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.

It is recognised that much has already been achieved but that more needs to be done across the system to fully implement this important piece of legislation. Building on the work carried out in individual authorities, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS) have produced a range of resources that can assist local areas in their implementation of the Act, including the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

Improvement tool

Developed by the sector with funding from the DH, this resource aims to be a self-assessment tool that 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.
Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Improvement Tool

Promoting less restrictive practice

This reducing restrictions 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.
Promoting less restrictive practice

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 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.
Putting the Mental Capacity Act principles at the heart of adult social care commissioning: A guide for compliance

Regional support

Led by ADASS, each region has an MCA including DoLS lead attending a national network. This enables each region to share best practice, to support improvement locally and regionally and to have a source of information and expertise.

Regional MCA-DoLS Leads      Name of Lead               Email
East of England Joseph Yow
East Midlands Heather Blow
London Henry Gilfillan
North East Melony Bramwell
North West Penny Davidson
South East Sarah Pady
South West Chris Hamilton
West Midlands Lorraine Currie
Yorkshire and the Humber Amanda Coyne


MCA Directory

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:

MCA guidance for community based services and members of care providers' boards

The Transforming Care programme, in partnership with the Care Providers Alliance, commissioned some guidance for providers of community services and a briefing paper 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.

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 June 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.

Assessing capacity

39 Essex Chambers have provided a guide to carrying out capacity assessments, with a focus is on how to apply the MCA 2005 principles when assessing capacity and how to record assessments in the context of health and welfare decisions.

Other resources

Deprivation of Liberty safeguards (DoLs)

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) form part of the Mental Capacity Act. The Law Society has produced a practical guide to identifying a deprivation of liberty.

ADASS Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards guidance

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 and seeks to signpost people to their rights. 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. Developed in Spring 2016 by a small project group representing the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), NHS England, representatives of care providers, the LGA, and the Ministry of Justice, it will assist care and health partners to ensure they are compliant with statutory responsibilities.  It focuses on the right to request a review of the authorisation or any aspect of it. It also highlights the right to appeal against the authorisation to the Court of Protection, which attracts free legal aid and is a key safeguard and protection within the DoLS process. It can be used by supervisory bodies to accompany Form 5 and can also be sent to Relevant Persons Representatives (RPRs) so that they too are aware of the person's rights and can support them. .

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?

List of Independent Best Interests Assessors

This list has been compiled for the benefit of any supervisory body who wishes to commission an Independent BIA. It is broken down by region. It does not include any agencies who may supply BIAs. The names and details have been provide by the BIAs themselves. Inclusion on the list does not indicate any recommendation of the BIA or any quality assurance of their work. The details provided are all correct when provided. It will be updated periodically. If you wish to amend or be added to the list, please email

Impact of Supreme Court decision

  • The Supreme Court judgment means that thousands more people will need to be assessed under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). NHS Digital supplies annual data on DoLS. Read the LGA response to the 2017 report.
  • We want to work with government so that DoLS is reformed and sustainably funded so that people's rights can be maintained. Find out more about our joint work with ADASS on the pressures caused by the judgement.
  • Government announced that it would respond Spring 2018 to work by the Law Commission on their review of DoLs, with a final report and draft Bill released in March 2017. Read the LGA response to the report
  • The House of Commons Library has released a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards briefing document that summarises the Law Commission's recommendation that DoLS be replaced with a new scheme called the Liberty Protection Safeguards.
  • The Policing and Crime Act relieves coroners of the current duty to undertake an inquest into every death after 3 April 2017 where the deceased was subject to a DoLS authorisation. Read the LGA Briefing on the Bill.

Other resources

SCIE has also produced a range of resources looking at the impact of the March 2014 Supreme Court judgment on DoLS.