Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) exists to safeguard individuals when a deprivation of liberty is an unavoidable part of a best interests care plan. Individuals who are identified as potentially deprived of their liberty must be considered on a case-by-case basis and all appropriate steps taken to remove the risk of a deprivation of liberty where possible.

DOLS provide legal protection for those vulnerable people who are, or may become, deprived of their liberty within the meaning of Article 5 of the European Convention on the Human Rights (ECHR) in a hospital or care home, whether placed under public or private arrangements. The safeguards exist to provide a legal framework and protection in circumstances where deprivation of liberty appears to be unavoidable in a person’s best interests.

Following the Supreme Court Judgement 2014, there was a significant change in what may constitute a DOLS authorisation. Professionals must remember that DOLS authorisations and Court of Protection orders are rooted in the principles of MCA.

For further information of the Supreme Court Judgement please see our guidance notes below.


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Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)

Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) was due to replace the current DOLS system from October 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced a revised date of 1 April 2022.

Read the full Implementation of Liberty Protection Safeguards statement

Read the Liberty Protection Safeguards factsheets (PDF, 313.6 KB)

The LPS Code of Practice and regulation is yet to be published. In the meantime, we are still planning how best to support these changes and will update this page once we know more.

How to complete the authorisation

Before you complete the online authorisation you must inform the person's family that you have made an application for DOLS authorisation.

You will be asked to upload your signature to the form, you must do this by either:

  • taking a photo on your mobile phone of your signature and uploading it via a word document or JPEG
  • alternatively, scan a copy of your signature and upload it via a word document or JPEG

Once submitted you will receive an email notification and you will be able to download the form once submitted for your own records.

DOLS form 1 - Standard and urgent request

If you are applying for an urgent authorisation and standard authorisation, please complete DOLS form 1.

Apply for a standard and urgent request

DOLS form 2 - Further authorisation request

If the person is already subject to a current DOLS Authorisation, which is due to expire, you must complete DOLS form 2.

Apply for a further authorisation request

DOLS form 10 - review request

Apply for a review request (DOCX, 152.2 KB).

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) arrangements introduced the professional role of Best Interests Assessor (BIA). BIAs are required to undertake best interests assessments on behalf of Kent County Council as the supervisory body, for vulnerable adults who lack capacity and who are deprived of their liberty. BIAs must already have a suitable professional qualification as a registered social worker, approved mental health professional, nurse, occupational therapist or chartered psychologist.

How to apply

Best Interests Assessors training will be available to Kent County Council Practitioners in Autumn 2019. If you wish to undertake this training, please discuss with your Service Manager.

Find and book alternative MCA/DOLS courses.

The Supreme Court provided a very important judgment on 19 March 2014 in relation to deprivation of liberty which is of major importance to social services and health departments. In both cases of Cheshire West and P&Q, the Supreme Court disagreed with the previous decisions of the Court of Appeal, and has declared that the living arrangements of all 3 individuals constitute a deprivation of liberty.

The Department of Health have issued a letter to all professionals and care providers involved with MCA and DOLS work.

Law guidance notes

National guidance

Easy read guidance

Updated service briefings, practice guidance and notes Kent County Council have produced.

Managing authority briefings

DOLS managing authority briefing November 2020 (PDF, 177.0 KB)

Revised Mental Capacity Assessment forms

Find out which Mental Capacity Assessment forms you should use for day to day decisions and complex decisions.

Kent County Council and Medway Council have separate DOLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) services for receiving and processing DOLS applications.

For DOLS advice and support (or to send in a DOLS assessment or authorisation form) for people who are ordinarily resident in Kent, contact:

Phone: 03000 41 57 77

Kent Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Service
Kent County Council
4th Floor Invicta House
County Road
Kent ME14 1XX

Always phone to tell us before sending us any paperwork. We are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

For people who are ordinarily resident in Medway, contact:

Medway DOLS Service
Phone: 01634 331188
Fax: 01634 331866