“YOTs boycott secure training centre over scathing inspection”

By Neil Puffett

| 11 June 2015

Youth offending teams (YOTs) are refusing to send young people to a secure training centre that was blasted by inspectors for incidents of gross misconduct by staff, it has emerged.

The Association of Youth Offending Team Managers (AYM) told CYP Now that YOT managers were not made aware of concerns about standards at Rainsbrook STC in Rugby until an inspection report was published last month.

Inspectors found evidence of drug use among prison staff, and some young people held at the establishment, which can hold up to 87 young people aged between 12 and 18, were found to have been subjected to degrading treatment and racist comments.

AYM said it has sought clarification from the Youth Justice Board about what improvement plans are in place to turn the establishment around, but had its request for information turned down.

“Lots of YOTs are refusing to allow children to be placed in Rainsbrook until they are confident that the establishment’s safety plan is comprehensive,” Gareth Jones, AYM chair said.

“The YJB feels it cannot share the action plan with YOTs, but that makes it difficult for YOTs to have faith that Rainsbrook is a safe place to place young people.”

Jones said YOTs should have been made aware of the issues at Rainsbrook when they first became apparent following the inspection, which was conducted in early February.

Speaking last month when the inspection report was published, Lin Hinnigan, chief executive of the Youth Justice Board (YJB), said her organisation was notified by Ofsted earlier this year of serious concerns in performance at Rainsbrook.

Jones said: “We should have known about this in a much more timely fashion.”

“The YJB, who knew what the issues were, should have been sharing them sooner.”

A YJB Spokesman said the YJB "took immediate action as soon as each incident at Rainsbrook STC took place and themes emerged". 

"As the placement authority for young people, we suspended all placements there in March. 

"The YJB also undertook a safety assessment for the cohort of young people already in Rainsbrook, and considered the appropriateness of making any future placements there.
“We instructed G4S to remove the director at Rainsbrook, and worked with them to implement a robust action plan that will address not only the concerns raised in Ofsted’s report but also others raised by the YJB. 

"YOTs were also provided information on the measures being taken in the action plan.
“The action plan is currently on track, young people at Rainsbrook are safe, and placements can continue to be made there.”