• A Gloucestershire expert in Restorative Justice has given evidence at a cross-party inquiry into the practice.
  • Becky Beard, who currently works as a policy officer for the OPCC said there was a lack of funding to professionalise and standardise restorative justice practices across the UK.
  • Restorative justice brings people harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible into communication.

A Gloucestershire-based expert in restorative justice has provided what’s been described as ‘amazing’ and ‘compelling’ evidence to a national inquiry into the practice.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Restorative Justice heard from Becky Beard, who currently works as Policy Officer for Gloucestershire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and has 10 years of experience as Restorative Justice Service Manager with Restorative Gloucestershire.

She gave evidence in her role as trustee for the National Restorative Justice Council and called for restorative practices to be used more widely in schools, care homes, secure custodial settings, and within the health service.

Speaking at the inquiry on Monday 19 July 2021, Becky challenged the amount of funding that’s made available to standardise the wide variety of RJ provisions across the country.

Becky said: “The majority of funding for RJ pays for a manager and maybe one or two practitioners for an entire PCC area. In Gloucestershire we have a number of complex and serious cases that can take over a year to complete, and because we have no local prison, practitioners are often travelling across the country to work with individuals – it puts a considerable amount of pressure on a small team.”

Why Me, a national charity which delivers and promotes Restorative Practice described Becky’s evidence as ‘compelling’ and ‘amazing’.

Restorative justice brings people harmed by crime or conflict and those responsible into communication. Working alongside practitioners, everyone affected can play a part in repairing the harm to find a positive way forward. It’s part of a wider field called restorative practice.

Restorative practice can be used anywhere to prevent conflict, build relationships and repair harm by enabling people to communicate effectively and positively.

The Restorative Justice All-Party Parliamentary Group was formed in April 2021 to drive forward cross-party conversations on restorative justice and raise awareness about its principles.

Its goals are to examine the use of restorative justice principles within the UK justice system and beyond; to raise the profile of restorative justice principles within Parliament; and to provide opportunities for policy discussion and consultation.

Becca Richardson is Gloucestershire’s Restorative Justice Manager: “In Gloucestershire we are fortunate to have an established and high-calibre ‘Restorative Gloucestershire’ team funded by the OPCC. We were delighted to hear Becky advocate for RJ service investment across the country as part of her evidence to the APPG, since we know that a Restorative approach can be transformational in the lives of those affected by harm and conflict”

For more information: http://www.restorativegloucestershire.co.uk/