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 December 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 in advance of the Windrush compensation scheme.
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:
- with support and advice on accessing mainstream benefits
- 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 independently designed, with community leaders and Martin Forde QC, so that the claimant is at the heart of it and it is as easy to use as possible.
Payments are made as quickly as possible, but cases deserve to be processed individually, with the care and sensitivity they deserve, so that the maximum payment can be made to every single person.
The first payment was made within just four months of the scheme operating and more payments being made week on week.
An offer has to be accepted by an applicant before it can be paid, and applicants have a right of review.
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 regular basis. The latest data was published on 31 July 2020.
Latest Statistics: Key Points
- As of 15 July, over £1.5m had been offered in compensation through the scheme.
- Overall, the value of all payments made through the scheme up to 30 June 2020 was over £750,000.
- Overall, the number of claims where a payment has been made up to 30 June 2020 was 110.
- 404 people have now been referred to our independent claimant assistance provider.
Face to face engagement
We believe that grassroots, face-to-face engagement is the most effective way to deliver our messages to the people we know we need to reach. We have held over 100 engagement and outreach events across the country.
These events include 30 public community engagement events to raise awareness of the Windrush Schemes, and 70 one to one surgeries to help people apply for documentation through the taskforce.
These events have continued online during the coronavirus pandemic so that people can continue to access support and advice on how to apply for the Windrush Schemes. To date, we have held five online events with a further four planned in July/August. Further information on events is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-engagement-events.
Windrush Cross-Government Working Group
On 22 June 2020, the Home Secretary launched the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group.
The Working Group, co-chaired by the Home Secretary and Bishop Derek Webley, brings together community organisations with government representatives to support the delivery of practical solutions to address challenges affecting the Windrush generation and their families.
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.
To ensure that all those affected are reached, the Home Office is also launching a £750k targeted advertising campaign, using a range of channels, such as adverts and social media, to make sure those most affected around the UK are aware of the support available to them and know how to apply. The Government will work closely with stakeholders to ensure our campaign encourages as many people as possible to apply.
Grassroots activity, including recruiting community ambassadors nationally and in priority areas to encourage and support applications among their networks, is also being undertaken. More details on this activity will be announced 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.
On 21 July 2020, the Home Secretary set out the action the Home Office is taking in response to the Wendy Williams Windrush Lessons Learned Review.
This will include comprehensive training for everyone working in the Home Office to ensure they understand and appreciate the history of migration and race in this country. Every existing and new member of staff working for the Home Office will be required to undertake this learning.
Greater emphasis will be placed on taking a more compassionate approach to individual applications and decision makers will be empowered to use their own discretion and pragmatism.
The Home Secretary will also publish a comprehensive improvement plan in response to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review in September, which will show how the Home Office is delivering on the recommendations and working to be more diverse and worthy of the trust of the whole communities it serves.