New inquiry: The Windrush Compensation Scheme
19 November 2020
The Home Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry into the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
The new inquiry will examine the design and implementation of compensation processes and the support that is provided to individuals through the ‘Windrush Scheme: support in exceptional circumstances’ policy. It aims to understand whether these schemes are operating effectively for people who apply and 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.
The Home Office estimated 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.
Launching the inquiry, Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Rt Hon Yvette Cooper said:
“It has been two and a half years since the Home Affairs Committee called for a Compensation Scheme to recognise the financial loss and emotional distress experienced by those who were affected by the Windrush scandal and we welcomed the Government decision to establish a compensation scheme over a year ago.
But we are deeply concerned by the delays and various problems that have been raised around the scheme. We have already heard from many people who have experienced serious delays or have had very difficult experiences in applying for compensation, and the latest reports of concerns being raised by those working on the scheme are very troubling.
It is immensely important that the huge injustices experienced by the Windrush generation at the hands of the UK Home Office are not compounded by problems in the Compensation Scheme that was supposed to right those wrongs. For that reason we are now calling for new evidence about the progress of the Compensation Scheme including its design and implementation and the support it has provided so far. We would encourage anyone who has an experience of the Windrush Compensation Scheme to submit evidence so that the Committee can assess what is happening on the scheme now.”
Terms of reference
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?
The Home Affairs Committee wants to hear your views. Find out how to submit evidence to this inquiry. The deadline for submission is Wednesday 16 December 2020.