Latest statistics on use of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards in England are published
The latest figures on applications to legally deprive a person of their liberty, where that person lacks the mental capacity to consent to their care or treatment, have been published by NHS Digital today.
NHS Digital must be credited as the source of these figures. Regional data is available in this report.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is a legal procedure when an adult who lacks mental capacity to consent to their care or treatment is deprived of their liberty1 in a care home or hospital, in order to keep them safe from harm. In England, all deprivations of liberty that take place in a care home or hospital must be independently assessed and authorised by a local authority2 to ensure they are in the person’s best interests.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, England, 2020-21 report provides information on applications for DoLS3, including:
- How many applications were received and completed by local authorities
- The time taken to process DoLS applications
- Reasons for applications not being granted
The report also contains information on the demographic profile of people for whom a DoLS application was made, as well as both the planned and actual duration of authorisations granted by local authorities.
During the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic period, which this publication covers, some aspects of the DoLS process have changed due to new Government guidance. This includes greater use of remote assessments and shortened forms. The impact of coronavirus on DoLS has not explicitly been measured, but these changes may be reflected in the data.
NHS Digital’s Chief Statistician Chris Roebuck said:
“This publication provides useful insight into Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, which apply an important legal process to protect vulnerable people.
“The report shows detailed information on the use of this framework, while data broken down to local authority level can be easily accessed through our interactive Adult Social Care Analytical Hub.”
Further, more detailed, analysis of any aspect of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards data is available at local, regional and national levels on request.
Read the full report
For an interactive dashboard visualisation of the data, visit our Adult Social Care Analytical Hub
Notes for editors
- A Supreme Court judgment of 19 March 2014 in the case of Cheshire West clarified an “acid test” for what constitutes a “deprivation of liberty”. It states that an individual is deprived of their liberty for the purposes of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights if they:
- lack the capacity to consent to their care / treatment arrangements; are under continuous supervision and control; are not free to leave.
- All three elements must be present for the acid test to be met.
- Where the local authorities are councils with adult social services responsibility (CASSRs)
- England-level statistics for 2020-21 have been estimated as one local authority was unable to provide data.
- The DoLS system is due to be replaced with a new scheme, Liberty Protection Safeguards, from April 2022. More information can be found here
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