Call for Evidence
The Windrush Compensation Scheme
11 February 2021 Further call for evidence: Windrush Compensation Scheme
In November 2020, the Home Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Committee is looking at the design and implementation of the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the support that is provided to individuals through the ‘Windrush Scheme: support in exceptional circumstances’ policy. It wants to understand whether these schemes are operating effectively for people who apply. The Committee wants to find out whether changes are needed so that people who apply feel their applications have been considered fairly and swiftly. It would also like to know what the Home Office can do to provide better support to anyone who applies to the scheme.
In December 2020, the Home Office announced changes to the Windrush Compensation Scheme. These included:
- For people who could show an impact on their life under the terms of the compensation scheme, raising the minimum award from £250 to £10,000
- Introducing a new early payment: eligible people who could show an impact on their life under the scheme would receive a £10,000 payment more quickly, while their full claim is considered
- Raising the maximum award for impact on life from £10,000 to £100,000, with higher awards in exceptional circumstances
- Removing the 12-month cap on general awards for “loss of access to employment” so people could be compensated for the amount of time they could not work
- Opening a £500,000 community fund for grassroots organisations supporting access to the Compensation Scheme and Windrush Scheme
- Announcing that We Are Digital will replace Citizens Advice as providers of the Claimant Assistance service.
The Home Office said that these changes would apply “retrospectively” to the scheme: it would contact people who had applied to the scheme before December to tell them how the changes could affect them. The Home Office intended to consider the “vast majority of cases” for this early payment by the end of March 2021.
The Home Office also confirmed a change it made to the scheme in October relating to the standard of proof required before an award is made.
As the Committee first asked for written statements about the scheme before these changes were announced, it would now like to know if these changes have made a difference to people’s experience of the scheme:
- Are the Home Office’s changes to the scheme helpful?
- So far, what difference have the changes made to you, or to people you know who have applied to the scheme?
- Do the changes go far enough?
- Are further changes needed to make the scheme more effective?
- Has the Home Office done enough to inform you, or people you know who have applied to the scheme, about the changes? Would you like them to do this in a different way?
- Have these changes caused any new problems or concerns for you, or people you know?
- In October, the Home Office announced that the threshold for deciding to award compensation to claimants would now be "on a balance of probability" across the full Scheme. References to "satisfied so as to be sure" and "satisfied beyond reasonable doubt" were removed from the guidance for caseworkers.
- What difference has the change from “satisfied so as to be sure” and “satisfied beyond reasonable doubt” to “on a balance of probability” made so far?
- How well is this change being communicated and explained to claimants?
- What more should be done to make sure that caseworkers understand the difference this makes, and factor it properly into their decisions?
Please limit your comments to discussion of these points, or things related to them that the Committee should know about.
It is important to the Committee to understand people’s concerns and experiences. Please note, however, that the Committee cannot look into the Home Office’s treatment of individual applications for compensation and it cannot ask the Home Office to make or review an offer of compensation. Any written statements sent to the Committee will help the Committee to understand how the Windrush Compensation Scheme is working overall. The Committee hopes to identify parts of the process which could be improved, so that it can raise those issues with the Home Office and press for changes which will help people who apply in the future.
Information about your statement of evidence
In line with the general practice of select committees the Home Affairs Committee is not able to take up individual cases. If you would like political support or advice you may wish to contact your local Member of Parliament. The Committee welcomes evidence which refers to personal experience but kindly requests that any written statements directly address the terms of reference set out above. Detailed guidance on writing a statement (or submission) of evidence is available here and a short guide is available here.
The Committee will decide whether to accept each statement. If your statement is accepted by the Committee, it will usually be published online. It will then be available permanently for anyone to view. It can’t be changed or removed. If you have included your name or any personal information in your statement, that will normally be published too. Please consider how much personal information you want or need to share. If you include personal information about other people in your statement, the Committee may decide not to publish it. Your contact details will never be published.
