The Drive for National Standards

Campaigning for standards in the application & teaching of physical intervention techniques. The Story So Far...
Restraint Reduction Network (RRN) Training Standards 2019. These standards have been developed in response to the growing concern that some of the existing training may not be of an adequate quality to maximise the safety of people who are distressed or of the staff who have the difficult task of supporting them. In addition such training is not always provided in context where minimisation of both risk and the use of the restrictive interventions is a priority. Therefore these standards have been been designed to provide a framework for training that scaffolds best practise. These standards will provide a national and international benchmark for training in supporting people who are distressed in education, health and social care settings. For several years we have been proactive in trying to establish National Standards for the methods used in physical intervention to comply with our Statement of Intent and Ethical Approach. We strongly believe that the vast majority of organisations, whose employees may be faced with a violent situation, are crying out for National Standards.

There is confusion in the industry regarding who teaches Control and Restraint (C&R) and what is taught. Many controlling bodies, such as County Councils, insist upon accreditation to certain organisations regarding the teaching without fully understanding what such accreditation means and if the methods taught will cover all circumstances, degrees of violence and age range. We are also aware that some C&R methods are being used (and presumably taught) which we would never teach or recommend.

We believe that there is a widespread need for National Standards throughout the industry. The Prison Service and Police Service have been approached in this respect but, regrettably, neither wishes to be involved.
Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke M.P. meeting with Ethical Care's Director Tom Starling
Tom Starling with Charles Clarke

We continue to look for openings to pursue the cause further. In January 2006, Tom Starling Director of Ethical Care (RIGHT) met Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke M.P. (LEFT), then Home Secretary, to seek his help in establishing National Standards in the methods used in physical intervention.

Mr. Clarke continues to support us in this respect and we keep offering our expertise and experience to various reviews and enquiries following the sad loss of life when C&R has been a part of the tragedy. How many more lives have to be lost before National Standards are established and practiced no one knows.

In July 2009, we met with two leaders from HM Prison Service's Conflict Resolution Team (CRT) which has been recruited within the National Tactical Response Group (NTRG) to research and develop techniques and practises that meet the needs of the recommendations from the Government's Independent Review of Restraint. NTRG are a section within the Ministry of Justice.

The meeting was open and honest, reflecting our ethos and our passion for national standards. The two CRT team leaders are to recommend that our Director, Tom Starling, be invited to demonstrate the methods we teach at HM Prison Service's C & R Training Centre at Lindholme in Yorkshire.

Ministry of Justice Review Panel examining the use of Restraint in Juvenile Secure Settings
In December 2007 we sent a folio of evidence to the above Review Panel, following an invitation to do so by the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw M.P. Additional evidence has since been provided by us, and in the Spring Tom Starling met one of the joint chairman, who was visiting one of the juvenile secure units where we provide training, to reinforce our opinions. In particular, we have recommended that National Standards should be established in the C&R methods taught in the UK and that all organisations teaching physical intervention methods should be accredited to a recognised professional national body, such as the Ministry of Justice, with input from all interested parties.

The findings of the Review Panel were published on 15th December 2008 under the title "Independent Joint Review of Restraint in Juvenile Settings". Copies of this report and the governments' response to this report can be downloaded from the links below.

A further report written by Dr Di Hart of the National Children's Bureau entitled "Restrictive Physical Intervention in Secure Children's Homes" This report includes comments from all training providers to the Juvenile Secure Units in England and Wales and every provider is in agreement with us for national standards and most, like us, ask for a government based accreditation system. So we are certainly not alone!

Please contact us if you are interested in National Standards and/or if you can provide support.