About Me

“Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on. ”― Billy Connolly

I never tire of learning who people are. I believe that everyone teaches you something new each day and that everything is built around relationships.

I’ve always believed that relationships are central to everything that we do.  Punishment alone just creates resentment, rather than reflection.  Conflict and tensions were never dealt with in a way that was meaningful for those at the centre of the conflict and that voice and influence never really truly had the ‘influence’ part.

Its all about how we build, maintain and repair relationships!

My strengths lie in building lasting relationships with brilliant clients and this is key to my success.I pride myself in asking the right questions to understand your needs and being results oriented.

Having a clear vision for developing training, consulting and implementation packages that are focused on improving outcomes and making a real difference to them.

One of the crucial areas I focus on is working in collaboration, as this is where I add further value for you, the clients.

I began using restorative approaches over 13 years ago. I have written and organised training for a wide range of organisations and individuals including; Primary and Secondary Schools, Police , Youth Offending Services, Children’s Centre’s, Looked after Children, Local Authorities, Social work teams, Adult services, Inclusive Practice, Leadership Training, Community,Faith and Voluntary organisations to name but a few.

I have delivered training, seminars, workshops and keynote speeches locally, nationally and internationally. Including across the UK, Hungry, Finland, Holland, Spain, USA and Canada. 

I always bring a special blend of training, strategic planning, consultancy and practitioner experience – Looking at developing restorative communities. My experience at developing large scale restorative Cities is primarily in Sefton & Hull, but also increasingly in more areas around the country including Wokingham and Leeds.

I am relentless and passionate about working better together to produce brilliant work for great clients. This comes through a fusion of ideas, dialogue, relationships, expertise and irrepressible energy.

When you do a job you love, you never work a day in your life!

I have recently been accepted to do my MA in Restorative Justice at Hull University. What have I let myself in for…. 

When I am not doing all things restorative, I enjoy spending time with my family, following Everton Football Club (Yes, I am a scouser) and the odd occasional cold beer.

"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original"  - Sir Ken Robinson 

  • To read my recommendations, please scroll down to the blue section. 

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” ~Muhammad Ali

I have extensive experience and knowledge as a recognised specialist provider in the field of Restorative Practice. My key strengths are:

  • Strategy & implementation

  • Delivering high standards of innovative tailored training with police, criminal justice, prisons, third sector, schools,across communities,children's homes, social care and family services, to name but a few
  • Excellent understanding of national strategies & priorities around Restorative Practice in a school setting

  • Developing and maintaining excellent relationships

  • Consultancy & strategy implementation specialist in the field of restorative practice.

  • Developed multi agency experience and knowledge around the use & implementation of Restorative Practice.

  • Experienced trainer of trainers.

  • Recognised national, international ambassador & conference speaker of Restorative Practice

  • Experienced over the last decade of managing change across multiple services

  • Highly skilled restorative conference facilitator and mediator 

  • Highly skilled practitioner in all settings 

  • Extensive experience in supporting childrens services in developing restorative approaches to achieve positive outcomes and impact

  • Extensive experience around the development, implementation & application of restorative practice around the governments 'troubled families’ agenda

  • Extremely experienced at leading small and large scale change programmes 

  • Specialist provider of restorative leadership training, consultancy and coaching

I am an experienced, organised project manager with a proven track record in delivering flagship restorative practice projects nationally over the last decade. Ensuring that the work I do is focused on meeting local priorities and operational strategies. Achieving key milestones, assessing risks/opportunities, working effectively and efficiently at all times, motivating and supporting others to achieve outputs, outcomes and ensuring maximum sustainable impact.

My portfolio of expertise is underpinned by:

  • Completed and certified Restorative Practice Practitioner & Trainer

  • Three day Restorative Practice course with the International Institute for Restorative Practice (IIRP)

  • Specialist Circles Training with IIRP

  • Advanced Training with the IIRP

  • Two Day Restorative Leadership Training

  • Five day training in Restorative Practice with Transforming Conflict

  • Five day Trainer of trainers with IIRP

  • Trainer of Trainer with Transforming Conflict

  • Attended two day training with Paul Nixon – Chief Social Worker for New Zealand on working restoratively with families

  • Wrote and contributed to numerous publications, policies and national agendas around Restorative Practice

  • Presented keynote and facilitated workshops at local, national and international conferences, on the subject of Restorative Practice

  • 3 day Course with international trainer in Family Group Conferencing

  • Recently accepted to study my MA in Restorative justice

  • Signed up to the trainers code of conduct with the Restorative Justice Council

  • Part of a small national group who reviewed and rewrote the ‘Best Practice Guidance for Restorative Practitioners’ 2012 for England and Wales

  • Member of Standards and Accreditation group with the Restorative Justice Council 2011-2012

  • Elected to be a Board member with the Restorative Justice Council for England and Wales in 2012.

