🚨 alert,🧵 alert: National Audit Office report
The NAO has been quietly auditing the Windrush Compensation Scheme in Q1, and has reported the results of its review this am. The headline (general incompetence, undue delays) aren't surprising. NAO/1
We're more interested in some of the fine print, and the untruths and misrepresentations (by @ukhomeoffice, to be clear, not the NAO) the report reveals.

I'm writing this live, so follow this thread for updates as I go... NAO/2
The NAO finds the HO "developed different sets of objectives and it is not clear which it uses to measure progress". This (highlights mine) is from an internal HO document. Pay close attention to the language here:
This should, for once and for all, put paid to the notion that the Windrush Compensation Scheme has anything to do with *genuine restorative justice* or truly "righting the wrongs". The objectives are framed in terms of legal risk. That's it. That's all this is about. NAO/4
You might say "so what, it's a govt department, that's a reasonable position". Sure, except @ukhomeoffice has consistently and continually told Windrush victims that this is about *JUSTICE FOR THEM*, not minimising exposure to litigation for itself. NAO/5
Take a look at option C in particular. "In our view...may well 'overcompensate' many claimants, compared with what they would get through the courts, and could be difficult therefore to justify on value-for-money grounds." *That* is the benchmark - NAO/6
...in each case, settle for less than you think a Court would likely award.

The NAO concludes that the Scheme most closely resembled Option B(ii), which had a cost estimate of £120-180m. NAO/7
The NAO has a lot to say about @ukhomeoffice's modelling, mainly that it is, as previously reported here, based on the gold std methodology of "lick-finger-and-stick-in-the-air". NAO/8
The HO is currently - starting in Apr 2021, 2 years after the Scheme launched - reviewing its estimates of the number of people eligible. This is a grab from a flowchart on p 12:
Here are 2 more grabs. First, an earlier part of that flowchart documenting the original assumption of 15k claimants, and its down-revision to 11.5k, and second, the, er, methodological basis for that revision:
I.e. the 11.5k estimate this scheme has been working off for the past year or so is based on the fact that as of SEPTEMBER 2019, only 790 apps had been recd. That's the @ukhomeoffice's rate of response to reality.
NB: Anthony W is on @BBCr4today right now NAO/11
This is the equivalent of trying to execute a 3 point turn on a one way street in a combine harvester. I assume that the impact of any changes which result from this report will be based on the status quo as of today, and be felt in or around late 2023. NAO/12
A recurrent theme in this report is that @ukhomeoffice knew something is or was off with its workings and how it's running things, but plows on regardless. First, re those estimates:
The second is a real doozy. A short time ago, @bbcnickrobinson noted on @BBCr4today that it takes the HO 154 caseworker-hours to resolve a single claim. (I'll come back to that in a minute) Staffing is clearly a massive problem. NAO/14
But DESPITE the fact that it takes the Scheme ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FOUR CASEWORK HOURS to resolve a single claim at present - a number that @ukhomeoffice knows and seems to accept, btw,:
The Scheme's own original estimates said 125 full-time caseworkers were needed. It has 53 atm. It is planning to increase that to 63. The og estimates are based on those outdated planning assumptions of total claims. It's taking 154 casework hours per claim right now. NAO/16
Process that for a second. @ukhomeoffice is drowning - it is clearly understaffed for the insane, labyrinthine process it has set for resolution of these claims. The Scheme has recd less than 20% of the expected total, and that number may well decrease if estimates 👆🏾 NAO/17
It is being told here by the NAO that it is understaffed, and something clearly isn't working.

Its response is that it is "reluctant" to put it right, b/c its too hard.
This, by the way, is in the overall context of running SIGNIFICANTLY under-budget.
The Scheme needs to come out of @ukhomeoffice's hands immediately bc it is telling us, right to our faces, that it is unwilling to quickly & decisively make the deep, fundamental changes that are required. It doesn't want this to work better. #WindrushInjustice #BreakTheHE NAO/20
As to the question of how on earth a claim might take 154 casework hours to resolve - which is MORE THAN 5 TIMES @ukhomeoffice's og estimate of the time it would take - well: (this is Fig 13, pp 36-37 - that's right, across 2 pages - if you can't see it properly)
All that hard work and granular focus on detail must mean things get done correctly, right? RIGHT? RIGHT?
The upshot of this sh**show is that, as opposed to its og estimate of 30 caseworker days per claim, the Scheme - which remember, will NOT hire more than 10 extra ppl to top up to a grand total of 63 caseworker, where it once estimated it needed 125 - takes 177 days/claim. NAO/23
There's an interesting detour here about the rate of caseworker attrition.
No idea at all why that might be. Not a one. Zilch. *twiddles thumbs* bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politi…
The fact that it's taking 177/claim on average isn't just down to caseworkers (or the rate at which they're dropping off). There's also the IT. Well, sort of the IT.

