The inspectorates also found that different police forces allowed different offence types to be resolved with restorative approaches; probation trusts were at very different stages of embedding restorative justice in their work; and some residential staff in prisons did not have a clear understanding of how it worked. Those who offend, and victims were also not given consistent advice by the police about the implications of having an informal resolution on their record.
These inconsistencies and problems with terminology could damage the reputation of restorative justice, the report said, and lead to the perception of a 'postcode lottery'. Also, more should be done to involve victims and communities in the process. Keeping victims informed, empowered and up-to-date on the progress of their case is an essential element of 'what works' in restorative justice. However, the inspectorates found that this did not always happen.