Implement my recommendations or risk another Windrush, review author warns Home Office

Warning comes as department forms a cross-government working group to "address the challenges faced by the Windrush generation and their descendants"

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

The Home Office has been warned by that it must "make good on its commitment to learn the lessons" from the Windrush scandal or face a “very grave risk of something similar happening again”.

In comments to mark Windrush Day, Wendy Williams, who undertook a review into the scandal, said that the department faced a "stark choice" in deciding whether to implement the findings, which was published in March.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour to mark Windrush Day, Williams said: "The Home Office has a very stark choice. It can decide not to implement my recommendations and, if that happens, then I think there is a very grave risk of something similar happening again."


And she said the department "should have realised the impact" its policies would have on different groups of people.

Williams’s review criticised a set of measures collectively known as the hostile environment policy, which are designed to make it difficult for people to live in the UK illegally.

Her report said the Home Office has shown "ignorance and thoughtlessness" on race when setting policy and dealing with members of the Windrush generation, some of whom were wrongly told they were in the UK illegally and denied access to services.

Williams’s comments came as home secretary Priti Patel announced the department had set up a cross-government working group to "address the challenges faced by the Windrush generation and their descendants".

Patel said today that the panel, which will help to determine the Home Office's response to Williams's lessons learned review, would be “crucial to delivering on our promise to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation.”

The cross-government group announced today will be chaired by home secretary Patel and Bishop Derek Webley, a minister in the New Testament Church of God and former chair of the West Midlands Police Authority.

It will support the design and delivery of “practical solutions”, including education, work and health programmes, “to address the wider challenges that disproportionately affect people from Black and wider BAME backgrounds”, the Home Office said.

And it will advise on the Windrush Schemes Community Fund, which will give grants to organisations that celebrate and educate about the Windrush generation.

Its members will include community representatives and senior civil servants from government departments including No.10, the Home Office, the Department for Education, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Members named today include Bishop Joe Aldred from Churches Together in England; Paulette Simpson, executive director of black newspaper the Voice; Blondel Cluff, chief executive of the West India Committee, a charity promoting ties and trade with the British Caribbean; and Kunle Olulode, Director of Voice4Change England, which represents BAME third-sector organisations.

“All members bring a balance of experience in community engagement and specific sector expertise,” the Home Office said.

Members also will include representation at a senior level from a number of government departments.

Patel said: “This group is crucial to delivering on our promise to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation and it is right that we advance these issues in a constructive, sensitive and responsible way”.

“We know that the best way to make sure we reach all those affected is by listening to them and hearing their voices, including how best to address the wider challenges that disproportionately affect those from BAME backgrounds,” she said.

Webley added: “This working group recognises that the work we’re doing can’t be done without the voices of the community, and we will work with them and the government in finding a way forward that would meet the satisfaction of the Windrush community.”

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