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Transforming Organisational Culture - Principles and Practises of Restorative Just Culture
Various dates throughout the year (see Programme Dates tab for further information) | 4 days over a 3 week period

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria University are proud to present a four-day course on the principle and practises of Restorative Just Culture, which is also part of the learning encouraged in the NHS plan; We are the NHS: People Plan 2020/21 – action for us all.

This programme is for any professionals and practitioners who are involved in the management and welfare of a range of stakeholders (employees, patients, clients) when an employee relations matter has arisen (including bullying / harassment/ grievances/ disciplinary etc) and/or an adverse event/incident has occurred. Participants will learn how to manage these issues in a restorative way that minimises the negative impacts, maximises the learning to develop an organisational culture where people feel safe and one they can trust.

Through practitioner and academic insights you will learn how to develop, implement and evaluate a restorative just culture in your own organisation. You will also learn from the journey of Mersey Care NHS FT who will share their experience of implementing a restorative just culture, from which they have seen a 75% reduction in disciplinary investigations since 2016, and a significant reduction in dismissals and suspensions leading to a substantial reduction in cost despite the organisation more than doubling in size.

It is estimated that over 6,000 workers are currently suspended in the public sector and at a cost upwards of £50 million. This can be as a result of workplace stress, bullying or harassment that are dealt with in retributive rather than restorative ways which sadly can result in people ending their own lives or suffer long term health and well-being issues. Restorative Just Culture practises recognise the important role played by dealing with adverse events and incidents by asking, who is hurt; what do they need; and whose obligation is it to meet those needs? The success of restorative responses hinges on getting the community involved in collaboratively resolving those questions and arriving at a solution that is respectful to all parties, such as, patients, families, caregivers, organisational representatives, regulators and legal and union representatives. It considers accountability in a forward-looking (rather than punitive, backwards-looking) manner, asking who needs to do what now, given their role and the expectations that come with it. 

This CPD programme offers you the opportunity to explore and critically analyse the concepts of Restorative Just Culture approach and how these can be applied within your own organisation and the wider context. A range of techniques, approaches and the theoretical underpinning them will be reviewed and connection to their application to practice will be explored. This will provide a wider range of knowledge to draw from when working and dealing with adverse events and incidents within the context or your professional role. 

If you are interested in taking part in the programme, places can be offered on an individual basis or block organisational bookings (availability depending). Please refer to the Programme Dates and Booking Information tab on this page to see available dates.  

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Course Information

Award Type Award Type University accreditation, 30 credits at Level 7

Delivery Method Virtual Programme or Face to Face (COVID-19 restrictions allowing)

Online or Onsite Delivery (COVID-19 restrictions allowing)

Start Various dates throughout the year (see Programme Dates tab for further information)

4 days over a 3 week period

Health, Sport and Social Care, Leadership and Management, Architecture, Built Environment and Construction, Digital, Tech and Creative, Engineering and Manufacturing, Financial and Legal Services


As professor Sidney Dekker, thought leader and author on Restorative Just Culture writes (Dekker 2019) 

“Restorative justice is a process where all stakeholders affected by an injustice have an opportunity to discuss how they have been affected by the injustice and to decide what should be done to repair the harm". 

Restorative practices have existed since people lived in communities. Negotiations followed a transgression, and were concluded with compensation to the victim and his or her community, and with reintegrating the ‘offender'. Victims, offenders and their communities were all involved or represented in the negotiations:  

  • An event causes harm, and the response should repair that harm. This includes taking responsibility, making amends, and learning from the event. 
  • People involved in, and affected by, the harm collaboratively decide on what needs to be done.  
  • This helps restore trust between stakeholders, empowers victims, and reintegrates practitioners into the community.  

Restorative justice deals with consequences and causes of an event. It isn’t just between the ‘offender’ and their ‘judge’, and it doesn’t just pursue the narrow facts to secure, for example, a dismissal. Instead, it facilitates a dialogue to identify the many sides of an event and its complex causal web. With a deep understanding of how success is normally assured, and how a negative event could come about, it can create a fair response and identify improvements. 

Mersey Care NHS FT 

The Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has implemented a Restorative Just Culture founded on Sidney’s guidelines and has successfully seen a 54% reduction in disciplinary investigations over the last two years despite the organisation more than doubling in size in the same period. The trust has also realised a significant reduction in dismissals and suspensions leading to a substantial reduction in costs. During the same period it has also seen improved staff engagement and safety culture scores as measured by the national staff survey.  

The trust has recently been rated as Good by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection (read more on this here and view the report ratings here). Mersey Care also won the Healthcare Managers People award for the Restorative Just Culture initiative. The benefits are possible for any organisation that is prepared to implement a Restorative Just Culture. Many feel that we have a moral obligation to apply Restorative Just Culture principles out of respect for our colleagues, service users, patients and other stakeholders. 

In 2018, Executive Director of Workforce at Mersey Care, Amanda Oates, was interviewed by the Innovation Agency on the Trust's adoption of a Just and Learning Culture:


“The course helped our middle managers understanding of the principles of JRC and highlighted the cultural change needed to be able to really embed them within the Trust. Working through both practical and live examples coupled with the excellent facilitation and evidence base provided by Northumbria and Mersey care made the course a definite success!"

"The overall course was delivered with real passion and enthusiasm and this was clearly reflected in how the group engaged in all aspects of the course. The use of practical experiences of real cases when using the four step approach was extremely helpful in order to assist looking at things from a different perspective/mind-set. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would definitely recommend this course."

