On 15 November 2021, JUSTICE published our Reforming the Windrush Compensation Scheme report. This report made 27 recommendations to improve the administrative and procedural aspects of the Compensation Scheme. The aim of the Working Party, which included those with lived experience and lawyers who acted for Windrush victims, was to make the Windrush Compensation Scheme more accessible, fair and efficient for those who need it and to improve trust amongst those who suffered loss and hardship.
Key recommendations in the report included the need for greater independence and accountability, the availability of funded legal representation, training for caseworkers, improved communication with applicants, a targeted publicity campaign to raise awareness and an improved appeals system.
Following the publication of our report, JUSTICE has been engaging with the Home Office on these recommendations and advising the Independent Person with the assistance of Dechert LLP and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
Many of the issues we identified with the Windrush Compensation Scheme are also applicable to other recent bespoke Home Office schemes. This new project is using our Windrush report as a starting point to identify problems with, and potential solutions in respect of, the Afghanistan relocation schemes (the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS)) and the EU Settlement Scheme.
We have set up working groups to examine these schemes. These groups are comprised of experts, those with lived experience of these schemes, and those who represent and support them. The working groups will identify the issues with these schemes and make recommendations for reform, drawing on our recommendations from the Windrush Compensation Scheme Report. We hope to identify common issues and solutions to improve the existing schemes, and ensure that lessons are learnt for any future Home Office schemes.