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Mental Capacity Act including DoLS

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 promotes a person centred approach which promotes autonomy and for those who may lack mental capacity ensures that decisions made on their behalf are made in their best interests and with the least possible restriction of freedoms.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs)

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) were to be replaced by the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) but Government has announced implementation will be delayed. DoLS therefore continues to be the mechanism for authorising a deprivation of liberty for those aged 18 or above in either a care home or a hospital. Authorisation from the Court of Protection is still required in other settings and for people aged under 18.

  • The ADASS DoLS Priority Tool has been updated in March 2024 to reflect current practice and priorities.
  • The ADASS DoLS form guidance to support practitioners with the DoLS forms was also updated in March 2024.
  • The Rights Guide is a simple information sheet for those people once there is a DoLS authorisation in place to tell them what their rights are. Developed in spring 2016 by a small project group representing ADASS, NHS England, representatives of care providers, the LGA, and the Ministry of Justice and updated in Spring 2024, it can be used by care and health providers, local commissioners and people who use services who are being deprived of liberty in either hospitals or care homes to signpost people to their rights. And Easy Read version of The Rights Guide is also available.
  • ADASS produced two short guides in June 2017 on DoLS and Deprivation of Liberty Orders (also known as Community DoLS or Judicial Appointments.

Resources on the Mental Capacity Act

  • Promoting less restrictive practice: This toolkit, updated in 2024, aims to aims to help practitioners identify restrictions in a person's care, in order to examine whether the care is the ‘least restrictive' possible, as required by the Mental Capacity Act. Developed by ADASS and the LGA, it can also be used as part of care planning to ‘promote liberty and autonomy' in care plans.
  • Applications to the Court of Protection: a guide for council staff: Any decision in relation to an application to Court of Protection must be informed by the MCA, the MCA Code of Practice and case law. This note produced in 2017 for ADASS offers guidance to Councils about when the intervention of the Court of Protection may be needed in relation to welfare decisions where a person lacks mental capacity for the decision. This overview is not a replacement for legal advice which should always be sought in individual cases.
  • Improvement tool: Developed by the sector, this self-assessment resource tool, developed in 2015, can be used across a range of organisations to assess a service, to identify and promote good practice and to highlight areas for further development.
  • Putting the MCA principles at the heart of adult social care commissioning: Commissioners will want to ensure that the services are being delivered in a way that both respects and promotes the rights of vulnerable individuals. This ADASS and LGA guide seeks to support local commissioners' understanding and application of the MCA. It provides a framework and a series of key questions for local commissioners to use at every stage of the commissioning process.
  • MCA guidance for community based services and members of care providers' boards: The then Transforming Care programme, in partnership with the Care Providers Alliance, commissioned a guide for providers of community services and a briefing aimed at members of care provider's boards in order to support providers to apply the MCA in the right way, alongside an easy read guide to the MCA in 2015.

Regional DoLS Leads

Reporting to ADASS, each region can share best practice, support improvement and to have a source of information and expertise via the regional leads below.