The need for the RSQM
The government's commitment to a vision of restorative justice for victims at all stages of the Criminal Justice System is hugely welcome and sets a challenge to the whole restorative justice field to ensure that this expansion is matched by a growth in the quality of restorative services.
The Justice Minister Jeremy Wright has said: "Restorative justice should only happen when it's going to be done safely and well."
For the first time, through the Restorative Service Standards and Restorative Service Quality Mark, the Restorative Justice Council has the opportunity to make sure this is the case, not only in the criminal justice sector.
We know that lots of excellent restorative practice is already taking place, often without recognition, both in the Criminal Justice System and across care and education. However, there have also been concerns for a long time about poor practice taking place under the banner of restorative justice, which risks the reputation of restorative practice as a whole.
These standards will be a fantastic way for schools, care homes, fostering and adoption services, mediation services and criminal justice service agencies to receive recognition and celebrate the excellent restorative work they are already providing.
These are hugely exciting times for the development of restorative practice in England and Wales.