NHS Security Info – Free Download #5 – This brief addresses the uncertainty about whether or not the new Restraint Reduction Network Standards apply to providers of acute hospital services, by Jim O’Dwyer, Senior Consultant at AEGIS Protective Services.

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Are providers of Acute Hospital Services required to comply with the RRN Standards?

On 30th April 2019,  Professor Tim Kendall, (National Clinical Director for Mental Health and Co-Chair of the Restrictive Interventions Oversight Group) and Professor Brendan Stone, (Professor of Social Engagement and the Humanities, Deputy Vice-President for Education – University of Sheffield and Co-Chair of the Restrictive Interventions Oversight Group) co-authored a communique from NHS England and NHS Improvement addressed to NHS MH Trust CEOs, Medical Directors, Directors of Nursing and to NHS Regional Commissioners on the subject of:  RRN Training Standards (& Certification).

The communique announced HEE had commissioned the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) to establish a process to deliver ‘Accredited Certification’ of training services as ‘complying with the Restraint Reduction Standards (RRN) Training Standards’, with a view to requiring all providers of NHS commissioned mental health and learning disability services to use ‘certified restraint training services’.

It also advised that, once NHSE/I, Care Quality Commission (CQC) and HEE were satisfied that Accredited Certification of training services was in place (anticipated to be in place by April 2020), the intention was to include ‘certificated training’ as a requirement in the standard NHS/I contract and for CQC to add this to their inspection framework.

The final paragraph said: “As the certification process take approximately 1 year to complete, we are encouraging all training providers to start the process of certification in spring 2019 ahead of UKAS Accredited Training becoming a requirement from April 2020”.

In January 2020, RRN published their ‘Training Standards ’

Image of RRN Standards Document

Restraint Reduction Network (RRN)

Training Standards First edition

James Ridley, Sarah Leitch

(190 pages)

Page 10: “The NHS welcomes the publication of the Restraint Reduction Network Training Standards. These Standards have been written to focus on ensuring training promotes human rights and supports cultural change necessary to reduce reliance on restrictive practices (rather than purely focus on technical skills). Certification of compliance with these Standards will be a requirement in NHS commissioned and CQC regulated services from April 2020.” Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health, NHS England 2019

Page 16: The Training Standards will be mandatory for all training with a restrictive intervention component that is delivered to NHS commissioned services for people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities, autistic people and people living with dementia in EnglandImplementation will be via commissioning requirements and inspection frameworks from April 2020. This includes services in the independent, private and voluntary sectors.”

The RRN Training Standards document also proclaimed:

Page 189 – “These standards have been developed with the support of Health Education England and the Royal College of Nursing to provide a national and international benchmark for training in supporting people who are distressed in education, health and social care settings.”

The result was uncertainty as to whether or not the new ‘requirement’ applied to acute hospital services

Well, in Feb 2020, the NHS Standard Contract 2020/21 – Technical Guidance was published and it clarified the position.

It said:

See s.41.5 – For 2020/21, commissioners are required to agree SDIPs (Service Development and Improvement Plans)

  • with providers of mental health and learning disability services and with providers of mental health secure services, to set out how the provider will prepare for implementation, to commence no later than 1 April 2021, of certified training in restrictive practices for all relevant staff; the SDIP must identify how the provider will secure a training supplier (whether in-house or external) certified (by a UKAS accredited certification body) as complying with the Restraint Reduction Network Training Standards published at http://restraintreductionnetwork.org. Where the provider has already secured a certified provider, the SDIP must set out how the provider will start to roll out the training to relevant staff.


Note: It does not (yet) make the same requirement of providers of acute hospital services!

So, providers of Acute Hospital Services are NOT required to comply with the RRN Standards.

Below is a screenshot of the relevant part (s41.5) of the NHS Standard Contract 2020/21 – Technical Guidance.

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I hope the information above is useful to you. If you would like to discuss any aspect of it, please feel free to give me a call.

Jim O’Dwyer
Senior Consultant
AEGIS Protective Services

T: 01202 773736

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