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 Windrush Help Team 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 Help Team.
Over 13,300 documents have been provided to more than 11,500 individuals confirming their status or British citizenship.
To help people apply for documentation, the taskforce has attended over 80 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. On 14th November the Home Office announced it was overhauling the scheme so people received significantly more money, more quickly.
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.
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. The Home Office launched a tender in April to select an organisation to provide free, independent claimant assistance for the duration of the scheme. The successful bidder, We are Digital, will provide the Claimant Assistance service from the first quarter of 2021, until then Citizens Advice will continue to support members of the Windrush generation and their families.
Support is accessed by referral through the Windrush Helpline: 0800 678 1925.
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 17 December 2020.
Latest Statistics: Key Points
As of 30 November 2020
- Overall, the value of all payments made through the scheme was over £2.4m.
- A further £1.3m had been offered to individuals, awaiting acceptance or pending review.
- 260 claims had received a payment.
- 552 people had been referred to our independent claimant assistance provider.
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.
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 approximately 125 engagement and outreach events across the country.
These events include over 30 public community engagement events to raise awareness of the Windrush Schemes, and approximately 80 one-to-one surgeries to help people apply for documentation through the Windrush Help Team.
These events were moved 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 13 online events. Further information on events is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-engagement-events.
Promotion of the Schemes and supporting communities
The Windrush Community Fund opened for applications on 14 December. The Community Fund will support community and grassroots organisations to run outreach and promotional activity to raise awareness of the Windrush Scheme and Windrush Compensation Scheme. For more information and how to apply go to: gov.uk/homeoffice/windrush-community-fund
- 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. Applications can still be made for costs incurred to hold a digital event.
- To ensure we priority audiences throughout the UK, the Home Office ran a £750,000 advertising campaign earlier this year. The campaign used a range of channels including print, local radio, web and social media to make more people aware of the support available to them and how to apply.
- Grassroots activity has included partnerships with specialist media outlets and the recruitment of campaign ambassadors. The ambassadors are working in communities throughout the UK to encourage and support applications amongst their networks, via activities such as media interviews, hosting information events, distributing materials through food banks, faith organisations and coordinating social media work.
- The Government continues to work closely with stakeholders to ensure the campaign encourages as many people as possible to apply.
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 published a comprehensive improvement plan in response to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review on 30 September, which shows 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.
Statistics on Windrush Compensation Scheme were updated on Friday 18 December.