Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) has been introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 through the Mental Health Act 2007.

Some people living in hospitals and care homes can't make their own decisions about their treatment and/or care because they lack the mental capacity to do so. They need more care and protection than others to ensure they don't suffer harm. Treating and caring for people who need extra protection may mean restricting their freedom to the point of depriving them of their liberty.

This legislation provides a legal framework for authorising a deprivation of liberty so that treatment or care can be provided in a care home or hospital (the Managing Authority) for people who lack mental capacity. This is irrespective of whether they are placed there under public or private arrangements.

Applications must be made to the Supervisory Body to have someone assessed where it is believed that they should be deprived of their liberty in order to prevent them from harm. These can be made by Managing Authorities and care professionals but can also be made by friends or relatives.

How to request authorisation

For advice and guidance please contact the Supervisory Body:

Buckinghamshire County Council

DoLS Advice Line: 01296 382195
Fax number for referrals: 01296 383338

Forms are available to download on the GOV.UK website.  

Who does DoLS apply to?

The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards apply to anyone aged 18 and over: 

  • who suffers from a mental disorder or disability of the mind – such as dementia or a profound learning disability 
  • who lacks the capacity to give informed consent to the arrangements made for their care and / or treatment

The safeguards are designed to: 

  • ensure you or your relative receive the care you need in the least restrictive way  
  • prevent arbitrary decisions that deprive you or your relative of their liberty 
  • protect your or you relatives rights and interests
  • gives you or your relative the right to challenge unlawful detention
  • avoid unnecessary bureaucracy

Further information

The following documents may be useful for further information about DoLS: