Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

More Deprivation of Liberty applications recorded in first quarter of 2014-5 than whole of previous year

DOLsMore than 20,000 Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) applications were made in England from April to June 2014 – 74% more than were made in the whole of the previous year, new figures have revealed.

In the 3 months to June 2014, 21,600 DoL applications were made by the 130 out of 152 councils in England to supply data to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). In the whole of 2013/4 those same councils only made 12,400 applications.

Of the applications in quarter one 2014-15, as at September 12, 51% (11,100) were granted, 12% (2,700) not granted and 36% (7,800) not yet completed by the Supervisory Body or withdrawn. In 2013-14 the total number of applications for these 130 councils was 12,400, of which 58% (7,200) were granted, 40% (4,900) were not granted, and 2% (300) were not completed by the Supervisory Body or were withdrawn as at March 31.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are a set of legal requirements which ensure individuals are only deprived of their liberty in a necessary and proportionate way and provide protection for individuals once a DoL has been authorised.

Since the DoLS were introduced in 2009, applications have increased year on year. However, the main contributing factor to this quarter’s larger increase is likely the Supreme Court judgment ruling in March – the cases of P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and P and Q v Surrey County Council – which expanded applications to include deprivations that are unopposed by the patient. Examples include people who are subject to continuous supervision or people who are not free to leave their care setting.

In response to this, in August the Department of Health asked the Law Commission to review the DoLS and consider how deprivation of liberty should be authorised and supervised.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: “The increase in applications has shown that councils have been quick to act on the Supreme Court judgment about when it is appropriate to deprive an individual of their liberty.

“It is hoped that this voluntary quarterly data collection will help to monitor the scale of these types of applications and the impact the increase is having on councils, in a timely manner.”

Read the statistics in full at www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/dols1415q1

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