What is the impact of the crisis on the work of the Restorative Justice Council?
Our day to day operations continue as normal, we moved to a remote model of working some time ago, so the immediate impact of lockdown was minimal. The biggest impact on the Restorative Justice Council has been the speed at which we have had to develop interim guidance. Our Standards Committee receive a high volume of enquiries each day which feed into future guidance updates. At the current time, most enquires relate to delivery of online or virtual training. Many training providers are concerned that the measures put in place by the Government may be long term and that virtual learning will become the new norm. This is an area we are currently focusing on within the RJC.
How were the guidelines that RJC released about online restorative justice developed?
Our initial guidance was developed by our Standards Committee; given the urgent need to release this, our normal inclusive approach was not possible. Subsequent updates have been developed in conjunction with frontline practitioners.
What were your key considerations when collecting these guidelines?
There were a number of key considerations to take into account when preparing our interim guidance, like most other organisations, the speed at which the current crisis developed required a swift response to our members. Our absolute first priority was to ensure the health and well-being of staff, colleagues, service users and the wider community. We were clear that lower outputs and outcomes were to be expected during this time and that no service should knowingly take unnecessary risks. Our interim guidance did not override the RJC’s core Practice Guidance. We were clear that however practitioners progressed cases during this time, it had to be in line with our existing guidance.
What do practitioners especially need to pay attention to, when they do online work?
There are a number of areas that practitioners and service providers need to pay particular attention to:
- How they manage new referrals
- Maintaining contact with existing service users
- Managing risks and ensuring participant safety
- Progressing cases remotely
- Using online platforms safely
- Developing online meeting etiquette
- Delivering case supervision remotely
Our Additional Practice Guidance on the Remote Delivery of Restorative Practice provides detailed guidance for service providers and practitioners for each of these points. The RJC continues to monitor the current situation and are in regular contact with service providers across the country. Our interim guidance is updated as and when new information becomes available.