YJB gives Oakhill STC 60 days to improve

Oakhill Secure Training Centre has been given 60 days to make improvements by the Youth Justice Board following serious concerns.

The centre, in Milton Keynes, run by Group 4 Securicor, has failed to fulfil its contractual requirements on education and staffing, the YJB said.

The warning came following two damning inspection reports by Ofsted and the prisons inspectorate, published in March, that raised concerns over high levels of restraint of young people at the centre and staff turnover. Chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers called for the temporary closure of the centre.

The YJB appointed Malcolm Stevens as Oakhill’s new director of children’s services last July, and this April Stevens told Community Care there had been no support for the centre’s closure.

In a statement last week, the YJB said: “Over the past four years, the YJB has used a number of contractual and non-contractual actions in seeking to enforce delivery of the services provided by G4S. Despite these efforts, G4S is still not providing the services required and therefore the only appropriate action available is to issue rectification notices.”

The YJB will receive daily intelligence alerts to help it review the safety of young people held at the centre, which has a capacity of 80 but currently holds around 40 young people.

Jim Rose, a former director of Medway STC, told Community Care G4S could potentially incur financial penalties or lose its 25-year contract to run Oakhill if it failed to meet the YJB’s requirements.

But he added that it would be “hugely embarrassing” for the YJB if it had to terminate the contract. “There would be financial implications on both sides,” he said. Rose, now director of charity the Nurture Group Network, said Oakhill’s problems were similar to those that faced Medway when it first opened in 1998. “The YJB and G4S failed to learn the lessons from Medway,” he said.

A G4S spokesperson said it would address the issues raised “quickly and successfully” as a priority.

Related articles

Oakhill misses staffing targets

Staff struggling to care for young offenders

Essential information on youth justice


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