Overview of responses
- The majority of respondents agreed with the proposals in relation to the delivery, training, quality assessment and oversight of the statutory service.
- There was an emphasis on the need for the service to be centred on the requirements of those accessing the service and ensure that they are represented in terms of the development and oversight of the service.
- Insufficient funding was identified as a key risk for all aspects of the statutory service.
- A number of respondents called for further work to be undertaken to improve communication support for vulnerable people throughout the criminal justice system, not just in terms of contact with the police.
- The majority of respondents agreed with the definition of who should get support from an Appropriate Adult and the definition of what that support should be.
- Some respondents were concerned that the definition of a “vulnerable person” as laid out in the 2016 Act could exclude people who require Appropriate Adult support from getting it, either through differing interpretations of the definition or through potential future changes to the definition of “mental disorder” in the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Scotland Act 2003.
- There was comprehensive agreement that vulnerable victims and witnesses should get Appropriate Adult support as part of the statutory service, though two justice sector organisations felt there were some evidential and procedural issues which need to be considered in relation to this.
- Some respondents felt that further detail and clarification was required in relation to the definition of Appropriate Adult support to ensure that there is a consistent and unambiguous approach taken across the country.
- The majority of respondents agreed that the duty to deliver the service should be placed on local authorities, though a number of respondents highlighted the need for additional funding to ensure that the duty is met, and a number of respondents felt that this funding should be “ring-fenced”.
- The majority of respondents also agreed with the proposal to keep the legislation at high level with more detailed guidance sitting underneath in order to create a level of consistency but also to allow flexibility for different areas to develop services tailored to local requirements.
- The majority of respondents agreed that the duty to deliver training to Appropriate Adults should be placed on local authorities, but that that there should be input from the justice, health and third sectors, as well as those with lived experience.
- As with the duty for delivery, a number of respondents felt that a balance should be struck between consistency across the country and a level of flexibility that will allow each area to tailor training to local requirements.
- There was agreement that a training framework should be developed, and some respondents felt that formal assessments, accreditation and continuous professional development should form part of Appropriate Adult training.
- The majority of respondents agreed with the proposal to place a duty on the Care Inspectorate to carry out a quality assessment role.
- A number of respondents felt that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Constabulary (HMICS) should also be involved in quality assessment alongside the Care Inspectorate.
- Some respondents questioned if there should be a greater emphasis on inspections than suggested in the consultation document, while others cautioned against adding another type of inspection to those which are currently undertaken in respect of local authorities’ statutory duties.
- The importance of involving those with lived experience as part of the quality assessment function was highlighted and there was a consensus that a variety of methods in gathering feedback from those accessing the service will be required.
- Some respondents were concerned that identifying the most appropriate time to engage with individuals accessing the service, as well as data protection/confidentiality restrictions, could impact on the ability to obtain meaningful feedback.
- Most respondents agreed with the proposal to place a duty on the Mental Welfare Commission to have oversight of Appropriate Adult services across the country.
- A number of respondents, including the Mental Welfare Commission, sought further clarification about this role, in terms of its functions, how it would sit alongside the quality assessment and training functions and about how the Scottish Appropriate Adult Network (SAAN) would tie in with it.
- The question of funding and resources was raised in relation to the Mental Welfare Commission’s ability to undertake the role by some respondents.
Email: Lucy Lawson