An open approach to addressing human rights complaints
On 30 December 2015, G4S Children’s Services (UK) referred a number of serious allegations of inappropriate staff conduct at the Medway Secure Training Centre to Medway’s Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for safeguarding children, the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The allegations centred on the unnecessary use of force and the use of improper language.
The LADO, in conjunction with the police and other relevant authorities, commenced an independent investigation into the allegations.
The G4S regional president for UK & Ireland convened a G4S Response Programme Board to oversee immediate changes to processes and procedures at Medway and to work with the various external agencies appointed to review the issues raised in relation to the conduct of G4S staff. At the time of publication, this programme is ongoing.
As a result of these allegations, seven staff were immediately suspended and five of those employees have now had their employment terminated. A new centre director (a qualified social worker with extensive experience of working with vulnerable people) was appointed.
Inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) have visited Medway STC and have spoken directly with children residing in the centre. The Children’s Commissioner’s teams have visited all three Secure Training Centres (STCs) managed by G4S.
We have reinforced the standards expected of all employees, reminded them of the group’s whistleblowing facility Speak Out, implemented a series of improved processes around rotation of staff and accelerated the process to implement body-worn cameras for our employees in STCs. Refresher training for all staff on Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR) has been conducted.
The MoJ has appointed an Independent Improvement Board to review the issues raised at Medway – G4S management and staff are giving them their full support. This review is expected to be completed by the end of March 2016 and the findings are not available at the time of this report being published. The MoJ is also undertaking a review of internal and external reporting. The police and LADO investigation continues.
This matter was discussed in detail by the CSR Committee and the board, who made enquiries about the root causes of these incidents, as well as the appropriateness and completeness of the remedial action plan, and considered how the learnings from this event could drive an improvement of the control environment across the organisation.
The board was satisfied that, pending the outcome of the police investigation and the conclusions reached by the Independent Improvement Board, appropriate remedial action has been taken to strengthen the control environment, prevent the re-occurrence of such events and ensure that the group’s values are adhered to and their importance reiterated across the organisation.
The wellbeing and education of young people in our care has remained our key priority whilst the various reviews and investigations are underway.