12:12, October 14 102 0 theguardian.com

2020-10-14 12:12:03
Home Office hasn’t learned from Windrush

We are disappointed that the Home Office’s “comprehensive improvement plan” (Report, 30 September) does not contain anything in the way of concrete and detailed plans for implementing the recommendations of the Windrush lessons learned review. The document is long on regrets, but short on specifics of how and when appropriate changes will be made and how the wrongs will be righted.

The review was published six months ago, and three months ago Priti Patel assured us that every recommendation it contained would be accepted by her department. Beyond this, there does not seem to have been any discernible progress. At this stage, we expected the Home Office to be able to provide a tangible pathway with concrete deadlines and commitments to show how it intends to implement the recommendations.

Instead, the improvement plan repeatedly presents the same failed approaches that the review criticised. For example, the existing pathways for consultation between policymakers and expert civil society groups are inadequate and the review highlighted the discriminatory impact of this. Unfortunately, the plan makes no mention of how these flawed consultations will change.

The lack of urgency in providing clear, concrete and accountable plans in response to the Windrush scandal stands in stark contrast to how quickly the government has jumped to introduce a bill that aims to restrict the rights of desperate asylum seekers entering the UK. The Home Office’s new commitment to “compassion” is poorly served by a minister who attacks “lefty human rights lawyers” and boasts of “sending the left into meltdown” over her new plans to turn ever more people away.

Two and a half years after the Windrush scandal, a promise to explore putting undefined systems in place is not an adequate response or a “comprehensive” plan. The home secretary’s priorities are very clearly not focused on “righting the wrongs” of Windrush, but on doggedly pursuing the same approach of unbridled hostility that created them.

Michael Braithwaite Windrush survivor, Patrick Vernon Co-author, 100 Great Black Britons, Glenda Andrew Preston Windrush Generation & Descendants, Dawn Hill Black Cultural Archives, Raibrinder Singh Indian Workers’ Association, Southall, Jacqueline McKenzie Centre for Migration Advice and Research, Rev Clive Foster Pilgrim Church, Nottingham