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Call for evidence

The Windrush Compensation Scheme

Background

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?

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 Wednesday 16 December. 

Click on the start button below to submit written evidence. 

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