Priti Patel today (21 July) set out the action the Home Office is taking in response to the Wendy Williams Windrush Lessons Learned Review.
This will include comprehensive training for everyone working in the Home Office to ensure they understand and appreciate the history of migration and race in this country. Every existing and new member of staff working for the Home Office will be required to undertake this learning.
Greater emphasis will be placed on taking a more compassionate approach to individual applications and decision makers will be empowered to use their own discretion and pragmatism.
The department will also increase engagement with civil society and the public at an early stage to build evidence for policy. A move which the Home Secretary said would change the Home Office’s openness to scrutiny.
To ensure the Home Office reflects the diverse communities it serves, diverse shortlists for senior jobs and specialist mentoring will be introduced. This will ensure more Black, Asian and minority ethnic people will be in senior roles to drive cultural change.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
I am driving change to implement the important findings of the Lessons Learned review to make sure nothing like this can happen again.
The action I have taken will ensure cultural change at the department, leading to more diverse leadership.
I want the Windrush generation to have no doubt that I will reform the culture of the department so it better represents all of the communities we serve.
The Home Secretary also announced an evaluation of the compliant environment policy and measures. The evaluation will make sure there are the right protections in place to protect against immigration abuse, whilst ensuring no one with a legal right to be here is wrongly penalised.
This action, alongside the other work underway to implement the findings of the Wendy Williams Lessons Learned Review, will help ensure that what happened to the Windrush generation can never happen again.
The work to respond to and act on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review is being informed by the cross government Windrush working group co-chaired by Bishop Derek Webley.
All of the recommendations have been grouped into different themes of work, to ensure the lessons from the review are being applied and delivered across all Home Office activity.
The five themes are:
- righting the wrongs and learning from the past
- taking a more compassionate approach – putting people above cases
- more Inclusive and rigorous policy making
- greater openness to scrutiny
- creating an inclusive workforce
A delivery plan has been drawn up to ensure meaningful and rapid action; an approach welcomed by Wendy Williams.
The Home Secretary is also introducing more diverse shortlists for senior jobs, with specialist mentoring and sponsorship programmes to help develop a wider pool of talent.
The Home Secretary and Bishop Derek Webley will continue to co-chair meetings of the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group to reach and support those affected by Windrush. The group will also examine the wider inequalities affecting the Windrush Generation and their descendants across employment, education, health and more.
Bishop Derek Webley, co-chair of the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group said:
I and others on this group know the communities who have been affected well. We live, work and dwell among them. They have endured a great deal for a long time, and they must not be disappointed again.
The true story of the Windrush generation is one of courage, faith, and hope. One of success and achievement. That is where we need to get to, and this process represents another positive step on the journey there.
Three sub groups have been established to look at how to implement the Lessons Learned recommendations, how to design the new Windrush Community Fund, and how to work with the new Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.
The Home Secretary will publish a comprehensive improvement plan in response to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review in September, which will show how the Home Office is delivering on the recommendations and working to be more diverse and worthy of the trust of the whole communities it serves.