The inspection framework for AAs is significantly under-developed.
There is no real accountability mechanism for AAs who act outside of organised schemes. This includes:
- Other family members
- Other supporters known to the individual (e.g. charity project workers)
- Members of the public asked by the police to act as AA
They are not operating on behalf of any organisation and are not being paid for their services. This presents significant risks.
Note: the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice are clear in prioritising parents in the role of AA for children.
Organised AA services for children
Ensuring the provision of AAs for children is a statutory duty of youth offending teams. HMI Probation is responsible for carrying out inspections of YOTs. However, their inspections and subsequent reports do not currently cover AA provision.
Organised AA service for adults
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice prioritise people with relevant skills and experience in the role of AA for adults, and require police to contact an AA. However, there is currently no statutory duty on any authority or agency to ensure provision of AAs for adults.
AA services do not fall within the scope of any existing inspection arrangements.
Inspections of police custody by HMI Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), HMI Prisons (HMIP) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regularly make comments on AA provision. Appropriate adults are mentioend several times in their published inspection criteria, the Expectations for Police Custody. However, it is important to note that these are inspections of the police. It is not currently within their scope to inspect AA services and they do not usually involve communication with AAs or scheme managers. They rely heavily on observations and discussions with police.