"All staff delivering were clearly very passionate about the subject matter and were able   to clearly relate to their own experiences which made the learning much more interesting and relevant."

"The whole course was an excellent balance of academic  research based  information, and practical application of the theories to practice."

"Truly inspirational, thought provoking course"

Our first two modules are out now and easily viewed online. They are aimed at HR practitioners but are accessible to anyone working with people in organisations. Each module can take 20 minutes to speed through but if you take time to look at the wider resources and videos, do set aside some more time to consider the messages thoroughly. The modules are available with British Sign Language and you can pause them at any point.

The first module is designed to assist HR practitioners and anyone supporting people who are keen to deliver high standards with consistency and objectivity. We tell the story of what happened in one NHS trust, Mersey Care. We look at how being a rules based organisation meant there was a lack of awareness of the psychological harm of some HR processes. This led in a number of cases to serious implications for staff working there. The module says how this can damage a whole trust. It asks how can the organisation learn from this. This module then asks whether this is happening in your organisation and what can be done about it? We go into more detail and ask what about bystanders?  Change can be difficult but viewing this session is the start of the journey Mersey Care took. You can take it as well.

View module 1 of our free online learning tool here

In the second module we acknowledge that mistakes can and will happen. We then ask how things not going as expected can affect those HR practices. Does your own HR and patient safety practice support the restorative justice approach? If you take the opportunity to learn there will be benefits to workforce and retention. The module offers several real life scenarios to work through. We consider each example and the effects on staff to reflect on the learning that can come from them. We then look at the wider effects of hurt – the implications for families, the whole organisation and far beyond it.

View module 2 of our free online learning tool here

This programme is available for organisational or combined organisational bookings for up to 40 delegates delivered by experts from Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria University, via our Virtual campus or at an organisations premises or preferred location (COVID-19 restrictions permitting). The course is delivered in 4 days over a 3 week period.

Available dates for 2020 and 2021 are below. The open programme dates below are available to individuals for booking, and the closed dates are available for organisational bookings only.

2020 and 2021 Delivery Dates;

Open Dates - Available for individual bookings

10th Nov 2020

11th Nov 2020

24th Nov 2020

25th Nov 2020

9th March 2021

10th March 2021

23rd March 2021

24th March 2021

Closed Dates - Available for Organisational Bookings only:

2nd March 2021

3rd March 2021

16th March 2021

17th March 2021

8th June 2021

9th June 2021

22nd June 2021

23rd June 2021

6th July 2021

7th July 2021

20th July 2021

21st July 2021

13th July 2021

14th July 2021

27th July 2021

28th July 2021


Please complete the following form to register your interest for the programme and specific dates above.

Register Your Interest Button

This programme would also be of particular interest to professionals an practioners in the following sectors: health and social care, police, education, government, trade union bodies who are involved with the reporting and management of adverse events of incidents which can involve safety reporting issues, harassment, bullying as an example.  

In this programme we will address the theory behind Restorative Just Culture and its application in complex organisations, and how to implement this practically in your organisation, and therefore reap the associated benefits: better relations with your employees, improved staff survey results, less labour conflicts and more motivated colleagues.  Accreditation is also offered with this programme. 

We will indicate not just how to implement a Restorative Just Culture, but also which prerequisites are necessary and which type of organisational philosophy is required. We will explain the difference between retributive and restorative approaches, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

We will discuss how a Restorative Just Culture can be evident even without adverse events. We address the role of the Human Resource professional in initiating and sustaining a Restorative Just Culture. We will also outline how Mersey Care took an organisational development approach to diagnosing and tailoring its approach through staff engagement.  

The programme will cover the following topics:  

• Restorative Just Culture: The alternative 

• Restorative Just Culture: How to do it - adverse events 

• Restorative Just Culture: How to do it - routine work 

• Restorative Just Culture: implementing for sustainability 

• How to implement restorative just culture  

• Compassionate HR 

• How to implement from an Organisational, Operational and Human Resources perspective 

• Impact and business case 



Virtual Campus

This programme is delivered virtually for 4 days over a 3 week period with a post programme action learning set 6-8 weeks after completion. In addition to the live virtual master and group sessions, you will have access to a range of resources through which you will develop your own restorative just culture implementation and evaluation plan, learning from the insights of Mersey Care NHS FT. You will be introduced to the virtual campus where you will attend live interactive master classes with a subject expert, participating in live discussions and asking questions. In your learning groups you will apply the learning to real cases in a virtual classroom with the help of group facilitators.

Face to Face

The programme can also be delivered face to face at an organisation's premises or preferred location - please contact us for further information on face to face delivery. 

*Please note currently face to face delivery can only go ahead depending on COVID-19 restrictions.

1. Understand the theories and concepts that underpin the practises relating to a Restorative Just Culture.  

2. Critically analyse the current approach to adverse incidents and events within your own organisation and diagnose where this is in relation to the Restorative Just Culture. 

3. Design a framework/plan to implement the Restorative Just Culture within your own organisation and link this to strategic level organisational goals.  

4. Learn the 4 step process of managing adverse incidents and events using the framework designed and used within Mersey Care NSH FT. 

5. Identify individual and organisational learning needs and utilise learning logs to reflect on individual learning that is needed to support the implementation of a Restorative Just Culture within your own organisation. 


Programme Lead:

Kristina Brown

Booking Enquiries:

Please register your interest for this course and we will be in touch once we have confirmed dates.
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