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BASW statement on Windrush review

Apology insufficient; all recommendations need implementing urgently

BASW welcomes the ‘Windrush lessons learned’ independent review report led by Wendy Williams.  As an Association we have tirelessly advocated and championed the values and ethics of anti-oppressive practice, equality, human rights and social justice. 

We have long campaigned against structural inequalities, highlighted the impact they have on marginalised and vulnerable members of society and empowered social workers to challenge this at every level.

The review report alludes to the idea of ‘institutional racism’, but the findings of the report fall short of stating that such a descriptor is applicable in this case. 

However, it is clear there is some correlation with the approach of institutions involved in the investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence.  A clear distinction is that the MacPherson Report, was a review of the Police as an Institution.

 The duties, obligations and responsibilities of the Police are clearly different from a Government department such as the Home Office. 

So, the legally accepted definition of ‘institutional racism’, may well not apply.  However, the majority of sections in the review report evidence the actual impact of covert/overt institutional and structural racism, in any and every sense (other than the legally accepted definitions).

The report clearly spotlights the plight of the Windrush generation and evidences the validity and relevance of the review panel’s depth of inquiry. The ‘Endnotes’ outline a comprehensive archive of interviews, papers read, meetings called and individual victim’s cases. 

These accounts provide irrefutable evidence of the negative impact of the ‘hostile environment’ perpetuated and exacerbated by the effects of covert/overt institutional and structural racism, in any and every sense (other than the legally accepted definitions).

The apology from the Home Secretary in relation to the findings in the report is welcome, but is insufficient in resolving the trauma, social injustice, forced exile and human rights violations served upon those affected. 

Speedy action is needed to reverse this travesty of social justice and to ensure meaningful reparations are made.

We unreservedly endorse all of the recommendations in the report. 

On the premise of promoting human rights and social justice, our position is the recommendations must be swiftly enacted and implemented by the Government to redeem any sort of credibility.

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