H&F Council Adult Social Care - Living Independently
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Deprivation of liberty

What is deprivation of liberty?

Liberty means being free to do the things you want to do and live where you want to live.

Deprivation of liberty means taking someone's freedom away.

A Supreme Court judgement decided that someone is deprived of their liberty if they are both 'under continuous supervision, and control and not free to leave'.

When can someone be deprived of their liberty?

Someone else may think that they need to take your freedom away to give you the care or treatment you need. If you are able to make an informed choice about this, it is your right to say no. The only time when your informed choice might be over-ridden is if you need to be detained under the Mental Health Act.

Deprivation of liberty could take place anywhere - in a care home or hospital, but also in your own home.

If you are not able to make an informed choice, the law says that whoever is looking after you cannot take your freedom away without independent checks that this is the best thing for you.

This law is set out in the Mental Health Act - NHS and the Mental Capacity Act - NHS.

What are the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards?

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) are a system of checks found in the Mental Capacity Act.

They apply in registered care homes and hospitals.

They are needed to make sure that someone aged 18 or over, who has a mental disorder and is not able to decide to stay in a care home or hospital, really needs to have their freedom taken away to keep them safe from harm.

Two different people will carry out the assessments, a doctor and a trained assessor. If they agree that the deprivation of liberty is necessary an 'authorisation' is given to the care home or hospital by the council.

What rights does someone have if there is a DOLS authorisation?

The person whose freedom has been taken away will always have a representative to speak up on their behalf.

This could be a family member, friend or someone trained to do this as a paid professional.

They also have the right to ask for a review from the council, or to appeal the authorisation by asking a Court of Protection judge to look at their case.

What to do if you are concerned

Speak to the person in charge - the care home manager or the doctor or nurse in charge of the hospital ward.

They need to contact the council to request authorisation.

The person in charge can give themselves an urgent authorisation to deprive the person of their liberty for up to seven days if they believe that they must act immediately to keep someone safe.

If the person in charge disagrees that the person is deprived of their liberty, you can contact the council yourself.

When someone is not in a registered care home or hospital

The person whose freedom has been taken away will always have a representative to speak up on their behalf. This could be a family member, friend or someone trained to do this as a paid professional.

They also have the right to ask for a review from the council, or to appeal the authorisation by asking a Court of Protection judge to look at their case.

Who to contact

Call us on 020 8753 3211
Out of hours: 020 8748 8588
Typetalk: 0800 7311888
dols@lbhf.gov.uk

DOLS information for professionals

Last updated: 23/01/2021