Frequently Asked Questions
What is the RSQM?
The Restorative Justice Council’s Restorative Service Quality Mark is a quality mark for restorative services who can demonstrate that they meet the Restorative Service Standards. Each standard contains indicators against which performance can be measured. The standards will be used by the RJC to assess the quality of service delivery.
What are the Restorative Service Standards?
The Restorative Service Standards describe the minimum requirements needed to provide a safe and effective restorative service. Based on local consultation, they allow for flexibility in local delivery models to meet service users’ needs.
Why standards and RSQM?
The Ministry of Justice Restorative Justice Action Plan, published in November 2012, tasked the RJC with the development of standards and a national accreditation framework.
Why are the Restorative Service Standards important?
The standards will ensure quality of provision and participant safety in the restorative process. The Restorative Service Standards are based on widespread consultation with stakeholders as well as the research and practice experience of those who have been delivering quality, sustainable restorative services across a range of sectors, for many years (see also evaluation).
What authority does the RJC have to operate the RSQM?
The RJC is the voluntary professional body for the restorative practice field and one of our core functions is to provide quality assurance. The RJC staff who operate the RSQM, have a mixture of quality assurance, restorative practice and training skills and knowledge. The team has completed internal quality assurance training and some have achieved the qualification.
How is the RSQM different from other quality marks?
The RSQM has been designed specifically for the restorative practice field and can be used by agencies who are based in the public, voluntary and commercial sectors. The Restorative Service Standards which underpin the RSQM cover every area of service delivery.
What are the benefits of achieving the RSQM?
The RSQM will have a wide range of benefits for services which hold it, as it provides developmental and self-reflection opportunities as well as a final assessment. For more information visit rjc.org.uk/rqsm.
Has the RSQM been evaluated?
The RSQM was tested during the summer of 2013 and was independently evaluated by the Charities Evaluation Service. Further developments were made in light of the evaluation.
How much does the RSQM cost?
Fee structure for 2015/2016:
Example of restorative agency
Probation service, small police force, school, youth offending team, prison
Police force, large local authority
Local voluntary sector service
All costs are exclusive of VAT.
Who can apply for the RSQM?
The RSQM is for any organisation that provides a restorative service either to the public or to people within the organisation (for example, a restorative school that provides a restorative service to its pupils).
What is the difference between practitioner registration and the RSQM?
Practitioner registration is aimed at individual practitioners, whilst the RSQM is for a restorative service.
I am a service user, what does the RSQM mean for me?
You can be reassured that any restorative process you are involved in will be delivered safely and to the required minimum standard.
How does practitioner accreditation relate to the RSQM?
Practitioners who have achieved accreditation have demonstrated that they are delivering safe and effective restorative practice. This is also an essential ingredient of the RSQM and relates to Standard 5 - Service delivery and users.
Can a unit within a service receive the RSQM?
Yes. If the unit successfully achieves the RSQM, then it will have to make it clear that approval only relates to the unit.
Can an individual who provides a restorative service to other organisations achieve the RSQM?
Currently the RSQM cannot be achieved by an individual. However, practitioner accreditation is entirely suitable for such individuals.
Can a service get the RSQM if they are only doing restorative practice internally and not externally and vice versa?
Yes. We will assess your service in relation to the context in which you deliver restorative practice.
How much restorative practice must my service deliver to apply for RSQM?
You must be delivering a sufficient number and variety of restorative interventions for your assessor to be reassured that you can deliver safely and consistently and be considered a restorative service.
What if a service is delivering restorative approaches but not operating restoratively themselves?
The scope of the application will be defined at the outset. Many organisations will be solely delivering a restorative service, rather than being a restorative service themselves. Both types of service – ie delivery of or being a restorative service – are able to apply for the RSQM.
What is ‘enough’ restorative practice to be considered a service?
In a service delivery context, you will need to evidence that you have delivered a number of interventions, to a consistent standard, over a period of time, some being recent. You will need to evidence a number of both direct and indirect interventions.
In a restorative service context, you will need to evidence that you deliver a spectrum of restorative responses and that this happens regularly and consistently.
How will I know when I am ready?
You can use the online health check tool to gauge how close you already are to RSQM standards.
How long will it take to get the RSQM?
From the point of your initial application for the RSQM assessment to achieving the RSQM will take between three and six months, and the pace will very much be set by you.
How can I get help to work towards the Restorative Service Quality Mark?
There is support to develop your service if required. For more information visit rjc.org.uk/rqsm or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you offer consultancy support?
Yes. We have recruited and trained a team of consultants who can help you work towards the RSQM. Our team can be viewed at the RJC website at rjc.org.uk/rsqm-team.
Do we have to pay to register our practitioners?
In order to receive your RSQM you will also need to ensure your trained and practising restorative practitioners are registered with the RJC. This listing of practitioners will be at no additional cost.
Individual practitioners will be required to sign up to the RJC’s Practitioner Code of Practice and confirm their line or case supervision arrangements on an annual basis. Practitioners will be shown as associate members.
Should restorative practitioners be accredited?
We would encourage all services to promote practitioner accreditation. This is one way in which you can invest in your staff and volunteers’ personal development and, like the RSQM itself, accreditation offers independent recognition of your practitioners’ experience.
Accredited Practitioner status can be achieved by either completing a qualification approved by the RJC or direct accreditation by the RJC. There will be one assessment fee for those practitioners completing the RJC direct accreditation route.
