Mental Capacity Act including DoLS and LPS

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.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) form part of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005. They 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 and authorisation from the Court of Protection is still required in other settings and for people aged under 18.

The LGA has welcomed reform of the current complex system and wants to continue work with Government and other partners to support councils in their ongoing key role locally. Further resources on the MCA and DoLs are below.

LGA resources on the Mental Capacity Act

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.

Promoting less restrictive practice

This 2016 toolkit 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, the Care Provider Alliance and the LGA, it can also be used as part of care planning to ‘promote liberty and autonomy' in care plans.

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.

Other resources

  • The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has also developed an MCA Directory to give those who work with people who lack mental capacity advice and support, including examples of good practice. The Directory includes advance planning and decision-making, assessing capacity and a MCA e-learning course
  • SCIE has a short video to encourage the sector to consider how LPS can promote practice which aligns with human rights and the core principles and duties of the Care Act 2014. 
  • The Government's Code of Practice gives guidance for decisions made under the Mental Capacity Act.

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.

ADASS Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards resources

ADASS has provided guidance to councils in their role as supervisory body for the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and a revised full set of the DoLS forms. A toolkit seeks to assist those completing Form 3.

'Your rights'

Your rights is a simple information sheet for those people who are being deprived of liberty in either hospitals or care homes to signpost people to their rights. Developed in spring 2016 by a small project group representing ADASS, NHS England, representatives of care providers, the LGA, and the Ministry of Justice. It can be used by care and health providers, local commissioners and people that use services and its aim is to ensure that the rights of people who lack capacity are effectively safeguarded.

Quick Guides to DoLS

ADASS produced two short guides in June 2017 on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and Deprivation of Liberty Orders (also known as Community DoLS or Judicial Appointments). They cover the following areas and include examples:

  • What does deprivation of liberty mean?
  • What does this mean in practice?
  • How does it affect my family member or my friend?

Other resources

  • NHS Digital supplies annual data on DoLS and the Care Quality Commission (CQQ)’s State of Care reports includes findings on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act including DoLS in hospitals and care homes.