  • Knowledgeable around Safe Guarding and completed training around child protection and working with vulnerable adults

  • Huge advocator in valuing difference – trained in Equality & Diversity.

  • Promoter of inclusive practice throughout all training & consultancy 

Over the years I have successfully worked supporting restorative strategies across communities with challenges & areas of social deprivation. I am a passionate, knowledgeable and aim to inspire communities, services, and individuals. 

I lead by example and truly value the collaborative inclusive principles that restorative practice promotes and believe completely in partnership work. I have extensive knowledge & understanding of delivering bespoke consultancy & training to a wide range of sectors & services.

I have been instrumental in citywide implementation models and multi agency approaches to restorative work. Being a key member of the lead team that developed a City wide approach across Hull, evidencing measurable outcomes and impact. 

I have an optimistic outlook that is underpinned by honesty, integrity, respect, equal opportunities and a commitment to inclusive practice.

I was elected to the board of the Restorative Justice Council for England and Wales in 2012. The board is the national voice for restorative practice and has made significant contributions in the field of restorative practice.

My growth mindset 

  • Embrace challenge
  • Expect excellence 
  • Be resilent and overcome obstacles 
  • Thrive on feedback 
  • Accept hard work, effort and deliberate practice 
  • Be inspired by the success of others 
  • Support and encourage each other 

"A goal without a plan is just a wish" and "a vision without action is just hallucination"  

 

Mark's Recommendations

"Mark is one of the country’s leading trainers in restorative practice across various organisations, including local authorities.  He played in key role when implementing the highly-regarded initiative to make Hull a restorative city. He is supporting Leeds to transform the way we work with the most vulnerable families, using restorative approaches to bring about evidence-based social, cultural and economic benefits.   

Mark’s work is principled, people-centred and adaptable to different challenges.  Mark brings insight, intelligence and a warm sense of humour, which enables him to work with families and professionals  from all backgrounds.  I highly recommend the contribution that Mark can make".

Nigel Richardson
Director of Children’s Services, Leeds City Council

I have had the pleasure of working with Mark, in different guises and in different places. He is always clear, enthusiastic and skilled at what he does. He is an effective trainer, and he empowers and enables the people he works with to go ahead and make a difference: which is what we all want to do. Mark does it naturally, with charm, wit and sweets. I look forward to the opportunities we get to work together in the future, and I recognise the great work he has done with people from a wide cross-section of agencies, here in Wokingham.

Andy Couldrick
Chief Executive
Wokingham Borough Council

Mark has provided Restorative Practice training and development for the Knowsley Schools’ Restorative Practice Project over the last 2 years.  He has been an integral part of the project from its inception in 2012,  bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to help ensure that the project has had the desired impact on the schools within the project.  Mark has positively engaged with headteachers, teachers and a wide range of school staff from primary, secondary and special schools.  He understands the individuality of schools and their communities and is able to provide programmes of work that are tailored to meet their needs.  As a result, schools have been enthusiastic about the project and the positive impact it has had on children and adults in their communities.  We are now working with Mark to look at how we can extend the reach of the project into more schools  whilst continuing to embed restorative approaches as part of everyday school life.

Alex Roper 
Schools and Educational Attainment Officer – Knowsley

We have been privileged to work with Mark as a whole staff, small groups and individual coaching sessions.  His support, enthusiasm and passion for Restorative Practice is infectious, inspiring and the whole school  - INSET days will never be the same again. 

Mark has held our hand, aswell as raised a needed eyebrow, that has provided just the right mix of high support and high challenge.In 18 months with the support of Mark, we have seen systemic change at all levels within Foundry College, that it now has the potential to deliver a deep and profound impact for young people in Wokingham.

