OFSTED inspectors report on Medway Secure Training Centre
A month after the Medway Secure Training Centre in Kent transferred from G4S management to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), OFSTED inspectors have deemed its overall effectiveness to be ‘inadequate’, following an unannounced inspection conducted in May 2016.
Whilst inspectors found that ‘86% of young people feel safe at the centre’, and that ‘in the majority of incidents staff use force appropriately to prevent injury to young people and staff’; the report notes that the stability of the centre had been ‘sorely undermined’ by the allegations of mistreatment made in January and the consequent disruption resulting from staff attrition, multi-agency inquiries, a police investigation and changes in the centre’s leadership.
Inspectors acknowledged that ‘staff are clearly devastated by the revelations’ made in January and that ‘this self-reflection is a positive quality’, however the report reserved a number of criticisms for apparent gaps in centre processes, management and governance.
Managing director for G4S custodial and detention services, Jerry Petherick, who took over the management of the company’s two secure training centres shortly before Medway transferred to NOMS, said:
“This report is deeply disappointing, coming as it does after a number of years in which OFSTED rated Medway as good or outstanding.
“This was clearly a period of intense disruption which created uncertainty and instability for the young people and staff at the centre and it proved extremely challenging to maintain appropriate staffing levels and standards.
“The management of Medway STC has now been transferred to NOMS, and the lessons learned at Medway will be applied through a far-reaching review of our standards, skills and processes at Oakhill, our remaining STC near Milton Keynes. I fully expect this to translate into substantial changes to the way in which the centre is run.
“We will be giving our full support to the new Youth Custody Improvement Board, as it begins its important work to assess the entire youth secure estate, to ensure that young people in custody are safe and that standards of behaviour management are improved upon.”