What is the purpose of the Windrush review?
It was set up to provide an independent assessment of the events leading up to the Windrush scandal – particularly from 2008 to March 2018 – and to identify the key lessons for the Home Office going forward.
Among the review’s official objectives is the establishment of the key legislative, policy and operational decisions that led to members of the Windrush generation becoming entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants.
The review will seek to establish why these issues were not identified sooner and what lessons the Home Office can learn. The original aim, as laid out in the terms of reference, was to publish the report by 31 March last year.
Who is on the panel behind the review?
The review is being led by an independent adviser, Wendy Williams, an inspector with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). Williams worked with a small team drawn primarily from the Home Office, headed by a Home Office director who was external to immigration.
During the review, Williams was backed up by the Independent Advisory Group (IAG), which was composed of nine members: Dame Ursula Brennan, a retired civil servant and a former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice; Sandra Dawson, professor emerita of management studies and former director of Judge Business School University of Cambridge; James Hanratty, former chief executive of the Royal Courts of Justice and immigration judge; Sir Peter Housden, chief executive of Nottinghamshire county council; Dr Omar Khan, director at the Runnymede Trust; Loraine Martins, who was Network Rail’s first director of diversity and inclusion; Dr Mike Philips, broadcaster and writer; Seamus Taylor, lecturer in social policy at Maynooth University, Ireland; and Jacqueline McKenzie, an immigration advisor and barrister to the eastern Caribbean supreme court of Grenada.
How was the review conducted?
The review looked at a broad range of factors surrounding the Windrush scandal.
It considered key events over the 10 years to March 2018, such as key immigration policy decisions leading to Windrush, including legislation and the extent to which equalities laws, policy, practice and principles were considered.
The review looked at key themes and common factors arising from the handling of individual Windrush generation cases, drawing on information from wider case data and current case reviews, as well as evidence from the compensation scheme and Windrush taskforce meetings.
The experience of people impacted by the events – people from the Windrush generation caught up in these cases, including their families, children and grandchildren, and also people inside the Home Office involved in handling them – were considered as part of the review.
The review used workshops and individual interviews, as well as digital searches of Home Office, inspection reports and parliamentary committee papers, and documents held in the National Archives.
Where are we now?
The report is currently going through the process of “Maxwellisation” – the principle under which a report is shown to ministers and officials it is critical of, who are then given the chance to respond.