engagement
After the launch of the Windrush Compensation Scheme, members of the Windrush Compensation Scheme team have arranged or attended over 30 public community engagement events to raise awareness of the Compensation Scheme.
These have happened in all major cities across the UK or where analysis shows there may be priority audiences. Taskforce colleagues also attend these events and assist with documentation queries in one to one sessions.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Home Office will also be working with stakeholders and wider community to pilot online engagement events so that people can continue to access support and advice on how to apply for the Windrush schemes.
Windrush Stakeholder Advisory Group
In September 2019, the Home Secretary launched a quarterly Windrush Stakeholder Advisory Group with a mix of church leaders, lawyers, community action groups and others from a range of geographical locations, to come together and advise and consult on our communications and engagement strategy.
This forum has provided an opportunity for community representatives to act as a critical friend and provide the Home Office with insight into the concerns or questions those on the ground have. It also gives the Home Office the opportunity to myth bust the sometimes misleading information the public may receive in the press.
On 19 March 2020, the Home Secretary also announced a cross-Government Windrush working group with the longer-term aim of addressing wider racial inequalities and with more focus on restorative justice practices. More details on this will be announced in due course.
Promotion of the Schemes and supporting communities
A funding mechanism was set up in June 2019 to allow community groups or charities to apply for reimbursement from the Home Office for things like venue hire and refreshments where they held events to raise awareness of the Schemes.
On 19 March 2020, the Home Secretary also announced the launch of a dedicated national communications campaign to raise awareness of both Schemes.
She also announced a £500K community grant fund for grassroots organisations to use to promote the Windrush Scheme and Windrush Compensation Scheme and increase uptake to them. Further details on this will be published in due course.
Learning lessons and moving forward
The Windrush lessons learned review
In 2018, the previous Home Secretary commissioned a lessons learned review into the events leading up to Windrush. Independent oversight was provided by Wendy Williams.
After receiving the final report, the Home Secretary published the report the next day on 19 March 2020.
On behalf of successive governments, the Home Secretary apologised to the Windrush generation for the way they were treated.
The Home Secretary committed to considering and responding to all the recommendations within six months, as requested by Wendy Williams.