What is the process of obtaining the RSQM?
Steps to achieving the RSQM are:
1. Online health check
2. Support to develop your service if required
3. Apply and pay to start formal RSQM assessment process
4. Assessor allocated
5. First site visit
6. Develop online portfolio
7. Final site visit
9. Receiving your RSQM
How long does the RSQM last for?
Your RSQM approval will last for three years. To maintain your RSQM approval status you will be required to reapply for the RSQM after three years.
Can I appeal?
If you are not happy with our decision about your RSQM application, you can appeal against the decision. The appeals procedure will be sent to you with your RSQM decision letter.
How will my organisation be assessed?
To achieve the RSQM, your organisation will undergo an external assessment process which involves gathering evidence, reviewing documentation and a site visit which will include interviews with managers, partner agencies, volunteers and service users as well as a review of case files. The external assessment will be carried out by an RJC RSQM assessor.
How were the assessors recruited and trained?
The RJC ran an open recruitment process to select our assessor team. They received full training and we continue to support them through standardisation events and individual support.
How much support can my assessor give me?
Your assessor can help you identify what evidence you already have and where the gaps may be in your restorative provision. He/she can give you suggestions of what you need to do to develop your service but cannot tell you what to do.
Your assessor will be able to guide you as to what evidence he/she will want to see and may ask for particular evidence. The assessor can also suggest evidence you may want to provide but cannot tell you how to create/develop such evidence.
How will my assessor know my niche sector?
Our assessors have backgrounds in a variety of sectors and were carefully trained to weigh and balance different kinds of evidence and to respect the diversity of delivery approaches in meeting the standards. They will support organisations to evidence their good work, and will be fair in assessment.
Will assessors be looking at confidential documents?
Yes. Assessors will want to view both staff supervision records and case files/records.They will also want to talk to people who have used or do use your service. You can anonymise files.
Will assessors want to meet with people who have participated in restorative practice?
Yes. Assessors will want to talk to people who have used or do use your service.
What type of evidence do I need to provide?
When you start to think about the evidence you want to submit to show that you have met the indicators, you might want to consider these kinds of questions:
- What do we have already that we can use to demonstrate that we are meeting this standard or indicator?
- How do we meet this standard or indicator?
- Which of our leaders supports restorative practice and how do they do this?
- What policies, processes and procedures are already in place?
- Who do we work with to make restorative practice happen and how do we do this?
- What training have our staff and volunteers had and what do we do to support them on a day-to-day basis?
- How do we communicate our restorative practice?
- How do we measure and evaluate what we are doing?
How current should evidence be?
Evidence should be as up-to-date as possible. If evidence is appears to be ‘old’, the assessor may ask you if you have recently reviewed the evidence to make sure it is still valid.
How do I prepare and manage my evidence?
Your assessor will send you an ‘evidence planner’ ahead of your first site visit. You can use this document to help you to start to think about, and note down, which documents or other evidence you might have to evidence the indicators. You can use this to assist when uploading your documents and tick them off as you upload them and cross-reference them with each indicator. We suggest that you make a file on your desktop in which to save all of your RSQM evidence, prior to uploading any documents.
How long will it take to upload the evidence?
We estimate that it will take approximately two to three days to upload your evidence.
Do I have to provide all of the evidence in the examples?
No. You do not have to provide all of the evidence listed in the examples. The lists are merely to give you an idea of the types of evidence that you could provide. You may also have other types of evidence, not listed in the examples, that you would like to submit.
Confidentiality and data protection
Please be assured that the RJC and RSQM assessors will treat your application in the strictest confidence. We understand that some of the evidence you provide may contain personal and sensitive information relating to participants within restorative processes or staff and volunteer records.
The RJC has registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and complies with all data protection requirements. All RJC staff and RSQM assessors have signed a confidentiality statement which is included in their contracts of employment.
The RSQM website is secure and password encrypted. In addition, agencies will not be expected to upload confidential information onto the RSQM website. Our assessors are required to provide the RJC with an up-to-date disclosure and barring service (or equivalent) check. The RJC is registered with the Information Commissioners Office.
How long does the first site visit take?
The meeting will last approximately three hours and you will agree with your assessor a timetable for uploading your evidence to the online portfolio including a deadline for final submission of evidence.
How long does it take to get a decision?
Within two weeks of your final site visit you will be sent a report which will outline whether or not you have been successful.
How was the RSQM developed?
The RJC and a multi-agency steering group developed the Restorative Service Standards and the framework for a Restorative Service Quality Mark for agencies that show that they meet the standards. Wide-reaching consultation and testing was also undertaken.
My service isn’t quite ready to apply for the RSQM. What do I do next?
If your agency is not ready to apply for the RSQM, the report you receive will highlight suggested areas for developing your service.
What happens if I don’t achieve the RSQM?
A report will identify the reasons why your application has been declined or if an action plan is required. If an action plan is required you will have four weeks to show how you will meet the gaps identified in your final report. On satisfactory completion of the actions, you will be awarded the RSQM. If your application has been declined, you can apply for the RSQM again after three months. You will have to pay the RSQM fee again. If you disagree with the findings of the assessment there is an appeals procedure.
Is there re-approval after my RSQM runs out?
Your RSQM approval will last for three years. In order to maintain your RSQM approval after three years you will need to go through the RSQM application process and pay the RSQM assessment fee again.