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Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards

For the DOLS Forms please click here.

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.

There is no set definition for what constitutes a deprivation of liberty. In each case, the following factors would need to be considered:

  • Was restraint (including sedation) used to admit the person to an institution?
  • What level of control do staff exercise over the care and movement of a person?
  • What level of support does the person need from staff?
  • Has a decision been made to not allow the person into the care of others or to live elsewhere?
  • Have carers / next of kin requested for the person to be discharged into their care and this request has been rejected?
  • Is the person able to have access to their friends / family / carers?
  • Is the person under continuous supervision from staff?

Hospitals and care homes (the Managing Authority) have a duty to identify anyone who could be at risk of a deprivation of liberty. In Oxfordshire, the organisation depriving someone of their liberty will need to request an authorisation from Oxfordshire County Council (the Supervisory Body).

Forms should be returned to the DOLS Team at DOLS@Oxfordshire.gov.uk. If you need further advice or for a discussion of case please contact the DoLS Team on 01865 328064.

The Local Government Association has added new resources to its webpages on Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards.

New resources include:

  • a leaflet entitled ‘Your Rights’ for those who are deprived of their liberty,
  • an MCA self-assessment tool that can be used across a range of organisations to assess a service, to identify and promote good practice and to highlight areas for further development.
  • a toolkit focussed on promoting less restrictive practice as required by the MCA.

To view the resources, please visit this page: www.local.gov.uk/adult-social-care/-/journal_content/56/10180/7395321/ARTICLE