Terms of Reference published for Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre Inspection

Inspectors are to undertake an announced inspection of Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre (JJC/Centre) - Northern Ireland’s custodial facility for children - as part of its regular programme of inspections of places of detention.  
The inspection will be carried out in partnership with colleagues from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI). 

The work forms part of CJI and RQIA’s contribution to the UK’s response to its international obligations under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

The terms of reference for the inspection have been provided to the Youth Justice Agency and Woodlands JJC and are available below. 

An Inspection of Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre
Terms of Reference
Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland (CJI) proposes to undertake an announced inspection of Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre (JJC/Centre) as part of its regular programme of inspections of places of detention.  The last inspection report was published in June 2018.
This inspection will be conducted in partnership with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI).
All inspections carried out by CJI in partnership with the RQIA contribute to the UK’s response to its international obligations under the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).[1] The OPCAT requires that all places of detention are visited regularly by independent bodies collectively known as the National Preventative Mechanism in order to monitor the treatment of and conditions for detainees.
The JJC is the custodial directorate of the Youth Justice Agency (YJA) and is the only custodial facility for children in Northern Ireland.  The Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998[2] (the Order) provides the legislative basis for the JJC’s operation.  The Order and supporting JJC Rules are modelled on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Health care services at the JJC are led by a Nurse Manager who is seconded from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.  The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service provide in-reach support to the Centre.  Since 2017 the Education Authority has managed the delivery of education within the JJC as part of its Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) provision.
The last JJC inspection report included a strategic recommendation that the YJA and the Department of Justice should collaborate with other Government Departments and agencies to implement the recommendations of the Review of Secure Care and Regional Specialist Children’s Services, particularly in relation to closer alignment between the JJC and Lakewood Secure Care Centre (Lakewood).  The Review of Regional Facilities for Children and Young People[3] was subsequently published in March 2018 and recommended that the Lakewood and Woodlands facilities should be re-configured and replaced with a new integrated and more aligned model of provision.  Most recently the Departments of Justice and Health consulted on proposals to establish a regional care and justice campus for children and young people.  A report[4] summarising the two Departments’ joint response to the consultation and plans for next steps was published in June 2021.
While work progresses to establish a regional care and justice campus, Woodlands JJC continues to operate as a justice facility and comes under the inspection remit of CJI in accordance with Section 46 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002.  

The JJC will be inspected against Expectations for Children in Custody (click here to view) which have been customised for use in Northern Ireland.  These incorporate the ETI’s Inspection and Self Evaluation Framework (ISEF): Effective Practice and Self Evaluation Questions for EOTAS and will be used in conjunction with the RQIA’s Quality Standards for Health and Social Care, Supporting good governance and practice in the Health and Personal Social Services (March 2006).  Developed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons specifically for assessing the treatment of children and conditions in which they are held, the Expectations are based on four tests: Safety, Care, Purposeful Activity and Resettlement and are referenced against international and regional human rights standards.
Aims of the Inspection
The broad aims of the inspection are to examine:
  • the profile of children held at the Centre and compare that with other jurisdictions, as appropriate;
  • the governance, leadership, staffing and costs of the JJC;
  • the outcomes for children against the four tests set out in the Expectations i.e. Safety, Care, Purposeful Activity and Resettlement; and
  • the implementation of previous inspection recommendations.
Other relevant significant matters arising during the inspection may also be considered.
The Expectations will be used to assess the treatment of children and conditions in the JJC.
Section 2 of the Expectations incorporates health services which will be inspected by the RQIA. Education, skills and work activities contained in Section 3 will be inspected by the ETI.  The Inspection Team will work collaboratively to test and agree their findings across each of the four tests to reach an overall assessment of the outcomes for children.
Design and Planning
Data and documentation such as policies, procedures and guidance documents will be reviewed prior to fieldwork.
Stakeholder consultation
Stakeholders from external partner agencies and community and voluntary sector organisations will be consulted as part of the fieldwork.  They will include:
  • Commissioner for Children and Young People in Northern Ireland
  • Children’s Law Centre
  • Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders
  • Include Youth
  • Voice of Young People in Care
  • Barnardo’s NI
  • Northern Ireland Law Society
  • Independent Monitor Youth Justice Agency
  • Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency
  • Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
  • Probation Board for Northern Ireland
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • Prisoner Escort and Court Custody Service, Northern Ireland Prison Service.
As a number of inspections are running concurrently, Inspectors will endeavour to streamline meetings with stakeholders and cover both topics at one meeting, where appropriate. 
The JJC, Education Authority and health care providers will be asked to undertake a self-assessment based on the Expectations for Children, which will be reviewed by CJI, ETI and RQIA prior to the commencement of fieldwork.
Development of fieldwork plan
The fieldwork plan will include:
  • on site fieldwork to examine the facilities at the JJC, observe how children are treated, how services are delivered, and review custody/care records;
  • meetings with senior managers and staff at the Centre and with representatives of partner organisations delivering services to children;
  • surveys; and
  • case reviews.
The views of children held at the Centre will be sought through semi-structured interviews.
Care will be taken by Inspectors to develop age appropriate question sets and, given the small number of children held at the Centre, to ensure that children are not interviewed by multiple Inspectors.
In conducting the inspection, the Inspection Team will comply with Northern Ireland Assembly regulations and public health guidance to control the spread of COVID-19 as appropriate at the time of the on-site fieldwork.  This may include wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as facemask and gloves while in the Centre.  JJC staff, partner agencies and children should be advised that Inspectors may be wearing PPE during the site visit.
Initial feedback to agency
On conclusion of the fieldwork the evidence will be analysed and emerging recommendations will be developed.  The Inspection Team will present the findings to appropriate organisations.
Drafting of report
On completion of the inspection a draft report will be shared with the inspected bodies for factual accuracy check, which is to be completed in four weeks.  The Chief Inspector will also invite the inspected bodies to complete an action plan within four weeks to address the recommendations and if the plan has been agreed and is available it will be published as part of the final inspection report.  The inspection report will be shared, under embargo, in advance of the publication date with the inspected bodies.
Publication and Closure
A report will be sent to the Minister of Justice for permission to publish.  When permission is received the report will be finalised for publication.  A press release will be drafted and shared with the YJA and JJC prior to publication and release.  A publication date will be agreed and the report will be issued.
Indicative timetable
November/December 2021 Self-assessment/research
Stakeholder consultation
January 2022 Review self-assessment
Conduct fieldwork including surveys, interviews/focus groups, case reviews
April 2022 Draft report to YJA and JJC
May 2022 Factual accuracy feedback and draft action plan received
May/June 2022 Report design and publication
The above timetable may be impacted by a number of factors such as any change in COVID-19 health restrictions and/or Ministerial request for an urgent inspection. The inspected organisation will be kept advised of any significant changes to the indicative timescale.

[2] The Criminal Justice (Children) (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1998/1504/contents
[3] Department of Health, Review of Regional Facilities for children and Young people – Review Report, March 2018 available at: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/health/review-of-regional-facilities-for-children-young-people.pdf
[4] Departments of Health and Justice, Establishment of a Regional Care and Justice Campus, Consultation Analysis Report, June 2021 available at: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/consultations/health/doh-rcj-campus-analysis-report.pdf