It is important to establish whether there is already some provision in place as this may have a significant impact on costs and decisions around service design.
When determining need, a full assessment should be made of the extent to which any current provision is meeting that need currently.
Information regarding current provision may be gained from:
- existing providers (there may be several covering different groups or times);
- past providers (there may recently been a scheme that is now defunct);
- HMIC/HMIP inspections of police custody (these usually comment on AA provision though are limited by the fact that AA providers are outside of their scope);
- Independent Custody Visitors reports (ICVs report to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner).
If there is existing provision, options include:
- enhancement of the existing service
- a separate complementary service
- an entirely new replacement service covering all needs.
For example, there may be a successful in-house service but which only operates in office hours and during the week. If this is the case, options would include:
- extending the current schemes operating hours
- a discrete out of hours and weekends service
- or developing a new service to cover all hours.
Before deciding to replace an existing service there should be a full consideration of the risks and whether they can be mitigated. These may include risks associated with: -
- loss of experienced leadership with local links;
- loss of experienced AAs;
- TUPE responsibilities (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006).