Volunteer vs Professional

Professional:- a person working for payment; someone highly skilled
Volunteer:- a person working without payment; can also be highly skilled

Although many volunteer organizations provide a valuable service, we believe that using a service that employs professional appropriate adults, as opposed to using volunteers has a number of benefits. These include:-

1) The lay volunteer that does not work through a registered organization or service has no culpability. Should there be a dispute about the interviewing techniques used, and it is discovered that the appropriate adult has not conducted their duties correctly, there will be no come back on the volunteer. The blame will lie with the body that asked this volunteer to attend as an appropriate adult.

The Appropriate Adult Service has £10 million public liability insurance; £10 million employers liability insurance; £5 million professional indemnity as well as £2 million directors and officers liability insurance. If the above situation arose and the appropriate adult had been provided by The Appropriate Adult Service, then any blame would rest with us. We are professionals and therefore have a duty of care to ensure that all duties are carried out to a very high standard.

2) There is no system of checks in place that will ensure that a lay volunteer, whose services have not been commissioned through a reputable organization, has been vetted through the Criminal Records Bureau. This results in the already vulnerable person, potentially being exposed to more risks.

All The Appropriate Adult Service employees have been checked by the CRB as a minimum requirement. We are one of the few organizations who provide Appropriate Adult Services who apply for Enhanced Disclosures. The majority of other schemes only use Standard Disclosures.

3) Lay volunteers, who are not commissioned through a reputable service, do not undergo continued training to ensure that they are up to date with all current legislation. There is no way of ensuring that a volunteer will have knowledge of PACE regulations, or have the confidence to intervene if the interviewer starts to bully or harass the interviewee.

The Appropriate Adult Service has a continued and committed training programme, which all employees undertake. All employees come from a sound educational background, as well as having extensive experience in police interviewing techniques, and the roles and duties of an appropriate adult.

4) There is no guarantee that a lay volunteer, or organization providing lay volunteers will be able to provide some one to attend the police station.

The Appropriate Adult Service guarantees to meet every request. We can even offer penalty clauses, by way of discounts if we do not respond within an agreed time.

5) Often with a voluntary scheme the police and / or Social Services are provided with a rota dictating which staff are on call. This can mean that only one person is on call at any one time. The person requiring the Appropriate Adult then has to call the numbers on the rota, in order to find an Appropriate Adult. This can sometimes be both time consuming and frustrating, and again cause further delays.

By using The Appropriate Adult Service the police or social worker only ever has one number to ring. All referrals are made through this number, and the person taking the referral is charged with the task of locating and dispatching the Appropriate Adult. The Appropriate Adult Service ensures that we have at least three people per station on call at anyone time. One phone call ensures that the referral process is as easy as possible, and that the minimum amount of time is wasted.

6) With an annual fixed price scheme, the service is paid for regardless of the level of cover you receive. The price for the contract will be agreed and possibly paid for in advance. In practice this means that even if as many as 50% of the referrals are not met, there is little the purchaser can do as the service has already been paid for, and money will not be refunded.

There is no chance of this happening with a "pay as you go" scheme as there is never a charge unless the appropriate adult request is honoured. Since 2001, The Appropriate Adult Service has a 99% attendance record, 95% of these are made within an hour of the initial request.

7) The Appropriate Adult Service encourages involvement and feedback from service users. It is usually the police officers and custody sergeants that have a real insight into the way in which the service works. They know how long it really takes to get an Appropriate Adult to attend, and not merely how long the service provider claims it takes. They can also give a real indication as to the professionalism of the Appropriate Adults whilst on duty.

The Appropriate Adult Service can insert a feedback form into the referral form, for the custody sgt to complete and send back directly to the YOT or Adult Services Team, ensuring that all feedback, good bad or indifferent is known to the purchasers, and not only the things we want you to hear!!

8) Because we do not insist on a member of our staff being placed within the purchasing organisation, those who use the service get a real idea about how the service operates, and how easy it makes their jobs!!! If there is a member of The Appropriate Adult Service staff within the purchasing authority co-ordinating the service there is a chance that bad feedback or failures in the service could be hidden, and the purchasers would remain unaware that the service they are paying for is not delivering what it promises.

We have a duty of care to ensure that all duties are carried out to a very high standard.



All The Appropriate Adult Service employees have been checked by the CRB.



The Appropriate Adult Service ensures that we have at least three people per police station on call at anyone time.