Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)
Safeguards for adults who may need to be deprived of their liberty to be safely cared for or treated
If you have concerns that someone you know may be being deprived of their liberty in a care home, hospital or other care setting and this deprivation is not authorised, please contact the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLs) Coordinator.
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) came into force in 2009 to protect the human rights of people who lack capacity to make decisions about their accommodation and support, and who may need to be deprived of their liberty so that they can be safely cared for or treated.
In 2014, changes to case law extended these provisions so that they now apply to people in more settings than they did before.
How Do DOLS Work?
The European Court of Human Rights and the UK government have recognised that people who lack capacity to make decisions about their care or treatment need additional protection to ensure they do not suffer harm, especially in situations where delivering the care they need means that their personal freedoms are restricted to the point of actually depriving them of their liberty.
DOLS ensure that people are only deprived of their liberty when it is necessary and within the law.
They set out a standard process that must be followed by hospitals, nursing homes and care homes. They apply if the care provider thinks it will be necessary to deprive a person of their liberty to deliver a particular care plan that is essential to meet their needs and is in their best interests.
It also places responsibilities on local authorities regarding assessment and authorisation of deprivation of liberty applications
If a person may be being deprived of their liberty in other settings, such as in supported living, the route to authorise that deprivation is a little different. Only the Court of Protection can authorise deprivations occurring in settings other than care/nursing homes and hospitals. Local authorities are expected to coordinate assessments and applications to the Court of Protection in these circumstances.
West Berkshire Council is the supervisory body for applications related to deprivation of liberty for people ordinarily resident in West Berkshire. We receive and authorise deprivation of liberty applications if we are satisfied that all of the statutory assessment requirements have been met.
Someone is considered to be ordinarily resident in West Berkshire if:
- they are self-funding their care in a nursing home or care home located within West Berkshire
- their care is funded by West Berkshire Council, regardless of the location of the home
- they are permanently resident (or intend to be resident) in West Berkshire.