It is important that developers are familiar with the legal framework relating to AAs. Misunderstandings about the statutory duties of potential partners in relation to AAs are common and do not make for good partnership working. Some duties are laid out explicitly in statute, while some are in statutory codes of practice. AAs can support the delivery of statutory duties that don’t explicitly mention them. Legal duties differ significantly in relation to AAs for children versus adults.
It is a statutory requirement that local authorities act, in cooperation with police, PCCs, probation and clinical commissioning groups in their area, to secure the availability of youth justice services, including the provision of appropriate adults.
In most areas the framework for this collaboration is the local authority led youth offending team. In some areas, the provision of youth justice services is integrated into mainstream local authority social care / youth services.
The key potential partner agencies are:
- Local authority social care
- Clinical commissioning groups
- Police and crime commissioners
- Police forces
There is no explicit statutory duty in relation to AA provision for adults. However, there are a number of statutory frameworks that could support the development of local partnerships.
Health and Wellbeing Boards are well-placed to assess the local need for, and support the inclusion of, AA provision in local commissioning plans. AA provision should be integrated with the preparation of the local Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy. This would help ensure the sustainability of AA services at a local level. Police are not statutory partners of these boards but may be invited.
Safeguarding Adults Boards are statutory bodies bringing together local authorities, health and police to help and protect adults where there is reasonable cause to suspect they have needs for care and support and are at risk of abuse or neglect. They share their annual strategies and reports (which are drawn from those of their constituent agencies) with Health and Wellbeing Boards. Safeguarding Adults Boards could provide a framework for local AA partnerships.
Community Safety Partnerships include local authorities, police and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) as statutory partners. A local authority must have due regard to the need to, and do all it can to, prevent crime and disorder, re-offending and the misuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances. All policies, strategies, plans and budgets must therefore be considered with the potential contribution to the above.
The Transforming Care programme, which arose out of the abuse at Winterbourne View hospital, has been committed to by a wide range of partners including police, adult social services and health. The Transforming Care and Commissioning Steering Group has recognised how ‘fundamentally important’ the concerns set out in the Bradley Report are to its agenda and encouraged the Government to respond to the recommendations in the recent report ‘The Bradley Report five years on’ which included the need for improvements in adult AA provision and clarity on their funding. Transforming Care Partnerships (TCPs) are made up of clinical commissioning groups, NHS England’s specialised commissioners and local authorities. They work with people with a learning disability, autism or both and their families and carers to agree and deliver local plans for the programme.
In England there are 48 TCPs who are changing services in a way that is making a real difference to the lives of local people. This includes making community services better
Whole Place Community Budgets seek to offer a locally-devolved, person-centred approach to public services. This approach identifies fragmented, reactive and acute services; focuses on outcomes over organisational responsibilities; is user focused; and pools or aligns resources to maximise both available funds and provision. The approach relies on access to funding for the up-front costs of transformation but not more money overall. A relevant example is the Better Care Fund which has made £3.8 billion available to be deployed locally on health and social care through pooled budget arrangements.