Skype Project - Parc Young Offender Institution (2016)

Skype Project - Parc Young Offender Institution (2016)
Summary:  Findings from the pilot 2015-2016 concerning usage of skype in Parc Youth Offender Insitute.




The Youth Justice Board’s objectives of running the Skype pilot in Parc Young Offender Institution (YOI) were to:

  • Establish whether internet based video solutions (IBVS) could improve links between children in custody, their families and resettlement agencies;
  • Test whether Skype could be provided safely and securely in the secure estate;
  • Identify whether use of Skype led to increased contact between children in custody, their families and resettlement agencies; and
  • Examine the operational impact of running IBVS in a secure establishment.

Skype would be used to enhance, rather than replace existing contacts and visits.



The Skype project was introduced into Parc YOI in May 2015. It enabled Skype visits to be made between children, their families, YOT case managers and other professionals.


Those wishing to engage in a Skype visit went through the same approval processes as individuals attending visits in person, as part of Parc YOI’s usual security screening. Parc YOI put in place safeguarding and supervision arrangements for the Skype visits that included: the escort arrangements to and from the Skype facility in the children’s visits area; terms of use; how breaches of security would be dealt with; and how calls would be monitored.


During the pilot project period there were 16 Skype visits, involving seven family members and nine YOT workers. The pilot demonstrated that Skype could successfully be used as an additional means of assisting children in custody to maintain contact with their families, YOT workers and other professionals. The service was used by families who were not able to regularly visit in person because of distance away from Parc YOI and by YOT and other workers to keep in touch with the children and planning for resettlement.


The use of Skype was regarded by staff at Parc YOI, YOT workers, resettlement workers and family members as a worthwhile initiative. The report on the project compiled by YJB Cymru and Swansea University identified a number of lessons learned in the establishment of the service and ways in which it could be developed further.


An unannounced inspection of Parc YOI in 2016 commended the use of Skype to help to maintain family ties and described it as a ‘significant development with great potential’.