Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) provide additional protection for adults living in care homes or in hospitals who do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves about their care or treatment and are not safeguarded by the Mental Health Act or the Court of Protection.

Sometimes we have to place restrictions on people for their own safety. There are different levels of restriction ranging for example, from a locked door to physical restraint. At some point the degree and intensity of these restrictions become what is legally known as a deprivation of liberty.

Therefore, when a person needs to be deprived of their liberty there must be safeguards in place that will ensure that:

  • it is in the person’s best interests
  • they have representatives and rights of appeal
  • the deprivation of liberty is regularly reviewed and monitored.

There is a legal requirement under DoLS for the managing authority (the care home or hospital) to apply to the supervisory body, which is Slough Borough Council, for a person to be assessed where they believe that they need to be deprived of their liberty for a course of treatment or to prevent them from harm.

The supervisory body arranges for a team of assessors to complete six separate assessments to ensure it is in the person’s best interests.

Only if all six assessments agree will deprivation of liberty be granted and even then only for the minimum time limit necessary (DoLS cannot be authorised for longer than 12 months).

If the authorisation is declined the managing authority must find alternative, less restrictive ways, to carry out the treatment or care.