Professionals: Adult social care referrals, resources and training

Professionals: Apply for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) authorisation

The deprivation of liberty safeguards provide legal protection for vulnerable people in hospital or a care home, whether placed under public or private arrangements.

The safeguards set out a process that hospitals and care homes must follow if they believe it is in the person's best interests to deprive them of their liberty, in order to provide a particular care plan. The council must then assess and ensure that the deprivation of liberty is in the person's best interest.

How to apply

Once the managing authority (care home or hospital) has determined if an urgent or standard authorisation is required you must complete the relevant forms.

The managing authority must then telephone one of the phone numbers listed below to ensure we have received the application:

  • 07394413412
  • 07394413445
  • 07394413392
  • 07394413435
  • 07889095800

Useful guides

What is deprivation of liberty?

There is no single definition of a deprivation of liberty. The starting point must be the specific situation of the individual concerned and account must be taken of a whole range of factors such as the type, duration and effect of restrictions and the manner of implementation of measures in question. There is a scale which moves from no restriction, through varying degrees of restriction, to deprivation of liberty; where an individual is on that scale may change over time. A deprivation of liberty can be one of or a combination of the factors below, varying in degree or intensity. This is not an exhaustive list.

  • Staff exercising complete and effective control over the care and movement of a person for a significant period.
  • Staff exercising control over assessments, treatment, contacts and residence.
  • Where a decision has been taken that a person will not be released into the care of others, or permitted to live elsewhere, unless the staff consider it appropriate.
  • Where a request by carers for a person to be discharged to their care is refused.
  • Where a person is unable to maintain social contacts because of restrictions placed on their access to other people.
  • Where a person loses autonomy because they are under continuous supervision and control.
  • Where restraint (including sedation) is used to admit a person to an institution when that person is resisting admission.

Who do the deprivation of liberty safeguards apply to?

The deprivation of liberty safeguards apply to people:

  • aged 18 years or over.
  • who suffer from a mental disorder or disability of the mind – such as dementia or a profound learning disability.
  • who lack capacity to consent to the arrangements made for their care or treatment but for whom receiving care or treatment in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of liberty may be necessary to protect them from harm.

They do not apply to people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.