To date, a workable means of officially recognising good quality restorative practice to suit the majority of practitioners has not been available. Practitioners have had limited opportunities to accredit their practice and thus demonstrate their professional competence. As this project has highlighted, practitioners strongly support the development of accreditation for the following reasons:

The need to ensure the safety of both participants and practitioners in RJ processes

The need to build confidence among referrers, policy makers and users of RJ services

The need for practitioner members of the RJC to prove their RJ skills professionally

The need to ensure that effective safeguards exist to prevent the negative impact that ‘a case gone wrong’ could have on public and political opinion

....To meet the need that has been outlined, it is recommended that the RJC leads in the development of an accreditation programme that comprises three parts: individuals, training and services.

The RJC should continue to work with Skills for Justice to create a suitable Development Award in restorative practice. In addition, the RJC should set up its own in-house training and services accreditation process. This document outlines the steps that should be taken in the different scenarios that face the RJC at the moment. Should the RJC deem that the Development Award is not suitable for the sector or the Development Award is not created, it should work towards launching its own accreditation for individuals.

It is recommended that the RJC initially manage the accreditation process by setting up an Accreditation Board that reports to the RJC Board. The Accreditation Board should be made up of practitioners, employers and commissioners in order to get input from a range of stakeholders in the development of the accreditation process. The Accreditation Board should take responsibility for overseeing the accreditation programme, liaising with external bodies (where appropriate) and members and reporting to the RJC’s Board. A Standards and Assessment Committee composed of practitioners who preferably have experience in assessment, should be appointed by the Accreditation Board to decide on the structure of the accreditation for individuals, training and services, the eligibility criteria for candidates and the methods of assessment.

The full report will be discussed at the Restorative Justice Consortium's Annual General Meeting on October 30, 2009.