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Protection For Vulnerable People Steadily Improving

Record Number Of Vulnerable People Protected By Deprivation Of Liberty Safeguards


The number of people protected by Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) has increased steadily since their introduction, a report published today has found.

The safeguards, part of the Mental Capacity Act that protects the rights of adults who lack the mental capacity to make decisions about their care, were introduced in 2009. The report, carried out by the Care Quality Commission, found that applications to use them have increase sharply following a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court.

According to the CQC report, the number of DoLS applications in the first two quarters of 2014/15 is significantly higher than the total amount for the whole of 2013/14.  This comes after the Supreme Court’s March 2014 judgement in what has become known as the ‘Cheshire West case’, which held that a person lacking mental capacity to consent is deprived of their liberty if they are under continuous supervision and control, and are not free to leave their placement.

The safeguards were implemented to ensure best practice in caring for vulnerable people who have limited capacity to take decisions about their care, with the aim of avoiding deprivation of liberty wherever possible.

Expert Opinion
It is very positive to see the number of people protected by Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards increasing, as ultimately the rise means that more vulnerable adults who were not previously considered to need DoLS authorisations now have the benefit of regular reviews of their protective care regimes.

“The report published by the Care Quality Commission also found care providers are failing to notify the organisation when they apply for authorisation to deprive someone of their liberty, which is required by law. Issues were also identified concerning the use of independent mental capacity advocates (IMCAs), with local authorities criticised for not appointing these professionals, whose role is to help protect the rights of vulnerable adults, in situations where they are clearly required.

“We would therefore urge the CQC to continue its work to eradicate these problems and ensure deprivation of liberty safeguards applications are carried out correctly and the needs of vulnerable adults are the main priority.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, Senior Associate

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