Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards - DOLS - in conjunction with the Mental Capacity Act 2005 were introduced in 2009 to provide legal protection for vulnerable people who are or may become deprived of their liberty in their best interests.

The safeguards apply to people aged 18 or over in hospitals and care homes throughout England and Wales who have a mental disorder and lack capacity to consent to care or treatment. Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards does not apply to people who are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Previously there were a lot of criteria to consider when applying for DOLS. On the 19th March 2014 the Supreme Court made a significant judgement (also known as the Cheshire West judgement) which identified what a deprivation of liberty is. This is the acid test:

  • Does the person lack capacity to consent to their care and treatment?

Please note: the decision has to specifically relate to care and treatment at the placement.

  • Is the person free to leave?

Please note: this does not include leaving the property with staff accompanying them – if the person would be prevented from leaving the building, or escorted by a member of staff then they are not free to leave.

  • Is the person under continuous supervision and control?

Please note: this can be anything from 1:1 staff for significant periods, from staff always knowing where the person is, from staff needing to provide a lot of care interventions throughout the day and night, from staff making all decisions on behalf of the person regarding their day to day life.

Hospitals and care homes (the Managing Authority) have a duty to identify anyone who could be at risk of a deprivation of liberty. In Derby the hospital manager or registered manager of the care home will need to request an authorisation from Derby City Council (the Supervisory Body) and notify the person or their family members of the request before it is made.

Derby City Council will arrange for a best interest assessment to take place once the paperwork has been submitted correctly.

For more information please visit the appropriate page below: