From education to employment

A new and robust inspection regime for secure training centres

Ofsted has published a new joint inspection framework for secure training centres (STCs) that promises to focus even more closely on those are judged inadequate.

As the lead inspectorate, Ofsted works alongside the Care Quality Commission and HM Inspectorate of Prisons to inspect England’s 3 STCs.

Following consultation, the following changes to the way STCs are inspected will take effect from 1 April 2019:

  • When an STC is judged to be inadequate, Ofsted and its partner inspectorates will respond more robustly. An urgent review meeting will be held with the Ministry of Justice to determine the most appropriate action, and inspectors will routinely return to check on the centre’s progress within 8 weeks of the initial inspection.
  • The notice period that STCs are given before inspection will be reduced to 4 days. This is 1 day fewer than proposed in the consultation, and effectively 2 days fewer than under the existing arrangements.
  • A ‘point-in-time’ survey of the views of children at an STC will be used to inform the timing of an inspection and key lines of inquiry. It is hoped the survey will empower children to speak more openly and honestly.
  • A revised and simplified judgement structure will help tell a clearer story about what life is like for the children living at the STC.

Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care said:

Children living in secure training centres need to feel safe and well looked after. Although there have been some improvements in conditions at STCs, overall, our findings in recent years have reflected the serious concerns held nationally about the experiences of those living at the centres. These changes will see inspectors focus more on the difference that the centres make to children’s lives, and less on processes and procedures.

Peter Clarke, HM Chief Inspector for Prisons, said:

This is a robust multi inspectorate framework that include a strengthened response to inadequate judgements. The new framework has the experience of children at the centre of all judgements and provides the foundation for developing a comprehensive inspection regime as children’s custody is reformed and new models of detention developed.

Ursula Gallagher, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice and lead for care in secure settings said:

Secure training centres are home to vulnerable children and young people who often have a very complicated set of needs.

Knowing that the healthcare services available to them, which CQC inspects, will be looked at in the wider context of their experience and better represented in the overall judgement will give a clearer view of what does and does not work well in these settings. Knowing this, we as regulators can help drive improvements in the system and better outcomes for patients.

Read the new joint inspection framework: secure training centres for guidance about how secure training centres are inspected.

We have also published a report on the responses to the consultation on the new joint inspection framework for secure training centres.

There are 3 secure training centres in England:

  1. Medway,
  2. Rainsbrook and
  3. Oakhill.

No STC has been rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ since 2015. The new framework is anticipated to result in a more consistent approach to inspection of secure settings for children and bring it more in line with how Ofsted inspects secure children’s homes. There are 14 secure children’s homes in England, and 10 (71.4%) have been rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

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