Volunteer appropriate adults are used in many AA schemes for adults in England and Wales, as well as the whole of Northern Ireland.
Volunteers bring community involvement, passion and commitment to the role. The experience and skill level of people attracted as volunteers often far exceeds the market rate usually available for a paid AA. The role often attracts retired professionals and advanced students of related subjects (note: non-local students may only be available in term time and may not remain with the scheme after graduation limiting their ability to develop significant experience).
A paid co-ordinator (and for larger schemes additional paid staff) will be necessary. Volunteering must be managed with skill to avoid the unintended creation of contracts with AAs. The time of volunteers cannot be assumed - they are acting on good will. There will need to be particular investment of time, energy and care in people who volunteer.
Depending on the volume of demand and the approach to recruitment, a relatively large pool of volunteers may be required to ensure a rota is always filled. It will usually be necessary for a paid coordinator, or a sessional worker, to be prepared to cover any gap.
In some areas, volunteer schemes will have to have a very proactive approach to diversity as the pool of volunteers may not automatically be representative of the local community or people served.
Investing in Volunteers (IiV) is the UK quality standard for good practice in volunteer management.
Paying appropriate adults provides an opportunity to have a smaller number of AAs. This may mean that they fulfil the role more regularly, developing expertise and expertise more quickly.
There may also be a lower turnover of staff, though the loss of a single AA may have greater impact on the service. A lower turnover rate means reduced time and money spent on recruitment and initial training.
Scheme leaders may find it easier and less time consuming to manage a small number of people who are under contractual obligations.
It may be easier to achieve diversity by offering paid positions.