London – A Windrush scandal victim has called for running of the compensation scheme to be taken away from the Home Office, after a report found there had been a lack of tangible progress.
The Lessons Learned review warned of deep-rooted concerns over the process, saying the Home Office was at “tipping point” and could face a fresh scandal.
Victim Glenda Caesar said the scheme should be run by another body.
The Home Office said progress had been made but there was more to do.
The compensation scheme was launched by the Home Office in April 2019 to offer payments to people, mainly from the Caribbean, who had come to the UK legally but did not have the documents to prove their right to remain.
In 2018, it emerged many had lost homes, jobs and access to welfare benefits and NHS services after being wrongly classed as illegal citizens under strict Home Office immigration policy – while some were wrongly detained and even deported.
The review had been looking at the progress made since the independent report by author Wendy Williams in 2020, which found the scandal was “avoidable” and victims were let down by “systemic operational failings” at the Home Office.
In the latest review, Ms Williams said she was “disappointed” with the progress made by the government, and called for a migrants’ commissioner, better engagement with the public and a higher standard of training for staff.
Ms Williams and her team reviewed more than 3,000 documents and spoke to hundreds of people.
Ms Caesar, who was denied the right to work for nearly a decade, said: “We have got people out in the community who are still waiting to get payments and it’s very difficult with the helpline…
“Us as a community and grassroots organisations have given them [Home Office] so many ideas for them to improve the system, but it doesn’t seem to be working.”
The mother, who came to the UK as baby, lost her job as an NHS administrator in 2009 and faced deportation.
She added: “We are being pushed to the bottom of the line again.” (BBC)