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Spring 2018 | Will changes to the DOLS regime finally be put into place?

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)

The DOLS scheme, launched back in 2007 (as an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005), aimed to provide a framework under which the detention of an adult in a care home or hospital, who lacked mental
capacity to consent to such a detention, would have to be authorised by a supervisory body.

The scheme provides checks and balances against such adults being placed in a care home and effectively forgotten, and gives individuals or their representatives a clear legal route to challenge such decisions. However, from the outset there were concerns that the DOLS scheme was too complex and unwieldly and this, coupled with a massive increase in the number of DOLS applications since the Cheshire West case, has created a backlog and a huge financial strain on local authorities. The Law Commission’s review proposed a simpler system whilst still protecting vulnerable individuals. Published last March, their report set out a more straightforward system of Liberty Protection Safeguards.

The Government provided an interim response in October 2017 and an announcement on whether - and how - the Government intends to implement the recommendations is due in Spring, but there are two possible spanners in the works which mean that any announcement may be delayed yet again; the review of the Mental Health Act 1983 and (sorry to mention this…) Brexit.

Autumn 2018 | A modern Mental Health Act?

The Autumn should see the publication of recommendations coming from the review of the Mental Health Act 1983. With rising detentions under the Act, and those from Black and Minority Ethnic groups being disproportionately detained, the review will present recommendations (developed in conjunction with service users and carers) on how to deliver a Mental Health Act fit for purpose.


For more information, please contact Debbie Anderson, Head of our Health and Community Care Team on 01926 491181 or email:




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