Updated call for evidence: Windrush Compensation Scheme inquiry
11 February 2021
Following changes to the Windrush Compensation Scheme, the Home Affairs Committee has issued an updated call for evidence.
- Submit written evidence: The Windrush Compensation Scheme inquiry
- Inquiry: The Windrush Compensation Scheme
- Home Affairs Committee
Call for evidence
The new call for evidence follows changes to the compensation scheme announced by the Government in December 2020.
The changes included raising the minimum award for impact on life to £10,000 and the opening of a community fund to improve access to the scheme.
The new call for evidence invites written evidence on the on the impact the changes to the scheme have had.
Terms of reference
The Committee is inviting written evidence on the following questions:
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?
"on a balance of probability"
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?
Chair of the Home Affairs Committee, Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP said:
"The Committee has been looking at the Windrush Compensation Scheme for some time and we have repeatedly raised our concerns with the Government around long delays, problems and injustices in the way the scheme was working.
"It is welcome that the Government has recently announced reforms to the scheme to try to address some of those problems, but we want to know how those reforms are now working in practice.
"So we want to hear from people with recent experience of the Compensation Scheme on how the system is working now and what impact those new reforms have had.
"After the huge injustices caused to people in the Windrush Scandal, it is vital that the Windrush Compensation Scheme works effectively to address those wrongs."
About the inquiry
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 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.
Changes to the Windrush Compensation Scheme
In December 2020, the Home Office announced changes to the Windrush Compensation Scheme including:
- 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.
If you would like to submit evidence for this inquiry, you can do so on the Windrush Compensation Scheme inquiry page.
You should limit your comments to discussion of the points listed in the Terms of Reference, or things related to them that the Committee should know about.
It is important to the Committee to understand people’s concerns and experiences. However, 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.