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Diploma in Practice Leadership in Reducing Restrictive Practices

Applications are now open for May 2023.

Leadership is one of the six core strategies that are essential in reducing restraint. The new Restraint Reduction Network (RRN) BTEC Diploma, Practice Leadership in Reducing Restrictive Practices, supports practice leaders to translate theory into practice, supporting services who are committed to restraint reduction achieve their goals.

Qualification details

BTEC Level 5
Diploma in Practice Leadership in Reducing Restrictive Practices

This is the first Diploma in Practice Leadership in Reducing Restrictive Practices available in the UK. It is designed for people who work in services and who can shape the practice of colleagues, helping them to develop a culture of least restriction. The course combines practice leadership theory with restraint reduction theory, allowing a direct transfer of learning into practice. Learners will gain key knowledge on service and organisational reduction strategies, and develop an overall service reduction implementation plan.

This is a human rights focused qualification, co-designed and co-delivered by people with lived experience of restrictive practices. It is an excellent fit with current UK policy, and will have direct impact on improving services and people’s lives.

What is involved?

There are 360 learning hours in the Diploma. It carries 36 credits and is expected to take 12-15 months to complete.

Learning hours involve a mixture of online self-directed activities, most of which learners can work through at their own pace, and at a time to suit them. These activities include webinars, films, reading, and interactive activities. There will also be practice-based activities – such as assessments and case studies – plus online group and individual tutorials, allowing a chance for discussion, plus reflection on new knowledge and skills, and work presentations.

What will you learn?

There are five units that you must complete to gain the Diploma:

1. Principles of Restrictive Practice Reduction

Unit 1 provides the underpinning theory and knowledge that will enable learners to understand the impact of restrictive practice, the range of restrictive practices, and the conditions in which restrictive practices are likely to be used. It introduces the six core strategies of restraint reduction and the human rights context for reducing all restrictive practices.
The principle of only using the least restrictive practice will be explored and operationalised throughout the course content. After completing this unit, learners will be able to explain to others, with practice-based examples, how restraints and other restrictive practices can be reduced at individual and service levels. The learner will also be able to make informed recommendations that improve quality of life, and provide the least restrictive environment for a person.

2. Providing Capable Environments

Unit 2 gives learners the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to contribute towards implementing capable environments. Capable environments are supportive, and enable people to thrive by meeting their physical and psychosocial needs. These environments also maintain and enhance quality of life with a focus on support strategies that are associated with the reduction of behaviours that challenge services and can lead to restrictions.

Understanding and implementing a person-centred capable environment is an essential part of any systematic approach towards improving wellbeing for vulnerable people and their carers. Many aspects of capable environments represent good practice that is applicable to all people. If a service is able to meet the needs of a person and provide the support they need to thrive, the likelihood of unnecessary restrictive practices being used – or specialist care and out-of-area placement being needed – is reduced. This unit covers communication and choice, rapport and relationships, sensory preferences, physical and emotional wellbeing, trauma-informed support, low arousal practices, and active support.

3. Leading the Reduction of Restraint and Restrictive Practice

Unit 3 focuses on key contemporary issues concerning the reduction of restraint, and other restrictive practices as a key policy and good practice objective. This unit builds on earlier learning around human rights by exploring the range of restrictive practices, their detrimental impact, and evidence-based approaches for their reduction. The meaningful involvement of experts is a central theme here, as in earlier units, and will be opened up to cover wider workforce development issues. Data-based decision-making is also explained in detail.

Learners will compare and evaluate different restraint reduction strategies by using critical thinking skills developed in the previous unit. They will also operationalise what they have learned by carrying out a service audit, establishing a post-incident support process, and creating a bespoke restraint reduction plan that involves making recommendations to a multidisciplinary team.

4. Working with People with Lived Experience to Create Change

This unit develops learners’ knowledge and skills around creating cultural change, and working meaningfully with people with lived experience of restraint to inform reduction. Learners will enhance their understanding on how to work collaboratively with people with lived experience, plus how to ensure practices and processes are in place to do this optimally. Trauma-informed support will form part of this learning, as will understanding/adopting different communication styles and working practices.

A consideration of reasonable adjustments will also be covered, along with an exploration of the role of family carers in supporting restraint reduction. Learners will develop their practice leadership skills further by co-leading the development and implementation of a restraint reduction strategy that has been co-designed with an expert by experience.

5. Organisational Systems Change to Support Reduction

Unit 5 concludes the Diploma with a focus on key contemporary issues concerning the reduction of restraint and other restrictive practices in organisations, while application of the six core strategies will also be examined at an organisational level. Successful reduction strategies will be further explored, along with barriers to change. Change models, and an evidence-based underpinning theory of implementation, will be taught.

Finally, learners will be supported to carry out an organisational audit, making recommendations to their senior leadership team, and implementing, monitoring, and evaluating the impact of at least one organisational strategy.


For individuals:

RRN member: £1,750 + VAT
Non member: £1,990 + VAT

A cohort (group of six learners from the same organisation who go through the qualification together):

RRN member: £10,500 + VAT
Non member: £11,940 + VAT

Apply now

Click here to download the fillable application form. Please return your application form to Please include your name in the title bar and which qualification you are applying for. Thank you!

The next course will start on the 8th May 2023, with a closing and final payment date of 27th March 2023.*

Please note this qualification does not include within it curriculum learning linked to technical skills to carry out any restrictive interventions or restraints and therefore it is not certified against the RRN Training Standards. The qualification is not an alternative or replacement for certified training, where required.

If you want to access updates on the BTEC Level 5 Diploma: Practice Leadership in Reducing Restrictive Practices, you can sign up to our mailing list here.

*The RRN reserves the right to close applications early if we receive a higher number of applications than expected.