The action is being taken in advance of the broadcast of a BBC Panorama programme in which allegations are expected to be made about staff mistreating young people at Medway STC.
YJB Chief Executive, Lin Hinnigan, said:
“We are shocked and very concerned about the allegations against staff at Medway STC. The safety of the children at secure establishments is of paramount importance to the YJB.
“We are taking action to ensure the children at Medway, as well as those at Rainsbrook and Oakhill STCs, are safe and supported. We will take further action if required.”
The action being taken by the YJB includes:
Enhancing the availability of the independent advocacy service provided by Barnardo’s for young people in advance of the Panorama programme being broadcast, at all three STCs. This will ensure there are independent staff on hand to support the young people before, during and after the programme has aired.
The YJB has been in contact with the Youth Offending Teams responsible for all the young people currently at Medway STC and asked them let us know if they have any concerns at all about their young people. We will consider on a case by case basis any specific action which needs to be taken to meet the particular needs of each individual young person, including, where appropriate, reviewing their placement.
We will commission an independent review of young people’s perceptions of safety at Medway STC. This work will follow on as soon as possible from the visit of a joint Inspection team (HMIP and Ofsted) which are in Medway today to make an assessment of safety and safeguarding at the centre. We will act on their recommendations.
Further enhancements to the system of monitoring at Medway STC. We have already increased the time the YJB’s monitor is spending with young people at the centre and there will also be an increased number of YJB staff on the ground each day this week. The enhanced monitoring will focus on increased sampling of CCTV records (beyond the restraint incidents which are already reviewed) and testing levels of supervision and assurance around standards of staff behaviour.
A review of safeguarding arrangements at Oakhill and Rainsbrook STCs, carried out in partnership with other agencies. Work on this is likely to begin next week and will give the YJB a clear view of young people’s perceptions of safety as well the systems in place at all three STCs.
Seek funding to extend CCTV coverage across all three STC sites. The YJB has also asked G4S to extend a pilot programme for body worn cameras to Medway and Oakhill STCs. These are in use already at Rainsbrook STC.
The YJB is co-operating fully with the police investigation. Once this has concluded it will conduct its own investigation into staff conduct and the culture at STCs.
Anyone who would like to report information which might be relevant to the police investigations at Medway, should call 101 and ask to speak about Medway STC in relation to Operation Woodley.
If you have concerns or further questions you can contact the YJB enquiries line on Tel: 020 3334 5300.
Notes to editors:
All three secure training centres at Medway, Rainsbrook and Oakhill are run by G4S at the present time. Rainsbrook will be run by MTC Novo from May 2016
The BBC’s Panorama programme is due to be broadcast on Monday January 11 at 8.30pm.