The ‘appropriate adult’ is intended to safeguard the interests of the vulnerable suspect. Social workers' performance of this role has received extensive castigation. However, forthcoming changes in social work regulation and possibly training and the introduction of volunteers to the role could be used to improve the protection of vulnerable suspects' rights. This article suggests that whether social workers or volunteers fill the role, they will need to be put through their paces on rigorous training programmes to ensure that vulnerable suspects are protected as envisaged by the PACE Codes of Practice. Whether, however, these opportunities will be seized is yet to be seen. Moreover, further reforms of the appropriate adult system may be required, some of which are considered in this article.