Decisions about publishing evidence anonymously, or about accepting but not publishing evidence, are made by the Committee. If you would like to ask the Committee to accept your statement anonymously (meaning it will be published but without your name), or confidentially (meaning it won't be published at all), please say at the start of your statement which of these you want to request, and tell us why. This lets the Committee know what you would like but the final decision will be taken by the Committee.
Submissions should be received by 12 noon on Monday 1 March 2021.
Click on the start button at the bottom of this page to submit written evidence.
Previous call for evidence relating to this inquiry: November 2020
The Home Affairs Committee is looking at the design and implementation of the Windrush Compensation Scheme and the support that is provided to individuals through the ‘Windrush Scheme: support in exceptional circumstances’ policy. It wants to understand whether these schemes are operating effectively for people who apply. The Committee wants to find out whether changes are needed so that people who apply feel their applications have been considered fairly and swiftly. It would also like to know what the Home Office can do to provide better support to anyone who applies to the scheme.
On 23 April 2018, the then Home Secretary confirmed that those affected by the Windrush scandal would be compensated for the losses they had suffered. In July 2018, the Home Affairs Committee recommended that the compensation scheme should be established as soon as possible and payments made before the end of the year. The Committee also urged the Government to act on its June 2018 recommendation to establish a hardship fund for those in acute financial difficulty. The Windrush Scheme: support in exceptional circumstances policy was set up in December 2018 and, following a public consultation, the Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched on 3 April 2019.
The Home Office estimates the overall cost of the Windrush Compensation Scheme to be between £90 million and £250 million, based on a planning assumption of 11,500 eligible claims. However, as at the end of September 2020, 1,587 applications had been received and £1,619,291.42 had been paid to 196 claims. The Home Office’s Comprehensive Improvement Plan, drawn up in response to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, says that a further £1.2 million had been offered to individuals and was either awaiting acceptance or pending a review. The Home Secretary has written to the Committee to say that, at the end of March 2020, 35 of the 142 requests for an urgent and exceptional payment had been approved, with payments totalling £46,796.08.
Terms of Reference for written statements of evidence
The Committee invites written statements answering the questions set out below. Please note that statements do not need to address all of these questions:
• Is the Home Office managing to “right the wrongs” experienced by the Windrush generation through this Compensation Scheme?
- Are you confident that the Windrush Compensation Scheme is fair?
- Is the level of compensation being offered by the Home Office adequate? If not, in which particular areas is it inadequate?
• How good is the Home Office at sharing information about the Windrush Compensation Scheme? What could the Home Office do better to make sure people know about the scheme, and about the support that is available?
• Do you, or does someone you know, have experience of contacting the Vulnerable Persons Team and/or the Windrush Help Team? If so, what did the team do well and what could they do to provide better support?
• Do you, or does someone you know, have experience of interacting with the Home Office generally since the Windrush Compensation Scheme was established?
- If so have you noticed a change in the way the Home Office has responded to you?
- Do you believe the culture in the Home Office is changing?
• Is it easy to use the scheme application forms and the accompanying guidance?
- Is it easy to get help with an application, if this is needed?
- If you or someone you know has had contact with the Home Office about an application, what was that contact like?
- How could the Home Office have communicated better about your application?
• Are the Windrush Compensation Scheme rules and the guidance for caseworkers working well?
- Are people being compensated fairly under these rules for the losses they have suffered, such as –but not limited to- actual financial losses?
- If not, what changes would make the rules and guidance work better to give people fair compensation?
• Is the review process working well? If not, what changes could make it work better?
• What changes could make the Windrush Compensation Scheme as a whole, and/or the support in exceptional circumstances policy, work better for those affected by the Windrush scandal?
Submissions to the further call for evidence should be received by 12 noon on Monday 1 March 2021.
Click on the start button below to submit written evidence.
This call for written evidence has now closed.Go back to The Windrush Compensation Scheme Inquiry