Handling of the Windrush situation – Transcript

Title: Geraldine Barker, Director, National Audit Office

Date: 5 December 2018


My name is Geraldine Barker, I'm a Director at the National Audit Office. We've recently published a report looking at the Home Office Handling of the Windrush situation in which we've concluded the Home Office failed in its duty of care to protect people from the Windrush generation.

The reasons that things went wrong are down to the way that the policies were designed, and they didn't take enough accounts of how people with poor or little documentation might fair under the system. Secondly the quality of the data that was used to make decisions, and thirdly the checks that were carried out, which were looking at the speed in the process and not looking at whether the right decisions had been made.

The Home Office still doesn't know how many people were affected. It's concentrated on Caribbean nationals and so far, has apologised to 18 people who may have been wrongfully removed or detained. But we think it should have looked at a wider group because the issue about poor documentation doesn't just relate to people from the Caribbean.

The sorts of problems that people from the Windrush generation have faced are they may have been stopped at the border and asked more questions, they may have been detained and in some cases, they may have been denied entry or removed from the country. They may also have had their drivers’ licenses taken away or not being able to access other public or private services.

The Home Office is starting to take steps to put things right for example by setting up a task force to help people get documentation and conducting a historical case review to find people who might have suffered harm. But we don't think that the historical case review goes far enough, its only focusing on the people from the Caribbean.

Our recommendations are that Home Office needs to learn the lessons from this to make sure that other vulnerable people aren't affected. In this case it needs to identify all the people that have been affected and put right the wrongs they have suffered, and it needs to improve its systems and its processes.

If you think you've been affected by any of the issues raised in our report, you should contact the Home Office Windrush Taskforce.

For more information on read our report online.