The APPG on Migration held its 2021 AGM on 24th March, ahead of the event on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review: One Year On.
Please see the minutes here: Annual General Meeting minutes – Wednesday 24th March.
A year on from the publication of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, we hosted an event to consider the progress made to date by the Home Office in implementing the recommendations. This event, chaired by David Simmonds MP, provided an opportunity to consider how far the lessons of Windrush have been learnt to improve Home Office processes, culture and decision-making.
Wendy Williams, the author of the report, outlined the political, cultural and operational mistakes that led to members of the Windrush generation being affected by the Government’s attempt to create a hostile environment for people in the UK illegally. She described the scandal as being a long time in the making, both foreseeable and avoidable, and explained that the thirty recommendations made in her report was designed to demonstrate to the Home Office that wrong had been done, open up the department to wider scrutiny, and change its culture to ensure that future immigration policy would focus on people. Kevin Foster MP, the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, outlined the engagement and outreach steps taken by the Home Office to build on its unreserved apology to members of the Windrush generation. Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, argued that his Department had made a ‘decent start’ in responding to the cultural wake-up call issued by the report, and outlined a number of internal reforms to ways of working.
The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Lord Bishop of Durham, spoke about the need for societal change, and action as well as apologies, in order to right the wrongs of Windrush. He called on Home Office ministers to bring forward a review of hostile environment policies, and described racism as one of the three pandemics of our time along with coronavirus and climate change. Matthew Rycroft confirmed this review is taking place and that more information about the process will be available later in 2021. Catherine West MP spoke about her experience of providing support to constituents affected by the Windrush scandal and the need for the Windrush Compensation Scheme to be completed before reconciliation can begin. Looking ahead to the ‘ticking time-bomb’ of the upcoming EU Settlement Scheme deadline, she spoke of the need to ensure the lessons of Windrush are learnt so that a new cohort of people do not find themselves unfairly denied of the full rights of citizenship. During the Q&A session, a number of specific cases were referred to by members of the audience whose family members had been affected by the Windrush scandal, and remain unsatisfied with the speed and extent of Home Office reform.
A recording of the event is available below: