Explaining the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
In April 2009, amendments to the legislation covering the support and care of people who lack mental capacity (The Mental Capacity Act 2005) came into force.
These amendments are known as the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (or ‘DOLS’) and introduce new responsibilities and legal duties on registered care homes and hospital in-patient services. DOLS also impose new requirements of local authorities and primary care trusts.
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards concern individuals in hospitals and care homes who may need to be deprived of their liberty in order to protect them from serious harm. DOLS do not apply if a person is detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983. However, they do apply if a person is subject to Section 7 of the Mental Health Act (Guardianship).
The new roles under DOLS - the managing authority
Under DOLS, registered care homes and hospitals are called ‘managing authorities’. Care homes and hospitals have responsibility for preventing unnecessary deprivations of liberty. They must also recognise if a person is deprived of their liberty or if a deprivation of liberty is likely to happen.
Like other health and care providers, care homes also have a responsibility to promote the independence of each person in their care and to support them in their choices.
Care homes will need to provide additional support to residents who lack the mental capacity to make a decision for themselves. Care homes and hospitals are responsible for granting themselves an ‘urgent authorisation’ and applying to the relevant local authority or primary care trust for a ‘standard authorisation’, using the standard forms available from the Department of Health (see below). Alternatively, you can download DOLS forms specifically for care homes managed by Southampton City Council.
How to find out more
Please see the links at the bottom of this webpage. Alternatively, you can download Southampton City Council's guidance brochure for further information. Southampton City Council is operating a process to manage these safeguards from 1 April 2009. All referrals should be made to the DOLS Administrator.
Telephone: 02380 834776
Fax: 02380 772007