Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

1. Deprivation of Liberty and you

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The safeguards aim to make sure that you're looked after in a way that does not inappropriately restrict your freedom (liberty).

DoLS only apply if you're living in a care home or hospital.

A deprivation of liberty occurs if:

  • you need to be supervised and looked after in a way that reduces your freedom to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them
  • you have not freely chosen where you live to receive care, or the type of care that you receive
  • you're receiving care in a hospital or care home, your routine may be decided for you, and you may not be allowed to leave
  • you lack capacity to consent to the above

DoLS assessment

As the Supervisory Body, we'll decide if you need DoLS. We'll arrange for specialist workers to assess your situation. The main assessment will be completed by a Best Interest Assessor (BIA), who will check how you're being treated and cared for. They'll liaise with you and your representative.

The BIA will submit a report to us confirming that the care you need does deprive you of your liberty, but is necessary and in your best interest. It will also state how long the safeguards should be in place.

The report will be shared with you and your representative. On receipt of the report we'll issue the Managing Authority (the care home or hospital), with an authorisation for the safeguards. The report may contain conditions. For example:

  • changes to the way you're cared for
  • that the changes must happen by law

If you or your representatives are unhappy with the assessment or authorisation, you can request a review of the safeguards or make a complaint to us. In addition, you can apply to the Court of Protection at any time during the authorisation period to challenge the decision.


If you have a DoLS Authorisation you must have a representative to look after your interests and check that you're being looked after properly. This could be a relative, family friend or carer. We'll make sure you have one.

If you do not have anyone to take on this role, we'll appoint a paid representative. The paid representative will be a professional who's trained and experienced in DoLS and will act as your representative.

You can also ask for the support of an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA). If you're not able to make certain decisions for yourself, an IMCA can make decisions about where you'll live, or serious medical treatment options. If you would like the support of an IMCA, as well as a representative, contact us to arrange this.

Note: the Care Quality Commission (CQC) may visit you and check your care plan to make sure you're being looked after and protected.