They're using *a combination* of a CMS and... manual spreadsheets. NAO/26
The govt dept running a compensation scheme for anything upwards of 11.5k victims is using a *combination* of a CMS and a manual spreadsheet, and damn you, it will continue to do so, despite the fact that staff admit it makes it difficult to monitor to the Oversight Board. NAO/27
NB off topic b/c the relevant fact appears on an adjacent pg: a couple of the reports this am have said only 19% of claimants have come fwd. That is both wrong and semantically nonsensical. @ukhomeoffice has *resolved* 19% of the claims it has recd - see p38, Fig 14. NAO/28
I am taking a brief repose to pour coffee in my face and scream silently into the soft furnishings. Will be back shortly. NAO/29
Right, I'm back, and a quick NB. You may have noticed I've used 2 different figs for the average number of caseworker/hours to resolve a claim. 154 cwh/claim is the estimate overall; 177 cwh/claim is the NAO's estimate based on audit of claims since March 2020. NAO/30
Another reason it might be taking 177 caseworker hours to resolve a claim, and closely related to the earlier point on quality (lol) assurance, is this:
This is a serious problem. @ukhomeoffice is fond of pointing to its Dec 20 revision of the burden of proof for employment claims when challenged on this. NAO/32 homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/12/14/win…
As we and others have repeatedly argued, the *burden* of proof - which should never have been pegged to the criminal std, wtf - is only part of the problem. It's the *evidence* that HO caseworkers demand, and will accept. It has always been wildly unclear what suffices. NAO/33
Three guesses why. NAO/34
This is an instant classic as far as examples of @ukhomeoffice disingenuousness and flexibility as to the truth go: publicly it pats its own back for doing the right thing (as if it was ever acceptable to use the crim std of proof) and "listening" to victims. NAO/35
Privately, it has made no actual effort to brief the people who are supposed to be using those evidential standards as to what they mean or how they apply. Policy bods toss of a few sentences and "manage" claimants at engagement events; nothing is actually changing BTS. NAO/36
Onwards. In March 18, right when the scandal was breaking, @sajidjavid announced a sub-scheme of payments for support in urgent and exceptional circumstances. NAO/37
We have frequently wondered about this, bc several claimants we know were denied these payments whilst mired in the most traumatic of circumstances. Here is one such story (TW: suicide) NAO/38
We've been ghosted every time we've asked for data on how much has been disbursed.

Footnote 15 on page 31 explains why that might be. A total of £27,900 has been paid to claimants for exceptional support. NAO/39
When claimants have been freezing on cycle paths, teetering on homelessness, struggling with chronic illnesses and begging for support in their Urgent and Exceptional circumstances, @ukhomeoffice has denied their claims, or simply not responded. NAO/40
It has paid out less than £30k to people drowning in the most appalling circumstances.

Not only must the Scheme come out of its hands immediately, we need to have a serious reckoning about the point of @ukhomeoffice's existence. #WindrushInjustice #BreakTheHE NAO/41
I cannot explain the rage coursing through my veins right now. We have heard first hand accounts of people in crisis and the extremes they have been forced into, who have reached out and begged support from this exceptional payment fund. They were ignored, gaslighted. NAO/42
To learn now that @ukhomeoffice has just been sitting on this fund and letting claimants suffer (and possibly die) is thoroughly enraging. The contempt that this department has for Black and Brown life is staggering. It truly does not believe our lives matter. NAO/43
(We don't and will never know the true extent of life lost as a result of this scandal bc that data is hard to collate for private citizens like us, and @ukhomeoffice isn't exactly rushing to compile stats. But as of yday, we know at least this: NAO/44) voice-online.co.uk/news/2021/05/1…
And so while I cannot definitively say that @ukhomeoffice has blood on its hands, I can say this: it sat by, rejecting legitimate claims for urgent help.

