A presentation on the background & introduction to the International Workshop on Restorative Governance, Monday, July 21, 2014, Lord Nelson Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Prepared By workshop convenor Professor Jennifer Llewellyn, Viscount Bennett Professor of Law, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
This workshop will bring provincial and international leaders in restorative theory and practice together with those in governance or leadership positions interested in considering, developing or supporting a restorative approach.
There is much that we can share and learn from one another regarding particular restorative processes, practices and policies developed and implemented within our various areas, sectors or jurisdictions. Indeed, we hope the connections made through this workshop will support and sustain continued mutual learning into the future. The specific focus of this workshop is on the implications of a restorative approach for governance.
For us in Aotearoa New Zealand, building strong healthy relationships are at the heart of everything we do. The central building block for this is family. The concepts of whanau (family in its widest sense) and whakapapa (all the connections we have; to people, places, history) are the starting point of these relationships, so we organise our services and our practice around these key connections.
A message from Nigel Richardson: Director of Children’s Services in Leeds, UK
Leeds is the third largest city in the UK with a population approaching 800,000. We began our own restorative journey around five years ago when we set out a bold ambition to become the best city for our citizens and in particular the best city for our children and young people to grow up in - a child friendly city, where everyone can play their part in making a difference. We asked ourselves what that would look and feel like, and how the relationship between the state and our citizens – our ‘social contract’ – needed to change to realise those ambitions. Restorative practice was identified as a big part of our response to that question, we believe that people, families and communities become happier, more resilient and more sustainable if professionals work with them to solve problems, rather than doing things to them, for them or doing nothing at all.
In many ways, Whanganui is New Zealand’s first experiment with restorative practice on a city-wide scale. Other cities where this has occurred are Halifax in Canada, Hull in the UK and Leeds the Child Friendly City in the UK. In all of those cases it has produced very positive results in terms of things such as school attendance, reduction in school suspensions, better relations in the workplace and reductions in family violence to name but some.