Priti Patel has pledged to deliver a cultural shift in the Home Office as the government formally responds to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review.
Today (September 30), the Home Secretary has reaffirmed her commitment to reforming the Home Office to ensure injustices such as those suffered by the Windrush Generation cannot happen again.
The department worked closely with leaders of community organisations and the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group to develop the response to 30 recommendations by Wendy Williams, and a raft of changes have already been made.
Among the actions in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan include:
- the creation of a new Community and Stakeholder Engagement Hub
- a review of how the compliant environment operates
- developing a programme of training for the department and all staff so that they are focused on people, not cases
- every member of staff will undertake training on the history of migration and race in this country
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
I am leading an unprecedented programme of change to build a Home Office fit for the future, that serves every part of the community it serves.
The Windrush Generation have waited too long for justice and my resolve to deliver for them and their descendants is absolute. This is the first part of our plan to deliver meaningful change.
Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft said:
The Windrush scandal is a spur to action – to make sure that nothing like this can ever happen again in the Home Office. We have begun to respond to all the recommendations and will keep going until we have completed the job.
Our response today sets out how we are shifting the culture to ensure our workforce is focused on people, not cases.
Bishop Derek Webley, co-chair of the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group said:
The Windrush Cross-Government Working Group has been working with the Home Office to support its Response to the Lessons Learned Review.
We are pleased that its publication takes us a step further on the journey to righting the wrongs, and look forward to progressing its implementation over the coming months.
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. The review was published on 19 March this year and the Home Secretary gave an update on the government’s progress in July.
In 2019, the Home Office launched the Windrush Compensation Scheme, which so far has paid out or offered more than £2.5 million.
The department also:
- established an Urgent and Exceptional Payments process for those members of the Windrush generation who had an urgent and exceptional need
- set up a Vulnerable Persons Team (VPT) to provide help and advice for more vulnerable people
- held over 120 engagement and outreach events and surgeries
- over 13,300 documents have been provided to more than 11,500 individuals confirming their status or British citizenship through the Windrush Taskforce, now known as the Windrush Help Team.
Wendy Williams will return to the Home Office in 12 months to review our progress in response to her recommendations.