Troubled Oakhill STC improves in latest Ofsted probe

Oakhill Secure Training Centre, which was last month given 60 days to improve following serious concerns, has made progress according to the findings of its latest Ofsted report, leaked to Community Care.

The Milton Keynes centre was upgraded from “inadequate” – the bottom rating on the four-point scale – to “satisfactory” following the inspection during 2-5 June, which follows two damning reports by Ofsted and chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers last year.

In a memo to Oakhill staff dated 5 June, director of children’s services Malcolm Stevens said the centre had “achieved its target of incremental progress”. He added that there were “still areas for improvement” but Ofsted was “satisfied that sufficient work is in progress to sustain the new grade”.

60 days to improve

Last month, the Youth Justice Board gave the centre, run by Group 4 Securicor, 60 days to improve after it failed to fulfil contractual requirements on education and staffing.

In October last year, Owers recommended the temporary closure of the centre after finding “staggering” levels of restraint of young people and frequent staff turnover. Stevens said in April there had been no support for the move.

Stevens has left centre

Community Care has also learned that Stevens, who was appointed by the YJB last year, has left the centre. Group 4 Securicor confirmed that he is due to be replaced by John Parker, formerly director of Rainsbrook STC.

Jim Rose, a former director of Medway STC, told Community Care he was aware of Oakhill’s recent Ofsted inspection which “noted a number of important improvements in the regime”. He said: “I actually think a good deal of credit should go to Malcolm Stevens, who has clearly been able to improve key aspects of practice in relation to the care of the young people in the centre, although there is still a long way to go.” Rose added he believed Stevens had a short-term appointment and felt “it was the right time to move on”.

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