Youth Custody: Inspections

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 30th June 2021.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the report of a monitoring visit to Oakhill secure training centre, published by Ofsted and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons on 22 June 2021, what steps he is taking to ensure that improvement plans and responses to inspection recommendations are (a) clear, (b) prompt and (c) consistent.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We recognise the importance and the transparency independent scrutiny provide. We treat recommendations made by the independent scrutiny bodies with the utmost seriousness and expect all providers – public and private - to act upon them in a timely and robust manner. Scrutiny body heads regularly meet with Ministry of Justice officials to discuss their findings including areas of good practice and areas of concern. There are separate regular meetings between the Youth Custody Service (YCS) Executive Director and the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, and with Ofsted.

We introduced quarterly meetings with HMI Prisons, HMI Probation and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman to strategically discuss their findings to improve performance and better outcomes. These meetings draw together scrutiny body findings and discuss thematic concerns and good practice. Quarterly meetings are chaired by senior MoJ officials, with participation from scrutiny body heads and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS).

HMPPS also works with youth establishments to provide assurance that recommendations are acted upon quickly and effectively. This includes an annual organised programme to ensure delivery in key areas.

In regular contract management discussions with the provider that monitor and scrutinise performance, the YCS has been clear that they need to identify and address the themes that underpin the recommendations. This applies to both inspectorate, YCS monitoring findings as well as departmental assurance processes to clearly demonstrate necessary action is being taken where required.

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