In 3 years since that sub-scheme took effect, it has paid out a little less than £28k. NAO/45
Let's switch back to something a bit lighter: the consistent misrepresentations as to the wild success of the Scheme since the "overhaul" announced by the Pritster in Dec 2020. NAO/46
Whenever challenged about the Scheme, the Home Sec bleats a sort of set-meal reply, a recent iteration of which can be found here in her reply to a WQ by the SNP's @Stuart_McDonald, who has been a watchful critic of @ukhomeoffice on Windrush issues. NAO/47 questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questi…
The object of this reply, which you'll also get from lower level policy bods at public engagement events, is to obfuscate as to how much progress has been made. It *sounds* like since Dec 2020 a lot more claims have been paid out, right? It's going faster... right? NAO/48
You know what's coming by now. The overwhelming majority of that increase is in uplifts to payments that had already been made (many of which were and are under review). NAO/49
Another way to phrase this: most of that extra £14m they're so proud of having paid since Dec is in revisions to offers already made. Not to resolving new claims. NAO/50
A word to @NAOorguk here: it is a touch disappointing that despite the consistent pattern of resistance to desperately required change (see above) and wilful or reckless misrepresentations it has unearthed, it has been unwilling to take a harsher tone with @ukhomeoffice. NAO/51
The content of this report is pretty scathing, but the conclusion @NAOorguk draws is tepid at best: NAO/52
Why softball this, when the evidence you have meticulously collected shows clearly that @ukhomeoffice has done and achieved a lot less than it says it has, esp with respect to those Dec changes, and is openly resistant to change even when you have exposed glaring faults? NAO/53
The Department *isn't* going to sustain its efforts to improve its caseworking operations - it has literally told you it won't hire more than 10 more people when it has less than half (53/125) of what it thought it needed AND the Scheme is taking 177 cwh/claim. NAO/54
When people (legal people as opposed to human people in this instance) show you that they are trash, believe them the first time, @NAOorguk #WindrushInjustice #BreakTheHE NAO/55
Here's another example from your own work hinting at that, @NAOorguk. On pp 40-41, you record, not for the first time in the report, evidence that things like "targets" and "objectives" are apparently on a whim and largely to suit publicity, not policy, objectives: NAO/56
The analysis is mealy-mouthed there. It's not that 3 milestones set in OCTOBER 2020 had been reduced to 2 a mere 6 months later; they were been REPLACED by 2 entirely *new* milestones. In particular, a target in absolute numbers has been changed to a percentage target. NAO/57
That is significant bc if the no. of claims recd continues to increase - as the trend suggests it is doing - then the absolute number of claims represented by 10% of un-concluded cases could be a lot more than 500. It's a different target. Don't conflate them. NAO/58
But more importantly, there isn't a snowball's chance in the deepest circle of hell that @ukhomeoffice is going to even brush against anything close to that target. It is madness to have documented it repeatedly failing to do so, then expect it now will. NAO/59
One more small point for the time being, and it's to do with evidence relating to claimants' health. @cheamfields, a former @ukhomeoffice official on the WCS, has done (and continues to do) amazing work to address the burden claimants face in procuring health evidence. NAO/60
There are a number of issues here. First, the exacerbation of existing conditions by the nightmare of having to deal with the Hostile Environment (#BreakTheHE) in the guise of restorative justice is, wouldn't you know it, not explicitly covered. NAO/61
Which is to say that unless your medical condition is new, and has been documented and connected with the stress and heartache you are undergoing as a result of your inability to demonstrate your lawful status, hard cheese. NAO/62
Second, there is a well-documented pattern of under-reporting and under-diagnosis of both physical and mental health conditions in PoC, as a complex consequence of things inc cultural stigma (for the MH) and systemic racism. This is a US study, but. NAO/63 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/P…
Third, and by far the most important for current purposes, it can be tricky to obtain retrospective evidence of conditions. NAO/64
Toss a pandemic and an NHS splitting at the seams into that, and you can see why it might be difficult to obtain the medical evidence the Scheme *demands* for aspects of Impact on Life claims. NAO/65
As above, @cheamfields is a leader on this and has spoken about the pressing need for @ukhomeoffice to support - by way of funding - medical referrals and the pursuit of medical evidence.

I'd assumed this was a new demand, something the Scheme isn't already set up for. NAO/66
If you don't know what's coming now, you have missed the point of this exercise: NAO/67
The allocation and relative spend for DWP "resource" - charmingly described as "0%" there - is also telling. These are funds allocated presumably for helping to determine compensation arising from lost benefits and/or loss of access of access to employment. NAO/68
I'm going to stop here (for now anyway) - there may be more later on, depending on developments.