Mary Rome
Headteacher
Foundry College (PRU) 

"Mark is an impressive young man, thoroughly professional and talented in what he does. He is focussed, well organized and efficient, but in ways that allow for spontaneity and flexibility. Mark demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the philosophy and machinery of restorative practices and their relevance to the maintenance of healthy and progressive groups and organisations. He is a skilled project developer and leader and a gifted teacher. He is a trusted colleague and friend."

Mike Doolan
Ex Chief Social Work – New Zealand and now International Trainer and Consultant

"Mark is a skilled restorative trainer and facilitator. His good humoured, down to earth and fun approach to tackling tricky, challenging and complex situations through the application of a restorative model is accessible to many professionals from backgrounds as diverse as community safety, community development, children's services and the voluntary, community & faith sectors.

Mark has provided Wokingham's Family First programme with a training programme that has provided a crucial underpinning to the multi-professional approach to working with some of the most vulnerable families in Wokingham. Mark's flexibility to work with professionals in their settings or organisations and with flexibility and with humility has made a real difference to implementing practice changes in Wokingham.

Wokingham's Family First programme has gone onto be recognised as a national example of best practice - and Mark's input to the training and development of multi-professional staff has been the crucial foundation on which we've built. I can't recommend him highly enough!"

Andrea King
Restorative Practice Lead, Families First Manager – Local version of the National Troubled Families work

"It was great to work with Mark to develop restorative practices in my Early Intervention service. He brought with him a real depth of understanding and experience, and adapted that to fit seamlessly with the development programme I'd designed. He committed himself to our work and to being part of the change team, so he wasn't just a training provider we'd brought in, but an integral part of the leadership of the programme.

Working restoratively isn’t something we switch on and off, or an approach that we apply with some service users some of the time. It’s about how we work with children, with families, with colleagues, with partner organisations. It’s about how we behave in our own lives. Mark’s restorative practice is authentic in the same way. He has been a great support to me and provided challenge too when I needed it. He’s always affable but never a pushover. And working with him is fun!

Although I have moved onto a new role, Mark has remained committed to the programme we embarked on together and it is very successful. I am full of admiration for what the team has achieved and can see the part Mark has played in that success. I’m sure I’ll be working with him again before too long."

Rachael Wardell – Director, Communities Directorate

Mark is a passionate practitioner, engaging trainer and a skilled consultant. His strengths are rooted in the collaborative relationships he builds with project colleagues and clients: leading to innovative, bespoke programmes that impact on practice, and deliver agreed outcomes. 

Paul Carlile, Ex Headteacher and National Schools Consultant 

Mark has provided restorative training courses attended by mixed groups of statutory, voluntary and private sector representatives as part of Northamptonshire's early journey to become a restorative practices county. While ensuring delegates received the required standard of training to deliver to full conferencing level, Mark has
also bespoked training delivery and activities to meet the needs of the diverse range of participants attending each programme. This approach is reflected in both the positive course evaluations and also from
subsequent feedback from participants who had implemented the training in their day to day work environments.

We have also jointly funded with our Youth Offending Service, a course for experienced practitioners to deliver more complex and sensitive restorative justice and a course for managers and supervisors to raise
awareness of their role in supporting practitioners. Again, the feedback from these courses is extremely positive.

Many thanks for helping to create the initial positivity and enthusiasm required to support our journey to become a restorative practices county.

Lynn Chapman
Community Safety Partnership Development Manager for the Office of the Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the Northamptonshire Partnership

"Mark is a highly skilled facilitator who has transformed the ethos and culture of our school by training all our staff and a selection of students in restorative practice.  We have seen a huge demise in conflicts and exclusions as a result of the work Mark has completed with us.  He is extremely knowledgeable and his enthusiasm for RP is infectious.  Our staff thoroughly enjoyed his training which was delivered in a detailed and systematic way that engaged all.  I have worked with Mark for over a year now and he has responded to all enquiries immediately, often suggesting ideas that we had not considered and that have been of great benefit to our students.

I cannot recommend Mark highly in leading training and developing Restorative Practice within any environment."

Mr R Blyth
Assistant Headteacher

“Mark is an inspirational trainer & consultant in Restorative Practices and organisation leadership. Mark has not only inspired those within our organisation, but has supported us through organisation change at the highest standard, show casing innovation, knowledge, and valuable expertise in Restorative Practice & effective leadership. I would highly recommend Mark to any organisation, community, or service looking to develop and excel in their work. Genuine, knowledgeable, personable & a great sense of humour, not many people have an ability to leave a lasting impression & inspired team members!”

