Almost 20,000 DoLS Applications Waiting To Be Signed Off

DoLS Assessment Applications Continue To Rise

05.11.2014

New figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed that 19,400 Deprivation of Liberty applications have not been signed off by the appropriate Regulatory Body or have been withdrawn.

According to the latest government figures, 31,300 applications were made between 1 July and 30 September, a significant increase on the number for the same three month period in 2013-14 - 12,500.

Of the 31,300 application made in the period, 9,400 were granted (30 per cent), 2,400 not granted (8 per cent), but the majority had not yet signed off.

The increase in the number of applications has been brought about by a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, which stated that disabled people have the same rights to "physical liberty" as everyone else, lowering the threshold of deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) under the Mental Capacity Act to cover disabled people living in care homes and hospitals. 

Local councils have previously called for increased assistance from the government to help deal with the increase in applications and to ensure those received are dealt with in an appropriate timeframe.

Expert Opinion
“It was anticipated that the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Cheshire West case would lead to a significant increase in applications for DoLS assessments and was reflected in the latest figures. An increase is to be welcomed, as it means that large numbers of vulnerable adults who were not previously considered to need DoLS authorisations will now have the benefit of regular reviews of their protective care regimes.

“What is concerning is that in many cases the assessment process is not taking place within the required time limits and it is to be hoped that the government will take note and provide the necessary resources to ensure that DoLS assessments can be carried out promptly in all cases.

“The latest statistics have indicated a significant year-on-year increase in the number of DoL applications that have not been signed off by the Supervisory Body. It is important that resources are provided to ensure that DoL applications are dealt with promptly so that vulnerable adults are provided with the protection that the system was designed to provide."
Mathieu Culverhouse, Associate