Home Office has failed to establish the full scale of the Windrush scandal, new report finds

Source: Morning Star Website

by Ceren Sagir , Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Jamaican immigrants being welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after the ex-troopship HMT Empire Windrush landed them at Tilbury in June 1948

THE HOME OFFICE failed to act on repeated warning signs of Windrush failings and has yet to establish the full scale of the scandal, according to a major new report.

Whitehall’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), found the department was aware of “credible information” about possible issues as long as four years ago.

Impact assessments about “hostile environment” measures did not give sufficient consideration to the risk of unfair consequences, the NAO report published today finds.

Some Home Office processes contributed to the risk of wrongful detentions and removals, it concluded.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the damning report amounts to a catalogue of government failures, adding that it was quite unacceptable that the department’s practices continue to deepen the crisis.

“Ministers’ repeated assurances that they are on top of this scandal are clearly worthless,” she said. “They need to finally take charge of this shambles, start treating all the Windrush generation fairly and legally, and end the hostile environment.

“Otherwise, this scandal will only continue and more injustices and scandals will inevitably follow.”

A public outcry erupted earlier this year after it emerged long-term British residents were denied access to services, held in detention or removed despite living legally in the country for decades.

The NAO said: “It is our view that there were warning signs from enough different sources, over a long enough period, to collectively indicate a potential problem that merited further investigation.”

It found the Home Office has not yet established the full extent of the problems affecting people of the Windrush generation.

An official review of 11,800 cases of Caribbean Commonwealth individuals identified 164 people who were removed or detained and might have been resident in Britain before 1973.

The department has apologised to 18 people in whose cases it considers it is most likely to have acted wrongfully, but there are no plans to review about 160,000 files relating to non-Caribbean Commonwealth nationals.

The report also revealed at least 25 people may have been incorrectly sanctioned under hostile environment policies, such has having a driving licence revoked.

A spokesman for the department said: “We have worked hard to raise awareness of the support on offer across a wide range of communities.”

An independent “lessons learned” review has been set up and details of a compensation scheme for those affected will be outlined in the new year, he added.

Related Articles:

National Audit Office (NAO) – Handling of the Windrush Situation (contains links to the NAO report)

Click image to watch video

The Home Office failed to fulfil its duty of care to members of the Windrush generation, which led to serious consequences for the people affected. Watch our video about how this happened and what the Home Office is doing now.

Transcript of video

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