Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Advocacy
Sometimes a hospital or care home might feel that a vulnerable person (who lacks capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005) needs to be restricted in order to provide treatment or care which is necessary to protect them from harm. This is known as ‘deprivation of liberty’.
DoLS safeguards exist to provide a legal framework for people who find themselves in this situation and to ensure that they have access to independent advocacy to support and represent them through the assessment process and safeguard their rights.
Specialist advocates known as a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (DoLS IMCA), work with people who have been deprived of their liberty. A DoLS IMCA is independent of hospitals, care homes and funding bodies.
Authorisation for depriving someone of their liberty
In order to deprive someone of their liberty, the hospital or care home must apply for an authorisation which (if approved) will only be granted for a certain amount of time.
During the period of authorisation the person, or the person’s representative, or both are entitled to help and support from a DoLS IMCA.
A DoLS IMCA will help the person and their representative (if they have one) to understand:
• Why they meet the criteria for authorisation of deprivation of liberty.
• Any conditions to which the authorisation is subject and how long it will last.
• The effects of the authorisation and what it means.
• Their right to request a review.
• Their right to make an application to the Court of Protection to seek variation or termination of the authorisation.
Relevant Persons Representative (RPR)
We also provide a representative service to support people deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. The main role of a representative is to:
• Maintain regular contact with the person being deprived of their liberty.
• To represent and support that person in all matters relating to their deprivation of liberty including requesting a review, making a complaint or making an application to the Court Of Protection.
• Provide support that is independent of service commissioners and service providers.
• Ensure the person is involved as far as possible in any decisions and their wishes represented.
Referrals for an advocate under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are usually made by the supervisory body (the local authority or local health board that is responsible for considering a deprivation of liberty request.