Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)

What are Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards?

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are a legal framework created as an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This framework is designed to protect adults who lack capacity to make decisions about their care and treatment and where they live and who are deprived of their liberty as a result of the care and treatment arrangements that are in place to keep them safe.

Who does the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards apply to?

DoLS only applies to adults who are over the age of 18 who reside in registered care or nursing homes or are inpatients in a hospital. DoLS is only relevant to these people if they lack capacity to consent to the care and or treatment that they are receiving or to residing in the home or hospital and the care plan in place includes restrictions that amount to a deprivation of liberty.

Who is responsible for implementing the framework?

The local authority (council) where a person usually lives is responsible for assessing people under DoLS and where appropriate will authorise a deprivation of liberty. However, there are some circumstances where the local authority in the place where the deprivation is occurring will be responsible for implementing the framework.

What does the process involve?

The process involves the person being assessed by a doctor and a Best Interest Assessor. These professionals will assess the person’s capacity, their mental health and look at the care plan and restriction that are in place to see if they are in the person’s best interest.

They will also consult with all parties involved in the person’s care especially where they hold Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare for the person to ascertain their views. They will then submit the reports to the local authority who will scrutinise them and authorise the DoLS if appropriate.

What must care homes and hospitals do if they think they are caring for someone who is deprived of their liberty?

If the managers of a care home or hospital believe that a person they are caring for lacks capacity to make decisions about their care plan, or where they reside and they meet the Acid Test indicating they are deprived of their liberty, then the managers or their staff must:

  1. Complete an appropriate form granting themselves a 7 day Urgent Authorisation under the Deprivation Of Liberty Safeguards.
  2. Complete a referral form requesting that the local authority authorise a standard authorisation under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
  3. Complete the Bedford Borough Council DoLS triaging form.
  4. Fax all of the above to the Bedford Council DoLS team 01234 276222 to obtain copies of the relevant forms email the DoLS team on email on

DoLS forms can be found on the Adass website.

Deprivation of liberty in other settings

A deprivation of liberty can happen in any setting. Someone could be cared for in their own home in circumstances that are the same as those described above, or this could happen in supported housing. The safeguards can't be used to authorise this practice. If this situation occurs you can get advice initially from the DoLS Team.

How can I find out information about the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards?

Contact Bedford Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards team by email at or Phone: 01234276222 for more information and advice.

You can also visit:

Related links