Kelly Thompson 
CEO Hullharp Homeless Hostels

"I have worked with Mark for approximately 5 years in a variety of setting both in my current job as Head of Service for looked after Children and in my previous job. In particular I have worked with Mark around developing Restorative Practice in Children's Residential homes and an internal Fostering service. I have also worked closely with Mark around developing Restorative leadership approaches with senior managers in Children's Social Work services.

The input that Mark has provided to me and my teams has been invaluable and has enabled me to proactively manage change within teams that were often resistant to change.

Mark has a delivery style that not only supports participants but challenges them to look at different ways of working his in depth  Knowledge of Restorative Practice is something that is evident from the first time you meet him and he successfully uses this knowledge to engage with staff and leaders from across a range of settings. I have learnt a lot from Mark over the last five years and I have received positive feedback from staff and managers that he has trained and worked with even when we have had to deliverer difficult messages. I have also received external verification about the effectiveness of Mark's work from external inspectors who have positively commended on the changes that have been made to services."

Rob Murray
Head of Service Looked After Children
Leeds City Council

"Mark has been working with Knowsley Council and its partners over the past 12 months leading the implementation of our Restorative Practice Programme. His knowledge of the subject combined with his energetic and enthusiastic personality has inspired and motivated officers from across a wide range of backgrounds and professions. We were embarking on a major change and transformation programme at a time when resources were becoming increasingly scares and therefore which required leadership of the highest quality. Mark has the ability to operate at both a strategic and operational level and his ability to communicate clearly and concisely has enabled him to obtain buy-in from senior managers, elected members and officers. The Restorative Practice Programme has not only changed the way we deliver our services but the way officers now think and behaviour towards each other and their clients/customers."

Ken Harrison
Head of Neighbourhood Co Ordination (Development)
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

"I have completed Restorative Justice Training facilitated by Mark; the training was an excellent source of gaining transferrable skills in the practice of Restorative Justice and Restorative Practice. It included in depth theoretical studies and practical exercises that were transferrable for a range of professions. Mark’s delivery of the training was excellent; he catered for all learning styles and needs. Mark is clearly passionate about the work that he delivers and believes in the ethos behind restorative practice. I have benefitted from Marks professional support in many areas of my career which include mediation, indirect and direct restorative practice. Mark has an ability to look at a situation both in practice and in training with a naturally solution based and restorative based approach. This clearly shows with what he has achieved professionally. Mark’s training and his professional guidance has helped me to achieve the following objectives: revert back to the theories behind what we do such as the social discipline window, there is nearly always an appropriate restorative approach to all situations and that working restoratively will nearly always achieve the best expected outcomes."

Carlie Highton – Rj Co-Ordinator YOT

"I have known Mark for a good number of years now doing restorative and relational learning work in local authorities, schools and a range of other settings. I have seen him wow audiences of a range of backgrounds with his knowledge, skill (and style) and be  inspired by his vision of what can be achieved. But the big win comes when people realise quite how much good effective practice backs up his vision and you can see even some of natures sceptics thinking their way into 'oh this might be a good thing'.

When Mark joined RJC as a Trustee it was clear he could both keep our feet on the restorative ground - and also help open doors into children's services thinking .Personally I have also valued enormously the times when Mark has worked with me on particular knotty problems and helped me think through and manage to get to good outcomes.  Just beware the sense of humour, in scouse."

Graham Robb – Ex Chair of the Youth Justice Board and Chair of the Restorative Justice Council

I attended a 3 day restorative practice training course facilitated by Mark Finnis which was really well structured, well resourced, very informative and it provided me with the skills and abilities I needed to become a restorative practice practitioner. The course also provided me with opportunities to develop new professional partnerships and increase my access to potential future case conference opportunities in other professional settings. I would highly recommend Mark Finnis's training courses and resources. 

Helen Marie Boardman
Director for the Office of Faith Based Community Initiatives 

"Mark was invited by the Children Acts Advisory Board (CAAB) to come to Ireland to introduce Restorative Practices (RP) to a group of policy makers, managers and practitioners working in children’s services across the child protection, justice, education and community sectors. Mark’s belief and passion in this model of working was very evident. His enthusiastic, focused and humorous approach ensured the full engagement of his audience. His ability to present, in a short timeframe, the benefit of RP for each of the professionals in the room is what secured a commitment from many to follow through and introduce restorative practices into their service.

