Pulling Together for Safety Standards in Occupational Violence

Written By ICM  |  membership, PMOV, standards  |  0 Comments

The Institute of Conflict Management (ICM) was founded in 2000, supported by the Health & Safety Executive, with the aim of establishing standards for preventing and managing work-related violence. In 2002, the ICM collaborated with Edexcel to develop the Security Industry Association (SIA) Standards, following the introduction of the Security Industry Act (2001). We also took a leading role in devising National Occupational Standards for the Prevention & Management of Work Related Violence. Since then, the ICM has remained an active stakeholder, contributing to the evolution of national guidance and revisions to the National Occupational Standards in 2007 and 2013. The ICM will continue to support organisations and regulators in establishing safe systems of work by preventing and managing conflict, aggression, and violence in the workplace.

Current Issues:

In recent years the Bild/RRN restraint reduction initiative was developed with the goal of reducing unnecessary restraint in services for people with learning disabilities and autism. There are many settings in which restraint is never necessary and the objective in those settings should be not just to reduce but eliminate its use entirely. However, there are also other operational contexts in which the need for necessary restraint is clear and foreseeable. 

Occupational violence is a real and significant concern for some workers in a wide range of occupational settings. Competent risk and training needs assessments need to clearly distinguish between necessary and unnecessary restraint. Employers have a statutory duty of care to assess all risks and put in place reasonable and proportionate risk control measures, including safe and effective methods of physical restraint where necessary.

Unfortunately, evidence has emerged in the Courts that some employers have failed to distinguish between necessary and unnecessary restraint in their policies, risk assessments and and training. Careless and indiscriminate attempts at restraint reduction have resulted in unnecessary harm to individuals and significant costs to employers when necessary risk controls were removed.

Necessary restraints must not be reduced. The use of seatbelts is still necessary and therefore mandatory in aircraft and cars. Even more restrictive vest harnesses, typically made of nylon or polyester, are necessary on amusement park rides to keep riders secure. These are highly restrictive forms of restraint, but they are necessary and any attempt to reduce their use would be a breach of duty of care. Some restraints are necessary in education, health and care settings too. The Bolam test, used by courts around the world to assess liability in personal injury cases, actually takes its name from a legal case in which a doctor was sued for failing to use necessary restraints.

In recognition of the need for greater clarity on this and other related issues in a range of operational settings, the ICM is working with a number of organisations to develop new ICM Standards on the Prevention and Management of Occupational Violence (PMOV).

The ICM/PMOV training safety standards will reflect the broader range of contexts in which the prevention and management of occupational violence apply. The ICM will draw on a wider sphere of expertise to support the breadth of operational contexts in which its members work. 

These operational contexts may be very different, yet they all share some common features of good practice in the prevention and management of occupational violence. Workers in schools, airline cabin crew, social workers, residential care staff, paramedics, ambulance crews, bar and restaurant staff, members of the fire service, highway maintenance workers, hotel and public-facing reception staff in a variety of settings are just some of the workers who encounter risks from occupational violence.

The ICM is currently working with UKAS towards becoming accredited against the the ISO/IEC 17065 standard, as a UKAS approved certification provider. Organisations wishing to obtain certification will need to be members of the ICM and register an interest.

Key Principles:

In relation to the ICM/PMOV standards, the ICM will endeavour to:

  • Consult widely and take into account the full range of responsible expert professional opinion.
  • Ensure that the development process is not dominated by any particular special interest group.
  • Ensure that the standards provide balanced protection for the health and safety of workers and those with whom they are expected to interact in the course of their work.
  • Reduce confusion that has repeatedly arisen over the meaning of regulation, accreditation and certification (as detailed in the serious case review into the scandal at Winterbourne View)
  • Liaise with technical and legal experts to ensure that the ICM/PMOV Standards and certification service provide a reasonable balance.
  • Ensure that the ICM/PMOV Standards are open standards with no restrictive commercial licensing contracts forcing training providers to use any particular certification service.

For many training providers the Bild/RRN standards may be preferable but they are not appropriate for all settings. Many ICM members already offer some courses which are certificated under the Bild/ACT scheme and have indicated that they will continue to do so. 

It is for commissioners of training to conduct due diligence to ensure that the training they commission is appropriate for the context of their own service setting. 

The ICM is a not-for-profit organisation. We rely primarily on the goodwill of our members who have a common aim to improve the quality of training in this area. We will endeavour to create a cost effective service that raises standards, adds value and improves quality.

If you believe this is a venture worth supporting, please join us.

ICM Professional Members can attend CPD and other ICM events at reduced rates, can participate in ICM development/research groups and receive ICM Newsletters and have access to ICM on-line resources. (annual £95 membership subscription)

ICM Trainer Members are members who are fully qualified to deliver training in PMOV. Benefits include: Full Membership of Lead Body with voting rights. They can attend CPD and other ICM events at reduced rates, can participate in ICM development/research groups, receive ICM Newsletters and have access to ICM on-line resources. (annual £125 membership subscription)

ICM Quality Award Centres are training providers who design, develop and deliver their own training programmes, developed and audited for alignment with the ICM National Training Standards.  QACs demonstrate to the sector their Quality Assurance for Training in the Prevention & Management of Work-Related Violence. An ICM Trainer Member who is registered through an ICM-QAC can deliver ICM Awards/Certification.

If you join as an individual member to support this project, we will provide you with a draft copy of the standards for free and invite you to contribute to the process of improvement as it progresses. This is your opportunity to ensure that your voice is heard and that you have some say in the standards against which you will be assessed in the future.

Only Quality Award Centres who are already approved and have paid their certification fees may issue certificates and/or use the ICM logo under the current scheme. Those centres will remain approved until the new system comes into operation and be able to transfer onto the new scheme when it comes into effect.

We appreciate that the COVID-19 crisis put a strain on many training organisations. For that reason, the ICM will write off any outstanding invoices for Quality Award Centres who renew their certification subscription by August 30th, 2023. 

Organisations which are fully paid up current members by August 30th, 2023 will be protected from any price rises associated with the new UKAS accredited scheme for the next three years from April 1 2023, during which they will be supported to meet the new standards at no extra charge.

Please note, the ICM will take immediate action to remove any unauthorised uses of the ICM logo or misrepresentation on digital or other media.

With any queries, please contact the ICM:  info@instituteofconflictmanagement.org