Staying safe

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

The DoLS are part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. They provide protection for vulnerable people who live in care homes or hospital and their freedom is restricted. Such people lack the mental capacity to consent to the care or treatment they need.

Supreme Court Judgement definition

In  2014 the Supreme Court published a key judgement: “P v Cheshire West & Chester Council” and “P & Q v Surrey County Council”. This judgement provides a definition of what is meant by the term ‘deprivation of liberty’ which is described in the ‘acid test’ below. This test only applies to people who lack capacity to consent to care arrangements. 

For guidance notes for Managing Authorities, download a copy of the Law Society's Deprivation of Liberty: a practical guide.

When do DoLS need to be considered?

DoLS need to be considered when a person is under continuous supervision and control, and not free to leave. This means that a much greater number of clients and patients will now be subject to a deprivation of liberty which will come under the protection of the DoLS procedure.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards previously only applied in hospitals and care homes. However, the criteria that determine what constitutes a deprivation of liberty is now applied in more living arrangements.

For supported living environments, adult placements and small group homes, an application for DoLS has to be made to the Court of Protection.

Applying for a DoLS assessment

To make an application for a DoLS assessment in respect of a person for whom Harrow has responsibility (ie living in the borough, including self-funders, or placed out of the borough but funded by the council or the Clinical Commissioning Group – CCG), please complete and return to us one of the following forms:

Once completed please return the forms to us either via the Safehaven fax machine: 020 8416 8269 or via secure email e.g. CJSM, Egress switch or Cisco to:

Sending confidential information

If you are in doubt about how to send confidential information securely, or need further advice and guidance, please contact our Safeguarding Adults team.