In 2014, the Home Secretary Theresa May MP commissioned research on the issue of provision of AAs adults.
The commission was led by NAAN and supported by an advisory board including Lord Bradley and representatives from ADASS, NHS England, NPCC, PCCs, HMIC and the Care not Custody Coalition.
The resulting report, There to Help (2015) found: -
- challenges in identifying adults for whom an AA was required, leading to significant under-identification of need;
- limited availability of appropriate adults for adults in many areas;
- variable quality of appropriate adults.
The report provided ten recommendations, including support for local co-commissioning.
Following the There to Help report, the Home Office established a working group involving many of the same key agencies to "develop and implement solutions to ensure that mentally vulnerable adults in police custody are correctly identified and have their rights and entitlements safeguarded by way of an appropriate adult".
This has produced:
- Proposed changes to PACE Codes, including a more detailed definition of the AA role
- A voluntary strategic local partnership agreement to be adopted by directors of adult social care and police and crime commissioners
The partnership agreement
The Home Office intends that the partnership agreement will support the development of local partnerships where there are issues with AA provision.
Minister of State for Policing Nick Hurd MP wrote to all PCCs in September 2017, highlighting this approach which places local authorities in the lead.
The partnership is currently in draft form and has not been published.
This online guidance has been produced by NAAN to provide practical support to local partnerships wishing to develop effective AA schemes. It has been developed alongside the Home Office's partnership agreement and in support of efforts to ensure that effective AAs are provided to every adult for whem they are required.
However, this guidance is open to use by all areas, not just those adoping the partnership agreement. Furthermore, it covers both adults, children's and combined AA services.