The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are designed to prevent people being unlawfully deprived of their freedom. The provisions were drafted quickly off the back of the European Convention on Human Rights and case law decided by the European Court of Human Rights. As a result, they have been widely criticised for their complexity and bureaucracy.
At present, those within the care sector who provide support for an individual are under considerable pressure to obtain DoLS authority from their local authority for any deprivation. Consequently, the latest DoLS figures suggest a 16-fold increase in applications to 195,840 in the last twelve months, with 105,055 approvals. However, the relatively high number of rejected applications (over 46%) suggests there remains confusion over when authority is required and what constitutes deprivation.
In May 2016, the Law Commission reported that a new regime of “Protective Care” would be put in place, including a:
Supportive Care Scheme – to be provided by shared lives, supported living or care homes for individuals lacking the capacity to decide on their living arrangements.
Restrictive Care Scheme – for individuals who require care in a domestic setting but where restrictions are required.
Hospitals and Palliative Care Scheme – where care is required and can be authorised under direction of a clinician and independent doctor.
The final report and draft bill were due to be published this month. However, it is now confirmed that, due to the complexity, this will not be published until March 2017 at the earliest. This is likely to coincide with the UK triggering Article 50 for Brexit, the impact of which remains to be seen.