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NEWS: House of Commons release Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards briefing document

“The Law Commission recommends that DoLS are repealed as a matter of urgency, and are replaced by a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards. This intends to streamline the process for assessing whether a deprivation of liberty is necessary, and obtaining the required authorisation. The Liberty Protection Safeguards would also authorise particular arrangements and conditions for a person’s care or treatment, rather than simply authorising a deprivation of liberty... Under the new scheme, when there is a potential deprivation of liberty, the responsible body – the NHS body or local authority - arranges three assessments: a capacity assessment, a medical assessment, and a ‘necessary and proportionate’ assessment. They must also consult with friends and family of the relevant person. Each case is verified by an “independent reviewer”, and those where the placement are contrary to the person’s wishes are referred to an Approved Mental Capacity Profession (AMCP)." House of Commons Briefing Paper, 2nd October 2017

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act by the Mental Health Act 2007.

DoLS provide a framework for approving the deprivation of liberty for people who lack the mental capacity to consent to necessary treatment in a hospital or care home.

DoLS ensure that people are only deprived of their liberty in a safe and correct way, and that this is only done when it is in their best interests and there is no other way to provide necessary care and treatment.

The safeguards provide a statutory framework for authorising a deprivation of liberty, including six separate assessments by designated professionals, and subsequent rights of review.

There have been recent changes affecting the DoLS. A Supreme Court judgement in 2014 significantly widened the definition of deprivation of liberty, meaning more people were subsequently considered to have their liberty deprived. There was a ten-fold increase in the number of deprivation of liberty applications following the judgment.

In March 2017, the Law Commission published a report and Draft Bill recommending an overhaul of the DoLS process. The Law Commission recommends that DoLS are repealed as a matter of urgency, and are replaced by a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards. The new safeguards intend to streamline the process for assessing whether a deprivation of liberty is necessary, and obtaining the required authorisation. The Government is due to publish its response to the recommendations.

The Supreme Court found that deprivation of liberty occurs when “The person is under continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave, and the person lacks capacity to consent to these arrangements.” P (by his litigation friend the Official Solicitor) v Cheshire West and Chester Council & Anor [2014] UKSC 19).

“There have been recent changes affecting the DoLS. A Supreme Court judgement in 2014 significantly widened the definition of deprivation of liberty, meaning more people were subsequently considered to have their liberty deprived. There was a ten-fold increase in the number of deprivation of liberty applications following the judgment. In March 2017, the Law Commission published a report and Draft Bill recommending an overhaul of the DoLS process. The Law Commission recommends that DoLS are repealed as a matter of urgency, and are replaced by a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards. The new safeguards intend to streamline the process for assessing whether a deprivation of liberty is necessary, and obtaining the required authorisation. The Government is due to publish its response to the recommendations.” House of Commons Briefing Paper, 2nd October 2017

House of Commons, 2nd October 2017

Source: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8095?

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Future events of interest:

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: Towards Liberty Protection Safeguards: Implications of the 2017 Law Commission Report
Friday 8 December 2017
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Masterclass: Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
Tuesday 12 December 2017
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London


6 October 2017

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