27 Jun 2019

Windrush Scandal: Home Office ‘reckless’ and ‘defensive’, leaked review finds

Senior Home Affairs Correspondent

The Home Office has been accused of being reckless and of failing in their legal duty to counter racial discrimination – by a Home Office commissioned review – into the Windrush scandal.

The Home Office has been accused of being reckless and of failing in their legal duty to counter racial discrimination – by a Home Office commissioned review – into the Windrush scandal.

Channel 4 News has obtained damning extracts from a draft titled ‘Windrush Lessons Learned Review’ which reveals that “the department failed to monitor, or effectively evaluate, the effectiveness and impact of compliant environment measures.”

The review adds: “This appears particularly reckless considering the significant warnings that the Department was given about their potential consequences.”

The exclusive report also reveals numerous recommendations to right the wrongful detentions and deportations of some members of the Windrush generation.

In the draft review, led by Independent Advisor Wendy Williams – set up to establish what went wrong and how to prevent it happening again – she describes the culture in the Home Office as deaf, defensive, ignoring warnings and unwilling to learn from past mistakes – and writing of a “defensive culture that results in an unwillingness to learn from past mistakes”.

She writes: “Whilst everyone I spoke to, was rightly appalled by what happened, this was often juxtaposed with a self-justification, either in the form of it was unforeseen, unforeseeable and therefore unavoidable… or a failure on the part of individuals to prove their status.”

The review into the Windrush scandal focuses on the impact of Theresa May’s immigration laws in 2014 and 2016 that brought in measures intended to create a hostile environment for illegal immigrants. Six years ago her message was solely aimed at the growing clamour to get tougher on immigration.

But draft extracts from the review obtained by Channel 4 News claim that the implementation was flawed because “it failed to adequately consider the past… It failed to adequately consider the impact on people… It also failed to adequately mitigate equalities issues including the potential for discrimination, particularly in housing.”

The draft review also contains numerous recommendations including the suggestion that all Home Office staff need to be educated in the country’s colonial past.

Wendy Williams writes: “The Home Office should ensure that all its existing and new staff learn about the history of the UK and its relationship with the rest of the world including Britain’s colonial history…”

The draft review also proposes that government ministers should admit that they were wrong and provide an unqualified apology.

“Ministers/Department should admit that it was wrong and provide an unqualified apology…the sincerity of this apology will be judged by how far the Department demonstrates contrition…”

A Home Office spokesperson told Channel 4 News: “We do not comment on leaked documents.”