Mark was also generous enough to arrange a tour for a group of us, to visit Hull City. He put a lot of time and effort into ensuring we had the opportunity to meet with many professionals across the City, to hear a variety of information and experiences of RP and to present how he had successfully approached his work in Hull. His advice was invaluable."

Marion Martin

Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs, Ireland

"Over a period of approximately four years during which time I managed the largest Neighbourhood Policing Team in the Humberside Police area I frequently had cause to work alongside or in conjunction with Mark Finnis whilst he was working for the Hull Centre for Restorative Practices.  This working relationship was without exception a positive and extremely productive experience.

During this period Humberside Police was in the process of trying to embed restorative principles within the fabric of its community policing structures and Mark's experience in this field, combined with his pragmatism and professionalism made him a terrific ally.  Whether training our staff or giving invaluable advice on how to tackle challenging operational issues using RP, Mark was always both reliable and good humoured regardless of the challenges faced.  I would not hesitate to recommend him."

Lee Edwards – Inspector 5645 – Humberside Police

"In my experience Mark is a lively and engaging trainer with a passion for his subject that is infectious.  He supported my learning process with plenty of real world examples, which I found very helpful. As a mentor, he is generous with his time and experience. He doesn't just talk about Restorative Practice, he lives it."

Jayne Seaman – Senior Drugs/alcohol worker

I have worked with Mark for just over a year now, implementing and developing restorative practice within my school.  Mark is incredibly knowledgeable, supportive and experienced and as a result of this, he is able to create bespoke plans and training to suit the needs of your school. He takes an active role when training, from delivering INSET days to all staff, working with focus groups of staff and children or delivering parent’s meetings to raise awareness of Restorative Practice- whatever you may need!  As lead practitioner of the project, I have found that he is always available by phone or email to offer advice or act as a sounding board about how to further develop RP within schools. I have thoroughly enjoyed working collaboratively with Mark and am looking forward to continuing on our restorative journey.

Lyndsey King – Leader – Primary School

“Mark delivered high qualty training in restorative practices to all teaching and support staff. He has since continued to support us in further embedding RP across the school and in helping us to keep it at the heart of our ethos and provision. He delivers with knowledge, passion and belief and this enthusiasm is transmitted to everyone he works with. He is very personable, has a good sense of humour and in spite of his "scouser" accent he is very easy to understand and listen to!”

Elaine Butler - Headteacher

“I have been trained in Restorative Practice by Mark, his delivery and presentation skills are personable and well researched. It is clear Mark has a personal passion for his work and his enthusiasm is infectous. 
Mark has also assisted me in other areas of work where he has shown his professionalism and motivation to do a job well. Mark is trustworthy and reliable as a colleague and trainer.”

Julie Glover – YOT Manager

“I am not at all surprised that I am just one of many people to recommend Mark Finnis. His enthusiasm and passion for his craft, which is restorative practice, is both contagious and inspirational. If you are not aware of the work of Mark and his colleagues in Hull, then you should make it your business to find out. I look forward to any and every opportunity to collaborate with him. 

”

Gregor Rae 
Chairman and CEO 
BusinessLab

“Mark has played a major role in assisting us in introducing Restorative Practice in to North Yorkshire, specifically in to our services to Looked After Children, from planning how it could be done, delivering exceptional quality training and creating a plan for developing and maintaining RP as an organic part of the culture in this Authority. Mark continues to be our first choice of support and provider in this work.”

Deborah Sandles – Children’s Home manager

“Mark is a enthusiastic advocate for restorative approaches - a highly skilled facilitator himself and a superb trainer , who models restorative values and principles in his training and in his day-to-day engagement with people. 
In recent years he has also become experienced in managing the strategic implementation of a restorative approach not only in schools and single agencies, but across agencies. 
He is an inspiring keynote speaker who combines expertise and experience with a dry sense of humour - his presentations are memorable and enjoyable - but also challenging.”

Dr Belinda Hopkins – Transforming Conflict

“Mark worked with us to introduce the concept of Restorative Practices to a multi-disciplinary and sometimes sceptical audience. The authority and passion of his presentations and his engaging style were highly effective in informing participants and bringing them on board.”

Aiden Browne – CEO CAAB – Ireland