Secure Training Centres: Standards

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Peter Kyle Peter Kyle Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to page 74 of Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales Annual Report 2019-20, for what reason the secure training centres at (a) Oakhill and (b) Medway have not achieved the changes recommended to improve their effectiveness.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Youth Custody Service (YCS) have been working with the contractors at Oakhill to drive improvements in the service delivered to children. Since 2017, Oakhill has moved from overall ‘Inadequate’ inspection rating to ‘Requires Improvement to be Good’ for the Centre in 2018. The YCS continued to work with the Centre to drive improvement with the April 2019 annual inspection showing all areas assessed as being either ‘Good’ or ‘Requiring Improvement to be Good’ displaying upward progress from the previous year. However, inspectors observed that significant progress was still needed for the Centre to achieve an improved overall rating of ‘Good’.

Inspectors said after visiting in April 2019 that “Incremental progress has been made by a newly formed permanent senior leadership team in addressing some, but not all, of the recommendations made at the last inspection. The recently introduced range of structural changes and newly introduced initiatives are intended to accelerate the progress of improvement over the coming year. However, at the point of the inspection, several significant shortcomings in critical areas of the centre’s work with children continue to require significant improvement, particularly the need for stronger operational management oversight, in order to embed their implementation”.

The YCS recognises the need for further change at Oakhill and since the April 2019 inspection G4S have strengthened their management through the appointment of a new Deputy Director and a new Head of Education. To ensure Oakhill are making progress on the actions, the Centre is being overseen by an external assurance team led by an experienced operational manager and former interim Director of Oakhill.

Medway STC stopped accommodating children in January 2020 and was decommissioned at the end of March 2020 as part of plans to establish our first Secure School run by Oasis Charitable Trust. We have now launched the tender for the refurbishment of classrooms and residential areas For the Oasis Restore Secure School. These refurbishments are being carried out to provide an environment where young people feel able to engage with integrated care, health and education services in order to begin to turn their lives around.

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