Responsibility Pie Chart
The Responsibility Pie Chart (RPC) is a tool taken from the Bounce Back
programme to encourage young people (particularly children) to understand that
all negative situations can be said to occur as a result of the combination of three
Their own actions: How much did their own behaviour contribute to the
The action of others: How much did the behaviour of others contribute to
the situation (others)?
Random unpredictable factors: How much did bad luck or circumstances
(e.g. weather, timing, coincidences, lack of knowledge, illness) contribute
to the situation (bad luck)?
How the RPC works
Following an incident a young person thinks through what happened and then
allocates responsibility in terms of percentages. We have created a moveable
RPC but you don’t need to be limited to this method. When discussing the issue
with older children it might be more appropriate to use a pie chart in an Excel
spreadsheet. With younger children you could use Lego bricks to attribute the
percentages or ask them to draw a circle to represent the RPC. No matter what
method used, young people are required to allocate a percentage of
responsibility to ‘me’, ‘others’ and ‘bad luck’ and this forms the basis of
discussion and resolution of the incident.
Specific advice on using the RPC
The point of the exercise is to get young people to think about responsibility and
allocate percentages to themselves, bad luck and others.
Using the moveable device: If you are using the moveable device the Centre has
created then the allocation of percentages is constrained by the device itself.
Each section represents 20 per cent. If you look at it you will see the bottom base
is red and contains 5 segments for 'bad luck'. There are three moveable purple
sections for 'others' and three green sections for 'me. This means that the way
the RPC has been constructed effects the choices the pupil has. We have
deliberately put it together so that the young person has to accept at least 20 per
cent of responsibility as one green section will always show. This is because it is
best to start with the assumption that they also have some responsibility for what
happened. If a pupil wanted to take 100 per cent responsibility then the RPC
device may be redundant. If they only become aware of their complete
responsibility when using the device they can always cover up all the other
segments with their hand so that only green is visible. The important point to
grasp here is that, depending on the situation, you may have to work round any
constraints due to the way the device has been made.
Using Excel or Lego bricks: If you are using a method where there are no built in
constraints please bear in mind that it is generally a good idea to suggest that a
pupil assigns at least 20 per cent of responsibility for the incident to him/herself.
Obviously you can use your own judgement and not use this rule in cases where
the young person was obviously not responsible and she/he is being asked to
participate because of the involvement of other people.
It is useful when discussing responsibility with young people to try and avoid the
words ‘blame’ and ‘fault’ and use the following terms instead:
How much was … responsible for what happened?
How much was what happened due to …?
How much did this happen because of …?
How much does … explain what happened?
Who should use it?
Playground buddies or prefects, auxiliary support staff with special responsibility
for monitoring behaviour or teachers and senior staff can use the RPC. It is the
basis for agreeing what happened and when it works well young people are less
likely to adopt an ‘I blame everyone else’ attitude. At its best, it allows young
people to move on from incidents and often there is no further need for