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

Record number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications recorded in past three months, figures show

hscicThe number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) cases reached record levels in the months April-June, with 33,000 applications made, official figures have revealed.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) revealed there were 33,000 DoLS applications between April 1 and June 30. The HSCIC only received data from 106 of 152 councils in England, so it is likely the total number of applications was significantly higher. The total is also more than double the number received in the same period of 2014 (14,800).

Of the 33,000 applications received this quarter, 7,200 (22%) were granted, 2,400 (7%) were not granted and 23,300 (71%) were not yet signed off by the Supervisory Body or were withdrawn.

The figures also show that many applications are not being progressed by councils within the stipulated legal timescale of 21 days of standard authorisations and 7 days for urgent authorisations, where a provider has to authorise the deprivation itself. However, it is difficult to say what percentage breached the timescale as the data does not show how many applications were withdrawn.

This was also the fourth consecutive quarter than the number of DoLS applications increased. The number of DoLS applications has risen significantly since March 2014, when a Supreme Court judgement in March 2014 in the cases of P v Cheshire West and Chester Council and P and Q v Surrey County Council lowered the threshold for what constitutes a deprivation of liberty. As a result, providers are making many more DoLS applications.

Currently, the Law Commission is undertaking a review of the DoLS and is expected to produce a consultation paper later in the year.

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