ADD2320 Windrush Justice Fund

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2320
Date signed: 
04 February 2019
Decision by: 
Kathleen Kelly, Interim Assistant Director for Communities and Social Policy

Executive summary

The Social Integration team is requesting permission to spend £20,000 to match-fund the independent Windrush Justice Fund. The Windrush Justice Fund was launched by Patrick Vernon OBE in mid-April 2018 during the height of the Windrush Scandal and was linked to a wider campaign for an amnesty for the Windrush generation, attracting over 180,000 signatures.

This Windrush Justice Fund will provide small grant funding to provide a range of legal advice, support and outreach services for the Windrush generation, including advice and support for applications to the forthcoming Windrush Compensation Scheme. While the fund will be administered independently from the GLA, the Social Integration Team will play an advisory role and an assurance role to ensure that the funds are appropriately and effectively used. This will be managed through GLA representation on an advisory board.
The Mayor has committed to ensuring that all Londoners who have the legal rights to live in the UK are legally recognised and are able to access their rights. This includes the Windrush generation who have faced barriers to accessing and evidencing their citizenship rights. Match-funding the independent Windrush Justice Fund will allow the Mayor further commitments to help the Windrush generation.

Learnings from the Windrush Justice Fund will also be used to inform the Social Integration Team’s proposed programme of work on Insecure status (2019/20) which focuses on immigration advice and support. The Social Integration Team will use the evaluation of the projects to understand how to best deploy resources, provide coordination, and reach more marginalised groups.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Communities and Social Policy approves:

Expenditure of £20,000 to match-fund the independent Windrush Justice Fund, to provide small grant funding to provide a range of legal advice for the Windrush generation, including advice and support for applications to the forthcoming Windrush Compensation Scheme.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

We estimate that there are potentially thousands of Londoners characterised as part of the Windrush generation who have not yet got the legal documentation they require to access their rights. 63,700 Residents of England and Wales born in Commonwealth countries who arrived in the UK before 1973 did not hold a UK passport. Nearly 30% of these (18,600) lived in London, though London residents were more likely than average to hold a UK passport. The majority of enquiries to the Home Office Windrush Taskforce between April and July 2018 were from Londoners from the Caribbean (65%). The below map, based on the 2011 census, shows the distribution of Black Caribbean persons aged 40 or over in 2011 (see decision PDF for the map).

The Mayor has committed to do everything he can to support the Caribbean community that plays a vital part in making London the great city it is. This has included the Arrival event hosted by City Hall, and work through the London Strategic Migration partnership and Migrant and Refugee Advisory Panel to ensure that the Home Office policies meet the needs of Londoners including hosting a consultation session with civil society organisations to inform the Home Office’s compensation scheme consultation and lessons learned review.

There is still a significant gap in London for appropriate outreach and legal advice to ensure that Commonwealth Citizens and others who have been in the UK for a long time and are worried about their immigration status can access advice and support to get their documentation and confirm their immigration status.

The Windrush Justice Fund launched by Patrick Vernon OBE in April 2018 is still live on the crowdfunding platform of GoFundMe. The funding that has been raised on the platform is deposited into the accounts of JCWI (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants), the host organisation, subject to the launch of the grant scheme. The grant scheme will be open to applicants from grassroots and community organisations to provide support and advice to the Windrush generation. Over £18,655 has been raised on the GoFundMe platform. While the grant programme will be national, the GLA’s funding and input on the advisory board will focus entirely on London, allowing us to participate in meetings organised by the Windrush Justice Fund throughout the duration of the grants and ensure funds are spent appropriately.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The fund was created in recognition that many people do not have confidence or trust the Home Office to resolve their citizenship status despite the launch of the Government Taskforce, helpline and promise of compensation. The third sector has a track record in providing independent impartial advice and acting as advocates in liaising with the Home Office. Several lawyers and case workers have volunteered their time free of charge to support community organisations who received a massive increase in enquiries from Windrush and other Commonwealth nationals.

Small grants of £200-£2,000 will be available from the Fund to third sector organisations to progress the following key aims:

• To support pre-existing organisations and networks to provide additional free legal advice sessions for Windrush Generation and other Commonwealth citizens. This legal advice will include reviewing citizenship/immigration status; supporting people to apply to Windrush Scheme; liaison with the HM Passport Office and relevant High Commissioners/Embassies to resolve immigration status;
• To ensure that the Windrush generation are able to access advice and support to make applications to the forthcoming Windrush Compensation Scheme;
• To support outreach activities aimed at vulnerable groups within London affected by the Windrush Scandal to access information and support about their immigration status who are otherwise difficult to engage through traditional awareness raising campaigns; and
• To encourage and support migrant and third sector to engage with those affected by the Windrush Scandal to extend their offer and services to meet the increase in case work and enquiries.

Applications would be encouraged from:

• Law Centres;
• Citizens Advice Bureaux;
• Migrant Rights/ Immigration organisations;
• Grass Roots organisations;
• Race Equality organisations and networks; and
• Faith organisations.

The GLA will be represented on an Advisory Board to assess grant applications and monitor the outputs of successful projects. To assess the impact of the grant scheme a simple evaluation form will be sent to recipient organisations which will cover the following information and which will form the basis of a report:

• Nature and details of legal advice surgery activities;
• Range of cases and applications supported (with some case studies);
• Number of Windrush and Commonwealth beneficiaries supported;
• Details of cases/applications resolved and outstanding; and
• General feedback on Windrush Scandal and “Hostile Environment”.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the GLA must have ‘due regard’ of the need to:

• Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and

• Advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

Equality, integration and inclusion are the drivers behind this programme of work. Tackling disadvantage and discrimination is a central part of this project which aims to ensure that the Commonwealth citizens and other migrants with insecure status can access their legal rights to residency and citizenship. The project will support a number of objectives from the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy including ensuring that London is a great place to live, work and do business.

Other considerations

The Mayor has committed to removing barriers to social integration, this includes supporting all Londoners who hold legal rights to live here to access their rights.

The Social Integration team have completed our due diligence, working closely with the Windrush Justice Fund to ensure GLA’s position on the advisory board in making key funding decisions on grants awarded in London. The Windrush Justice Fund will be managed through JCWI, a well-known organisation who are members of the Mayor’s Migrant and Refugee Advisory Panel and have worked with City Hall for a number of years.

In the drafting of this proposal the drafting officer has considered the following:

• Paying regard to the effect that the decision will have on the health of persons in Greater London, health inequalities between persons living in Greater London, the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom and climate change and its consequences (s.30(3-5) of GLA Act);

• Consulting, where appropriate, with appropriate bodies (s.32 of GLA Act); and

• Paying due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people (s.33 of GLA Act).

Financial comments

The expenditure of up £20,000 will be funded from the 2018-19 Social Integration Programme budget within the Communities and Social Policy Unit.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Grant scheme launches

February 2019

Review Applications

March 2019

Grant panel meets and approve successful applications

April 2019

Grants disseminated

April 2019

Promotional work on how the money has been spent

May 2019

Evaluation report and feedback

September 2019


Share this page