Windrush Report Finds Home Office Still Lacks 'Drive' To Change Its Culture Following Scandal

Review criticises a "lack of tangible progress" in fixing department's problems.
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The Home Office still lacks the “drive” to change its culture in the wake of the Windrush scandal, a critical review has found.

Priti Patel’s department must “grasp the opportunity” to make “fundamental” changes so it is better at dealing with the public, more “confident under the gaze of scrutiny” and has a more professional workforce, the report published on Thursday said.

It comes two years after a review by Wendy Williams concluded the Windrush scandal was “foreseeable and avoidable”.

She said victims were let down by “systemic operational failings” at the Home Office.

The March 2020 report said the government department demonstrated “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness” towards the issue of race.

Inspecting what changes had been made since her first report, Williams said while there had been progress in “some areas” it was not enough.

“In others I have been disappointed by the lack of tangible progress or drive to achieve the cultural changes required within a reasonable period to make them sustainable,” she said.

“Much more progress is required in policy-making and casework, which will be seen as the major indicators of improvement.

Williams said the Home Office was at a “tipping point” and the next stage would be “crucial”.

The department, she said, must show it “serves every corner of society” and had “a long-term focus on wholesale and lasting cultural change”.

The scandal erupted in 2018 when British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, were wrongly detained, deported or threatened with deportation, despite having the right to live in Britain.

Many lost homes and jobs, and were denied access to healthcare and benefits.

Since then, the Home Office has provided thousands of documents to more than 11,500 people confirming their immigration status or citizenship.

Priti Patel said she was “pleased” with what her department had achieved over the last two years but recognised there was “more to do”.

“I will not falter in my commitment to everyone who was affected by the Windrush scandal,” she said.

“Many people suffered terrible injustices at the hands of successive governments and I will continue working hard to deliver a Home Office worthy of every community we serve.”

Last week, another report found the Windrush compensation scheme – which offers payouts to victims affected by the scandal – has “structural weaknesses” and needs reform so it can be “efficient and effective”.

Martin Levermore, the government’s independent adviser on Windrush, acknowledged there had been criticism of the scheme from a “variety of quarters” but said overall that it is “delivering”.

The latest figures show the Home Office had paid out more than £37 million on 993 claims by the end of February, out of a total 3,618 claims submitted so far.

Some 285 claims have been made for people who have already died and only 14 have currently resulted in payments so far.

Appeals have been made against decisions in almost 500 cases, while 636 eligible applicants were told they were not entitled to any money because their claims did not demonstrate they had been adversely affected by the scandal.

There have been 193 claims rejected on eligibility grounds.


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