Assessment of hostile environment policies

Our action

We assessed how and whether the Home Office complied with its duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) when developing, implementing and monitoring hostile environment immigration policies.

Image credit: Marsham Street (The Home Office), Westminster, London by Terry Farrell and Partners, Steve Cadman on Flickr.

What this covered

We wanted to find out what the Home Office did to understand the impact that its policies and practices could have, and then did have, on Black members of the Windrush generation and their descendants.

We wanted to know whether, and how, the Home Office acted on equality information, including people’s views and experiences.

We also wanted to know whether, and how, the Home Office embedded the Public Sector Equality Duty in its culture and processes.

We used:

  • evidence provided directly by the Home Office
  • information from affected individuals and their representatives
  • findings from the independent ‘Windrush Lessons Learned Review’ by Wendy Williams

Terms of reference: read the terms of reference

Why we were involved

We used our powers under the Equality Act to carry out a section 31 assessment.

Our assessment and report are designed to help the Home Office comply with the PSED in the future development, implementation and monitoring of immigration policy and practice.

This will help the Home Office to:

  • act on the Windrush Lessons Learned Review recommendations
  • build a fairer and more compassionate immigration system
  • guard against institutional racism

It will also help the UK government to meet its equality and human rights obligations.

The result

We found that the Home Office did not comply with section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Public Sector Equality Duty).

We have published a report about our findings, including our recommendations for change.

We have recommended that the Home Office enter into an agreement with us, under section 23 of the Equality Act 2006. We expect a proposed action plan to be shared with us by the end of January 2021.