Home Office sorry for Windrush data blunder in compensation scheme

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes added that a recall was commenced as soon as the problem had been identified. Credit: PA

Just five days after announcing its intention to "right the wrongs" done to Windrush victims, the Government has apologised after a data blunder in its compensation scheme.

An “administrative error” meant that emails sent to anyone who wanted to know about the launch of the scheme included email addresses of other recipients.

Five batches of emails, each with 100 recipients, were affected.

No other personal data was included.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes disclosed the error in a written statement to the House of Commons.

She said: “Regrettably, in promoting the scheme via email to interested parties, an administrative error was made which has meant data protection requirements have not been met, for which the Home Office apologises unreservedly.”

Ms Nokes added that a recall was commenced as soon as the problem had been identified.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said last week the Government wants to 'right the wrongs' done to victims of the Windrush scandal. Credit: PA

An internal review will be conducted and the department has voluntarily notified the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Details of a compensation scheme for victims of the Windrush scandal were unveiled last week.

It aims to “right the wrongs” suffered by those affected by the Windrush scandal.

Up to 15,000 eligible claims totalling between £120 million and £310 million are expected to be lodged, according to the Home Office’s “central planning assumption”.

The Empire Windrush ship. Credit: PA
  • What is the Windrush scandal?

The Windrush Generation are people from the Caribbean who were invited to help rebuild the UK in the decades following World War II.

In June 1948, 492 passengers arrived at Tilbury Dock, Essex, on the SS Empire Windrush after making the 8,000 mile voyage from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other islands, to the UK.

The passengers, many ex-servicemen who fought with the UK in the war, would help with labour shortages and very few intended to stay for long.

Changes to immigration law in the UK now require people to have documentation to work, rent a property or access benefits.

Some members of the Windrush generation, who have lived in the UK for over 50 years, voiced concern over their right to remain because they did not have the correct immigration papers to provide the Home Office with.

Adult Windrush immigrants from the 1960s and early 1970s were usually given permanent right to reside stamps when they arrived, but their children were often included on their parent's passports.

The Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain, resulting in thousands of undocumented Caribbean immigrants who couldn’t prove they have the right to work in the UK because they don't have their original passports.

People without the right to work are prohibited from claiming benefits or access NHS services.