The Windrush Learned Lessons Review

The Windrush Learned Lessons Review has been published and the issues raised highlight the fact that The Windrush Scandal was and is a true scandal.

Wendy Williams – the Independent Adviser conducting the review – was tasked with providing an independent assessment of the events leading up to the Windrush Scandal and to identify the key lessons for the Home Office.

This is what she had to say:

Members of the Windrush generation and their children have been poorly served by this country. They had every right to be here and should never have been caught in the immigration net. The many stories of injustice and hardship are heartbreaking, with jobs lost, lives uprooted and untold damage done to so many individuals and families. However, despite the scandal taking the Home Office by surprise, my report sets out that what happened to those affected by the Windrush scandal was foreseeable and avoidable.

Over time those in power forgot about them and their circumstances, which meant that when successive governments wanted to demonstrate that they were being tough on immigration by tightening immigration control and passing laws creating, and then expanding the hostile environment, this was done with a complete disregard for the Windrush generation.

A range of warning signs from inside and outside the Home Office were simply not heeded by officials and ministers. Even when stories of members of the Windrush generation being affected by immigration control started to emerge in the media from 2017 onwards, the department was too slow to react.

Wendy Williams did not definitively identify institutional racism within the department, but she did identify “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation within the department” which she describes as consistent with some elements of the definition of institutional racism.

Her report makes 30 recommendations for change and improvement, which can be summarised as follows:

  1. The Home Office must acknowledge the wrong which has been done
  2. It must open itself up to greater external scrutiny
  3. It must change its culture to recognise that migration and wider Home Office policy is about people and, whatever its objective, should be rooted in humanity.

I sincerely hope that the Home Secretary and the Home Office will implement the recommendations in full.

* Isabelle Parasram is the Vice President of the Liberal Democrats.

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2 Comments

  • I note the government (Prit Patel) will be releasing Wendy Williams’s “Windrush report” within days…
    Considering how long other reports have been ‘hidden’ it’s amazing how time was found, during the Coronavirus workload, to do this. Still, any outrage over the home office actions can now get lost in the noise of the pandemic.

    Cynical? not me!

  • Suzanne Fletcher 20th Mar '20 - 10:17am

    A very forthright condemnation. Whilst about asylum seekers who are not the same as those caught up in Windrush and similar scandals, this summary of Lib Dem policy as here http://libdemfocus.co.uk/ld4sos/archives/1667 sums up what is needed.
    “Liberal Democrats will review and reform all aspects of current asylum rules and operations that offend basic measures of fairness and justice. In particular we would seek to change the culture of disbelief that affects all people applying for asylum. The Home Office is not fit for purpose and needs radical reform. The political influence must be taken out of decision making.”
    The detail goes into practicalities such as training, but overall it is a change in culture and an end to the Hostile Environment.

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