Vulnerable adults who are taken into police custody face a postcode lottery around the provision of ‘appropriate adults’ who help safeguard their rights and welfare while detained, a new study has found.
The research set out to understand local authorities’ role in providing appropriate adult (AA) services – which, unlike with children and young people, they have no statutory duty to do so – and to highlight good practice. It was undertaken by the University of Bristol’s School for Policy Studies, with funding from NIHR SSCR.
While it identified inconsistencies in service provision and funding, the study found that good practice was “more evident” in local authority areas where AA services were embedded in, or linked to, adult safeguarding teams.
It also highlighted the need for commissioners to consider the ways they monitor the effectiveness of services, beyond simply making AAs available promptly, and to find means of improving service user involvement.
Tricia Jessiman, who co-authored the study, said: “We found some good examples of local authority adult social care services who commissioned AA services for vulnerable adults in custody, often at very little cost.”
Tricia added: “There is a huge priority placed on getting an AA quickly, and rightly so, but it would also be helpful if commissioners considered other aspects of quality. Increasing the service user voice in the design delivery and monitoring of AA services would likely help with this.”
Find out more here.