More than £1 million has been offered in compensation as part of the ongoing work to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced today (Tuesday 23 June).
In a statement to Parliament, the Home Secretary announced that internal figures show that over £1 million has been offered to applicants of the Windrush Compensation Scheme. Once the offers are accepted by the applicants, the payments will be made.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
“I am pleased that the compensation scheme has now offered over £1 million to those members of the Windrush generation.
“But I want us to continue to work to put things right. That is why I launched a Cross-Government Working Group this week, bringing together talented experts from across the country, to get more people to come forward so they can claim the compensation they rightly deserve.”
Independent adviser to the compensation scheme, Martin Forde QC said:
“I am pleased that the rate of offers and payments under the scheme is increasing and I am certain that this will continue. What is more impressive is that the rate of offers is increasing during a pandemic, which highlights the dedication of the caseworkers.
“It is also important to note that a high proportion of these are interim payments, so people will get higher awards in the coming weeks and months.”
The scheme, which has been operational since April 2019, continues to make payments week on week. Payments are being made as quickly as possible, with the first payment made within just four months of the scheme operating.
The payments made under the scheme vary, depending on the facts of the case, with some claimants receiving offers of over £100,000. Payments also include interim payments, which means people will likely receive more at a later date.
All those who have applied to the compensation scheme are then contacted by the Home Office and case workers work closely with claimants to process the claims as quickly as possible.
While the scheme is making good progress and continues to process claims as quickly as possible, the Home Office is committed to getting more people to come forward and claim.
That is why the Home Secretary has this week launched the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group.
The Group, co-chaired by the Home Secretary and Bishop Derek Webley, brings together stakeholders and community leaders with senior representatives from a number of government departments to address the challenges faced by the Windrush generation and their descendants.
The Home Office, as requested by Wendy Williams, is carefully considering the Lessons Learned Review. The Home Secretary has agreed to respond in full by the end of September and has also committed to provide an update to Parliament before summer recess.
The working group will play an important role in assisting with the Home Office’s response by providing insight and guidance, as well as help to ensure that the lessons from the Windrush review are shared across government. The group will meet for the first time this Thursday 25 June.
Bishop Derek Webley, co-chair of the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group said:
“As much as it may be difficult for some, it is so important to engage with the Windrush Compensation Scheme process for your benefit.
“You need to make an application through the compensation scheme if you or a family member feel they have been treated in any way that is unacceptable.
“There is support available to help you to do this. It is your right and a not a favour that is being granted to you to be compensated.”
As announced by the Home Secretary in March, the Home Office will shortly launch a separate £500k Windrush Scheme Community Fund for grassroots organisations, to help improve uptake and awareness of the schemes supporting those who were directly affected.
This includes the Windrush Scheme, which has so far provided over 12,000 people with documentation confirming their status. One of the first tasks for the Group will be to work with stakeholders to co-design and deliver this Fund.
To ensure that all those affected are reached, the Home Office is also launching a £750k targeted advertising campaign, using a range of channels, such as adverts and social media, to make sure those most affected around the UK are aware of the support available to them and know how to apply.
In order for a payment to be made, an individual must first accept the offer made. As part of the scheme, anyone unhappy with their offer can request a free internal review. If they still do not agree with the outcome, the claimant can request a further review the Independent Adjudicator.
Citizens Advice, funded by the Home Office, are continuing to provide free, independent claimant assistance during the pandemic for those wishing to apply to the Compensation Scheme. This can be accessed by referral through the Windrush Helpline: 0800 678 1925.