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Another delay to the Liberty Protection Safeguards

The government has announced a further delay to the long-awaited implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS). This announcement was included as part of the government’s wider reform on adult social care reform.

A copy of their publication can be found here: Next steps to put People at the Heart of Care.    

In a Department of Health and Social Care newsletter dated 5 April 2023, it said: “The Government has taken the difficult decision to delay the implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards beyond the life of this Parliament. This was one of a number of decisions taken as part of prioritising work on social care”.

What are the DoLS?

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) ensure people who cannot consent to their care arrangements in a care home or hospital are protected if those arrangements deprive them of their liberty. Arrangements are assessed to check they are necessary, proportionate and, in the person’s best interests. Representation and the right to challenge a deprivation are other safeguards that are part of DoLS.

Having announced the current DOLS regime as not being fit for purpose, this delay is extremely frustrating for lawyers and campaigners who were looking forward to the improved protections and streamlining of processes provided by the LPS.

What are the LPS?

It is proposed that the LPS would replace the DoLS system, the latter being described as ‘not fit for purpose’ One of the main changes under the LPS scheme would mean protection is provided for anyone aged 16 and over who needs to be deprived of their liberty in order to receive their care or treatment and who lacks the mental capacity to consent to their arrangements. The scheme also meant that it would apply to those living in community settings, such a person’s own home, shared lives and supported living accommodation, as well as care homes, nursing homes and hospital settings.

For further information on what changes the LPS will bring and what will remain the same, please click here to read our full article.

What’s next?

It is not anticipated that any decision will be made about the introduction of the LPS until after the next general election due to be held next year.  Whether the LPS is introduced depends on what the incoming Government wants to do after that election.

Regardless of the outcome, it is clear that the current DoLS system will remain in place for some time to come and continue to be used and applied by those working with those that fall under the statutory scheme. It is important that care homes, Integrated Care Boards and health and care providers continue to make applications in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005, to ensure that the rights of the vulnerable who lack capacity are protected. This includes up front planning and consideration of an individual’s capacity,  best interests and whether its necessary and proportionate for that person to be deprived of their liberty.

If you have any concerns or require more information on DoLS or the LPS, please contact our court of protection team on 01926 354704 or email:

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