An effective AA service requires effective leadership, co-ordination and administration. The quality of the scheme’s leader, and the amount of time dedicated to the role, will be a defining element of the effectiveness of the scheme.
Scheme leaders drive the improvement of AA provision. They provide the interface with the National Appropriate Adult Network, providing the scheme with access to support and expertise. They are a critical conduit for resources developed and shared at the national level.
The personal relationships between a scheme leader and AAs should not be under-estimated, particularly in relation to volunteers. Effective scheme leaders spend significant amounts of time on building strong relationships with and between teams of AAs. Volunteers often become very loyal to their co-ordinator. Developers seeking to change existing arrangements should bear in mind that the support of existing, experienced AAs may be critical to their success and cannot be taken for granted.
AAs will need to be recruited, not only initially but as vacancies arise and demand shifts. They will require induction training and on-going professional development.
They will face complex cases which require advice, time-consuming ones that require co-ordinated hand-overs, and emotionally draining ones that require support and even counselling.
A scheme leader will be necessary to assist AAs and the police in dealing both with immediate issues and strategic development.
Depending on the model, they may also be available to attend custody where there are unexpected gaps in a rota or extremely complex or high-profile cases.
Scheme leaders can also provide a point of contact for service users, whether it be to clarify information, make a complaint or provide positive feedback.