Adapting practice in a changing world

node leader
Author: 
James Simon
Date: 
20 March 2020

We find ourselves in an unprecedented period of time where restrictions to our normal day to day routines  have led to dramatic changes to all aspects of our personal and professional lives. But life goes on and we will all inevitably adapt the way in which we conduct our day to day business during these challenging times.

We will all be aware of the Government's advice to minimise face-to-face contact, avoid unnecessary travel, and more recently, work from home wherever possible. Whilst it is vital that we all play our part, these restrictions impact significantly on the way in which we can continue to deliver safe and effective restorative practice. The RJC recently issued guidance on Managing the risk of Covid-19; within this guidance we recommended that, where possible, service providers and practitioners should consider alternative ways to continue delivering restorative justice cases. This could include using a range of technology to continue contact with service users; of course, this is not always going to be possible or appropriate.

Working in this way is not new per se, indeed guidance on the use of audio and video recording for participants not wishing to meet directly has been included within the RJC's Practice Guidance for several years. However, using online meeting platforms or conducting preparation meetings over the telephone can present a number of challenges. As we move forward over the coming months, we need to ensure that practice remains safe, effective and meets the needs of participants.

Whilst we need to adapt the way we work, we also need to ensure that our core restorative principles are applied. However we progress cases in the coming months, we need to ensure that our practice is safe. Online and telephone meetings can seem the most logical step to take but how do you ensure that these meetings are confidential and safe for participants?  Simple considerations need to be taken into account; this could include providing participants with guidance on how to access online platforms, advice on deleting browser or call history and ensuring that back-up plans are in place should technology fail.

The RJC are working to develop additional Practice Guidance specifically relating to conducting online meetings with participants. Given the fast moving pace of the current situation, it is important that interim guidance is issued as soon as possible.

We are interested in hearing how service providers and practitioners are adapting practice during these challenging times. Particularly we are interested hearing about:

  • What is working well for you?
  • How are you ensuring that practice remains safe and effective?
  • What safeguards are you putting in place?

You can join in the discussion by emailing us at RJdiscussions@restorativejustice.org.uk or leave a comment on this article by signing up for Disqus Account using the form below.