Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

1. Overview

The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoL) provides protection for vulnerable people who are accommodated in hospitals or care homes. This is for circumstances that amount to a deprivation of their liberty and who lack the capacity to consent to the care or treatment they need.

The DoL Safeguards were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 by the Mental Health Act 2007. They came into force in April 2009. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Code of Practice supplements the main Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice.

A deprivation of liberty should:

  • be avoided wherever possible
  • only be authorised in cases where it's in the person’s best interests and the only way to keep them safe
  • be for as short a time as possible
  • be only for a particular treatment plan or course of action

Stockport Council is the Supervisory Body for all requests for assessment of a Deprivation of Liberty. Care Homes, Care Homes with Nursing, Independent Hospitals and Acute Hospitals are defined as Managing Authorities under DOLS. Managing Authorities must make a referral to the Supervisory Body in order to lawfully deprive someone of their liberty.

A judgement from the Supreme Court in March 2014 has revised the test for a Deprivation of Liberty. Please read the Department of Health Guidance issued on the 28th March 2014 for more details.

Please note that the forms and process for a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard remains unchanged following this Supreme Court judgement. However, if you need advice, get in touch with the Stockport Safeguarding Adults and Mental Capacity Act Service (Incorporating the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards). For contact details, view our Raising concerns about DoLS page.

Download the information for managers of care homes in Stockport (PDF 301Kb). It outlines their responsibilities in light of the new Supreme Court Judgment March 2014.