Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Pages in Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

  1. Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)
  2. What is Deprivation of Liberty?
  1. Information for families, friends and unpaid carers
  2. Information for Managing Authorities

An outline of the Safeguards

What are the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)?

People who lack capacity in hospitals and care homes are now protected by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards introduced as an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. A care home or hospital (known as a 'Managing Authority') must apply for permission to the local authority (known as a 'Supervisory Body') if they need to deprive someone of their liberty for their own safety or well-being.

Who will be protected by DoLS?

The DoLS apply to people who are 18 years of age or over in hospitals and care homes who meet all of the following criteria. The person concerned (known as a 'relevant person') must:

  • Have a mental disorder or disability of mind such as dementia or a learning disability
  • Lack the capacity to consent to the arrangements being made for their care or treatment
  • Need to receive care or treatment in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of liberty

A large number of these people will be those with significant learning disabilities, or older people who have dementia or some similar disability, but they can also include those who have certain other neurological conditions (for example as a result of a brain injury).

How will the safeguards provide protection?

The safeguards only make it lawful for a person to be deprived of their liberty, based on a rigorous, standardised assessment and authorisation process. It gives people the right to challenge any decision to deprive them of liberty, a representative to act for them and protect their interests and the right to have their status reviewed and monitored on a regular basis.

How does the DoLS process work?

If a hospital or care home feels that they need to deprive someone of their liberty to keep them safe from harm, they must apply for permission to the relevant 'Supervisory Body' (in Coventry this is Coventry City Council). This triggers a series of six assessments carried out by trained assessors.

The following will be assessed: 

  • The deprivation of liberty is in the person's best interests to protect them from harm and is a reasonable response to the likelihood of the person suffering harm and the likely seriousness of that harm.
  • The person must be over 18 years of age
  • The person must have a mental disorder or disability of mind
  • The person must not be detained as a hospital in-patient under the Mental Health Act or the proposed authorisation must not be inconsistent with an obligation placed on them under the Mental Health Act
  • The person must lack the capacity to consent to their own care or treatment
  • The authorisation must not conflict with an advance decision made by the person; or valid decision made on the person's behalf by a donee of a Lasting Power of Attorney or a deputy appointed for the person by the court. 

Only if all these criteria are met will an authorisation be granted. At any stage, the person or their representative will be able to appeal against their deprivation of liberty to the Court of Protection.  In an emergency, the hospital or care home can issue an urgent authorisation, for seven days, which speeds up the normal process of authorisation.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 024 7697 8910

Coventry City Council
Council House
Earl Street
Coventry
CV1 5RR

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