Background

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. 

"Appropriate Adults provide vital support and help to de-mystify what can be an intimidating and threatening experience. It is right that all vulnerable people can access this invaluable service. [The report will] examine this situation and help us determine where the problems lie, and what can be done to ensure that that all vulnerable adults in police custody are able to receive the support they need from Appropriate Adults".
Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP (2014)
on Wednesday December 13 by Chris Bath
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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
"Evidence suggests there is a lack of appropriate adults to safeguard the welfare and rights of mentally vulnerable adults in police custody. That is why I commissioned this review to determine where the problems lie. The status quo is not acceptable and I am concerned that vulnerable adults are not always receiving the support of an appropriate adult. We are currently examining the recommendations and implementation options to ensure that vulnerable people are provided with the support they are entitled to".
Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP (2015)

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 guidance

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. 

on Monday December 11 by Chris Bath
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