Windrush “not fit for purpose” compensation scheme as only 1% of appeals were successful

Windrush “not fit for purpose” compensation scheme as only 1% of appeals were successful

The government was accused of “marking its duties” during Windrush’s claim process as new data reveals that only 1% of payment reviews were successful.

Freedom of information data reached by Labor MP Kate Osamor and shared exclusively with The independent shows that out of 3,479 appeals by plaintiffs in 2021, only 42 resulted in a settlement.

The Edmonton MP said the appeal process “was not fit for purpose” and the Windrush plaintiffs are told to “take it or leave it” when they receive offers.

“The Ministry of the Interior perpetrated the Windrush scandal. They are now deciding how much compensation should be awarded to their victims. The result is not surprising: a coherent and poor quality decision-making process that results in insultingly small compensation offers, “said Ms Osamor. The independent.

He added: “A fully independent and functioning appeals process is essential in such circumstances. That’s not what we have. “

Windrush applicant Auckland Elwaldo Romeo, who was wrongly denied British citizenship for 13 years, said he refused a payment of £ 40,000 from the Home Office and is now making his request to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Mr Romeo, 67, was born in Antigua before coming to the UK at the age of four, but was later told he was not a citizen when he tried to renew his British passport.

Auckland Romeo rejected an offer from the Ministry of the Interior and his subsequent appeal was unsuccessful (supplied)

Auckland Romeo rejected an offer from the Ministry of the Interior and his subsequent appeal was unsuccessful (supplied)

“£ 40,000 is not even a year’s salary for someone who works at the Home Office, but for 13 years they want to pay me less than what someone gets paid in a year,” he said. The independent.

“Since we are a black community, they want to dictate how much they pay. They don’t want us to go to court because if one of us is found [to have been] underpaid, it would open the doors to everyone, now it is a question of finding lawyers ”, added the Londoner.

The appeals process allows applicants to request a review of the compensation sum if they find it unsatisfactory. The reviews are split into two tiers, with first-tier appellants’ appeals being considered by a “senior reviewer” who was not involved in the original payment decision.

Applicants can then forward their appeal to a second-level review, which is sent to an independent judge, who makes a recommendation on the offer that the Home Office can support or reject.

Of the 3,020 first-level review results in 2021, only 38 were successful (1 percent), while out of 459 second-level review results in 2021, only four (0.08 percent) were successful.

Joel Oswald, also from London, is appealing against a zero-sum prize offered to his 89-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Oswald-Williams, who was told she was not a British citizen and had her passport removed after being arrived in the UK in 1962 in her early twenties and worked and paid taxes in Great Britain.

Mr. Oswald said his grandmother, who now lives in Jamaica, spent years struggling to regain her citizenship status and was forced to return to Jamaica to seek medical care because her incorrectly assigned status did not give her. free access to the SSN.

Dorothy Oswald-Williams, 89, was forced to seek medical care in Jamaica as she was denied free use of the NHS due to its incorrectly assigned status (supplied)

Dorothy Oswald-Williams, 89, was forced to seek medical care in Jamaica as she was denied free use of the NHS due to its incorrectly assigned status (supplied)

Mr. Oswald said the process with the Interior Ministry was “arduous and painful” and had to face up to a year of waiting for a response on his original claim.

“She spent most of the 80s and 90s trying to regain her status and eventually got her indefinite leave to stay, but at that point she was a retired woman and lost many lives in the UK. “said Oswald The independent.

“By then he had already accepted defeat in a way.

He added: “He is now of retirement age and has not been able to enjoy his retirement and live in the UK. You should be able to do this. Her children had to fight for visas and temporary stay for her when she wanted to come. She finds it indignant, she finds it embarrassing.

“My grandmother is proud of her British connections, so she is saddened by the way she was treated by British immigration officials.”

Mr. Oswald said he hoped for a positive outcome of his appeal but was disappointed with the management of the program.

Kate Osamor added: “Not only is it not independent from the government, but the Interior Ministry can reject or accept the results of the ‘review’. Unsurprisingly then, but shocking nonetheless, that hardly any victim of the scandal is winning appeals. The government is marking its duties. Survivors of the Windrush scandal are told to take it or leave it.

“We need to get the compensation system out of the hands of the perpetrators of this scandal and give the plaintiffs access to a truly independent appeals process. This is not good enough. The government continues to treat the Windrush generation with contempt. The Windrush scandal is not over. “

Ramya Jaidev, co-founder of the defense group Windrush Lives, said the low success rate of the appeal was not “surprising”, but highlighted the need for an independent body to oversee the scheme.

“The time has come to launch a legal and judge-led Windrush investigation to blow the lid on the mismanagement of this scheme and to investigate openly and transparently the failures that led to the scandal in the first place,” he said. .

A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior said: “We do not recognize these figures. We continue to work with applicants to pay the maximum available premium as soon as possible and to get the right decision the first time. The Windrush clearing system has now paid £ 46.7 million for 1,163 claims, with an additional £ 8.4 million offered, pending acceptance or pending review.

“The mistreatment of the Windrush generation by successive governments has been completely unacceptable and we are determined to right those wrongs.”

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