National Standards

2018 standards1

NAAN National Standards (2018)

The national standards for the development and provision of appropriate adult schemes in England and Wales. Developed by the National Appropriate Adult Network and approved by:

2018 standards logos


Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the key things you might want to know about the revised standards. Use the button above to download the standards for more detailed information.

What is the purpose of the standards?

The standards aim to support everyone who has a role in ensuring effective, organised appropriate adult (AA) provision. They provide clear benchmarks against which funders, commissioners, managers, coordinators, appropriate adults and monitors can assess current arrangements and develop plans.

What is the status of the standards?

Whilst the standards are non-statutory, they have been developed in consultation with the Home Office and approved by the Youth Justice Board, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. Strategic standard 14 of the National Standards for Youth Justice Services require provision of appropriate adults to be in line with NAAN standards.

How were the standards developed?

The national standards are developed and published by the charity The National Appropriate Adult Network (NAAN) which is funded by its membership and via a grant from the Home Office. The 2018 revisions involved a wide consultation both within the NAAN membership and with other interested parties (e.g.policing, social care, youth justice, health, legal, academic, service users).

This is the fourth version of the national standards which were first published in 2005. In this substantially revised version, the standards draw together various sources, including legislation, case law, codes of practice, research, inspectorate reports and operational guidance. The revised standards are based on five principles:

  1. Focused on outcomes
  2. Taking a 'whole systems' approach
  3. Evidence based
  4. Aiming for quality
  5. Relevant to the frontline
  6. Supporting accountability

Which sections are relevant for me?

There are now six sections to the standards:

  1. Scheme development
  2. Recruitment and selection
  3. Initial training
  4. Managing, supporting and developing AAs
  5. Service provision
  6. Effective practice

Depending on your reasons for using the standards, different sections will be relevant. For example:

  • Appropriate adult practitioners may wish to focus on section six
  • Strategic leaders may focus on section one
  • AA scheme coordinators will likely find all sections relevant.

How can local provision, development or commissioning be assessed against the standards?

All organisations that hold NAAN membership, whether they are provide or commission, have access to a National Standards Self Assessment Tool (NSSAT).

NSSAT provides a simple, standardised and effective way to assess, monitor and communicate the extent to which appropriate adult (AA) provision meets the standards. It includes all the standards and indicators and provides examples of the kind of evidence that might demonstrate that they are being met. It can be used not only as a one-off assessment tool but as a framework for regular assessment and continual development. Completing the NSSAT process helps you to work collaboratively to understand whether your AA arrangements are functioning effectively, identify areas for development and make continual improvements.

Where can I find a copy of the previous National Standards?

If you'd like to compare how the standards of changed, the National Standards 2013 are still available via the Downloads button above. 


In order to support the national standards in relation to effective practice, NAAN provides access to OFQUAL accredited qualifications for appropriate adults

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