Bodies and networks supporting restorative practitioners – Overview
Profiles are presented in this section of six bodies that can be classified as networks or organisations that support restorative justice (RJ) and restorative practice (RP) practitioners. A summary is provided in the summary table for Group 3.
Nature of organisation
Five of the entities (Facing Forward, Limerick RP Project, Restorative Practices Ireland, Waterford RP Network and Wexford RP Partnership) are member-based networks without legal standing while the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Restorative Practices Ireland (RPI) is in the process of setting itself up as a legal entity and membership-based organisation. The five networks comprise representatives of statutory, community and voluntary bodies. Three of the entities operate without formal funding – Facing Forward, RPI and Waterford RP Network. Limerick RP Project receives funding from Limerick City and County Council (annual budget of €12,000) and Wexford RP Partnership receives funding from Tusla and Wexford Children and Young Peoples’ Services Committee (€10,000 in 2020). CDI is funded by Tusla and the cost of its RP training and support activities is partially offset by course fees. CDI has also funded a number of specific RPI activities.
Three entities have a local focus across Counties Limerick, Waterford and Wexford. RPI operates on a national basis and liaises with the RP Forum Northern Ireland. CDI and Facing Forward offer networking and other services nationally.
Functions common to all six entities include RP promotion and advocacy, sharing knowledge at meetings and events, and provision of facilitation services directly or by referral to network members. All except RPI provide training directly or refer enquiries to network members. CDI also provides RP consultancy and Facing Forward includes research as one of its activities. Current RPI activities include development of RP standards and RP training endorsement mechanisms. Information on activity levels is somewhat vague for most entities and those that provide specific information focus mainly on provision of training opportunities. For example, CDI trained 879 people in 2019, Limerick RP Project facilitated training of 348 people in 2013-2019 and Waterford RP Network trained 126 people in 2016. No specific information is available on other activities.
Staffing and training
Three have no staff and rely on the voluntary contributions of members, while two (Limerick RP Project and Wexford RP Partnership) have a part-time member of staff. CDI has two staff members who are dedicated to RP and also use the services of a panel of Associate RP Quality Specialists and a network of over 80 independent trainers and facilitators that they have trained nationwide. Network members in five entities have diverse RJ/RP backgrounds and qualifications, including in mediation and at third level education. CDI staff and panel members have received CDI-accredited RP training to various levels and many have additional RJ/RP qualifications and experience. The Development Officer in Limerick RP Project is an accredited facilitator and trainer (IIRP/CDI).