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Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

Some people who are in hospital or a care home may need to be deprived of their liberty in order to receive care or treatment.

The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards 2009 were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 through the Mental Health Act 2007.

Who the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) apply to

People aged 18 and over, with a mental disorder or disability of the mind, eg dementia or a profound learning disability, who also lack the capacity to give informed consent to the arrangements made for their care and/ or treatment.

This flowchart can help answer your questions about making an application for a Deprivation of Liberty

Medway Download Gif Download the DoLS flowchart (PDF 721KB)

What the safeguards ensure

  • vulnerable individuals are able to receive care with the least restrictions necessary
  • safeguards are in place for vulnerable individuals
  • that individuals and /or their carers are able to challenge unlawful detention
  • professionals are provided with a clear process to work within.

Please note: For people living in a shared lives scheme or in supported living, the deprivation of liberty can only be authorised by the Court of Protection. Please contact the adult social care team involved.

Read a comprehensive guide to DoLS by the Law Society 

Who is responsible for safeguarding?

The managing authority has care responsibility for an individual eg, a hospital or care home.

If a person is being deprived of their liberty, the managing authority should make an application to the supervisory body.

The supervisory body is the local authority where the person is ordinarily resident, or the authority which is funding the care. 

But for people living in a shared lives scheme or in supported living - DoLS can only be authorised by the Court of Protection.

Death under DoLS

Please see the coroners guidance for advice on what to do when a person dies whilst subject to a DoLS authorisation.

Medway Download Gif Download 'DoLS coroner guidance' (Doc 36KB)

Relevant person's representative

Part of keeping safe and protecting your friend or family member is making sure they have someone to speak for them. They:

  • visit their friend of family member often
  • check that everything is ok or let us know if it isn't
  • tell us if you move address of change contact number
  • will be involved if there is a review

Independent advocacy

If you need help to understand the role of a representative, free support is available. 

Get the DOLs forms

Recent Supreme Court Judgement

A Supreme Court judgement, March 2014, Cheshire West and Chester County Council V 'P' (2014) UKSC 19 and 'P + Q' V Surrey County Council (2011) EUKACIV 190, set the acid test for a deprivation of a person's liberty as:

A person who lacks the capacity to make their own decision as to whether to be accommodated in a care home or hospital to receive care and/ or treatment,  is under continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave.

Medway Download Gif Download this judgement here (PDF 131KB)

Contact us

Phone 01634 331188

Fax 01634 331866


Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Service

Gun Wharf



Further information

DoLS forms

Medway Download Gif Download 'Standard and urgent request form' (Doc 135KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Further authorisation request form' (Doc 100KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'BIA combined assessments form' (Doc 128KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'BIA no deprivation form' (Doc 95KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Health eligibility capacity assessments' (Doc 103KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Standard authorisation granted form' (Doc110KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Standard authorisation not granted form' (Doc 98KB)

Medway Download Gif  Download 'Suspension of standard authorisation form' (Doc 90KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Termination of representation form' (Doc 109KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Standard authorisation ceased form' (Doc 88KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Review request form' (Doc 101KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'IMCA referral form' (Doc 56KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Notification to coroner form' (Doc 95KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'Assessor referral form' (Doc 54KB)

Medway Download Gif Download 'DoLS weeks authorisation calculator' (Xlsx 14KB)