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Oakhill Secure Training Centre

Volume 635: debated on Tuesday 23 January 2018

The findings of a recent Ofsted inspection report on Oakhill secure training centre are completely unacceptable. We took urgent action to address Ofsted’s concerns. The Ministry of Justice’s monitoring team has been carrying out further scrutiny to investigate Ofsted’s findings.

The young people held in the centre often have complex, challenging needs and require considerable intervention to help their rehabilitation. By when can we hope to see some tangible improvement in that intervention?

My hon. Friend is spot on. These vulnerable children require the very best care, particularly for their mental health. In negotiations with the main contractor, I rule out absolutely nothing if the contract obligations are not being met.

Order. The right hon. Gentleman needs to focus his supplementary question exclusively on the Oakhill secure training centre in Milton Keynes.

Absolutely, Mr Speaker. Has the Minister taken any view on reducing the financial arrangements with G4S for running Oakhill or imposed any sanctions? What does it take to lose a contract?

The right hon. Gentleman, as a previous Minister responsible for the institution, will acknowledge that the contract is subject to a series of obligations. It was signed in 2004 and lasts for 25 years. I am fully aware of the need to improve standards at Oakhill. I rule absolutely nothing out, and I have already met senior people at G4S to point that out.

Oakhill, which is run by G4S, was found last year to make use of high levels of force, but G4S is not the only private security company using high levels of force against vulnerable groups. Today’s report into the Sodexo-run Peterborough Prison shows that it has become the first women’s prison in years to be deemed not safe enough, with high levels of force and the overuse of strip searching, so is the Minister worried that profit is being put before prisoner safety?

The children being held at Oakhill can sometimes be extremely challenging, and the staff have to be able to control them to protect not only themselves, but other children and staff. With reference to Sodexo and the report into Peterborough Prison, the situation is not acceptable. We have already engaged with Sodexo, particularly around strip searching, and I expect and have demanded improvements.