But it should be abundantly clear that the Scheme must be taken away from @ukhomeoffice post haste. NAO/69 #WindrushInjustice #BreakTheHE
PS: I have seen, noted and cringed at every typo, dropped/extra word and grammatical error above. I need you to just take my word on the fact that I'm not illiterate, just tired. And writing on the go. Apologies for all mistakes.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Windrush Lives

Windrush Lives Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @WindrushLives

19 May
This definitely feels like a planned immigration exercise - @metpoliceuk say the exercise was pursuant to “complaints”, which is nice and vague ie hard to check; of the other 5 cases mentioned, 2 are insurance offences and 3 are again unspecified. [1/2]

We are descending rapidly into ghettoisation as official policy. @ukhomeoffice and @metpoliceuk are utter poison.

PS: @Deliveroo nice work tripping over yrself to pledge allegiance to the hostile environment rather than defending your harassed workers. You’re an enabler. [2/2]
On reflection, although the HE is the work of @ukhomeoffice, we can and should do more to call out and mark corporate enablers, so I’ll start: @Deliveroo, your riders are people, not numbers to be shuffled around in support of despotic and damaging migration targets... [3/2]
Read 4 tweets
6 May
Carl was born in Britain and held a British passport, which @ukhomeoffice confiscated for no apparent reason. Many journos have skirted reporting his story b/c it doesn't fit the expected Windrush narrative - but not @mrjamesob! Tune in today.

This is Carl's story.

Part 1/5:
Part 2/5:
Part 3/5
Read 6 tweets
5 May
This is a companion to a piece which aired on the 6 and 10pm editions of the news on BBC1 yesterday, containing interviews of @Anthony24596 and @JacquiMckenzie6. (We're trying to figure out how to get a clip) [1/4]
While much of this isn't new if you've followed this issue over the past few years, the fact that new (to the general audience) victims continue to be found with each successive broadcast package is distressing, and should serve as a warning for how deep this thing goes. [2/4]
As @JacquiMckenzie6 notes in the televised piece, under 2k claims have been received. That's of an expected range of victims where the low estimate [receipts still MIA] is 12k, the original estimate was 15k, and the true number is likely *much* higher. [3/4]
Read 4 tweets
30 Apr
In a written reply to @Stuart_McDonald yesterday, @pritipatel made a number of startling revelations, documented here by @maybulman: [1/12] independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-n…
As ever, there's more than one calamity to unpack here, so we'll limit ourselves to preliminary payments.

These are £10k awards that were rolled out in December to much self-congratulation as to how well @ukhomeoffice was listening to victims, how much it had achieved. [2/12]
Here comes the other shoe: when these payments were announced, @ukhomeoffice said - no equivocation - "We will ensure that [those with] pending applications will be considered for either a preliminary or final payment in the first 3 months of 2021." [3/12] gov.uk/government/new…
Read 12 tweets
18 Feb
In January, we wrote to @pritipatel on behalf of 31 claimants, several standing in for their deceased parents, calling for the Windrush Compensation Scheme to be taken away from the Home Office on account of its comprehensive failure: [1/35] scribd.com/document/48955…
It wasn’t just that the Scheme *wasn’t working*; claimants had begun to get the sense that @ukhomeoffice was deliberately setting them up to fail, and being deliberately dishonest in its promises as to reform and meaningful change. [2/35]
On 14 Dec, @ukhomeoffice had announced a package of reforms to the Scheme. These reforms were said to be the fruit of the sincere efforts of HO staff in listening to the complaints victims and stakeholders had been making for well over a year. [3/35] gov.uk/government/new…
Read 35 tweets
17 Feb
We've been quiet for a while b/c there is a lot going on BTS; in particular, we've had an influx of enquiries from extant and new claimants who need legal assistance with their Windrush Compensation Scheme applications.

Precious little has changed. [1/4] #HOPayUp
We continue to refer claimants for legal assistance and do everything we can to support them through this utter shitshow, so get in touch if you or someone you know need(s) help with your/their application or appeal.

But that's not all. [2/4] #HOPayUp
Remember this open letter (h/t @maybulman)? Well, @pritipatel responded to us, late last month. [3/4] independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-n…
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!