Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)

When someone lacks mental capacity to consent to care or treatment, it is sometimes necessary to deprive them of their liberty in their best interests, to protect them from harm.

Having mental capacity means being able to understand and retain information and to make a decision based on that information.

The safeguards are intended to:

  • Protect people who lack mental capacity from being detained when this is not in their best interests
  • To prevent arbitrary detention
  • To give people the right to challenge a decision.

The legislation sets out a procedure for care homes and hospitals to obtain authorisation to deprive someone of their liberty.

Without that authorisation the deprivation of liberty will be unlawful.

These safeguards are intended to protect people from being deprived of their liberty unless it is in their best interests to protect them from harm and there is no other less restrictive alternative.

If you think someone is being deprived of their liberty without authorisation contact the Safeguarding Adults Team.

Last updated on 03/12/2019