Nigel Richardson, Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Hull City Council, discusses how Hull is endeavoring to become the world''s first restorative city, on the occasion of the IIRP 13th World Conference, "Restorative Practices Across Disciplines," in Hull, England, UK.
In Hull we are working towards becoming the world’s first restorative city. We know this is a bold ambition and the challenges ahead are significant, but we believe this is the best and most effective way of working together with children, families, schools and communities. Like many other communities who are using restorative practices (RP) we have learnt a great a deal and are witnessing some outstanding results. We have also experienced many struggles and challenges and still have a long way to go. To help us we have received some first-class support and guidance from the IIRP and from other friends and colleagues from around the world.
Hull is home to 57,000 children and young people growing up in a multicultural, densely populated and fast-changing urban area. The city has high levels of unemployment, crime, poverty and need. Consequently, statutory, voluntary and private organisations in the city have committed themselves to doing something different to improve the lives of children and young people here. We are using restorative practices as a shared way of working to ensure everyone uses the same ethos, delivering services in an open, respectful and mutually accountable way set within a restorative framework. This framework requires us to work with children, families and the community and provides the ‘glue’ that binds together agencies in a common approach and language.
Restorative practices have been developing in Hull for a number of years and much has been achieved. Practitioners from many different disciplines and backgrounds have worked together and showed skill and commitment in moving forward with this approach. The city has committed itself to creating the ‘family friendly city where no child is left behind’. To that end, all services use an outcome framework for children, where children and young people in Hull can expect to:
- Be safe
- Be healthy
- Enjoy themselves
- Make a positive contribution
- Achieve economic well-being
The central question we ask staff to consider is, ‘What is it like to be a child or young person growing up in Hull and how do we make it better with them?’ This will require us to be good at listening to children and young people and centrally involving them in key decisions that affect their lives.
The adults working with children, young people and families are committed to adopting behaviours that build restorative and constructive relationships to help get better outcomes. This requires us to be explicit and accountable about the way we do business and the basis of our organisational and professional practice, which in Hull is based on restorative practices.
We hope you enjoy this visit to Hull. We know you will receive a warm reception, and we are proud to welcome you to our city. Hull has a long history as a major seafaring port and because of that is known as the Pioneering City. We believe this is an excellent backdrop for an RP conference and in keeping with those traditions hope your days here inspire you to continue to go further on your journey.
Director of Children and Young People’s Services
Hull City Council