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 Mental Capacity Act.
For further information of the Supreme Court Judgement please see our guidance notes below.
We would like to know what you thought of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) assessment process. Was the assessment process clear and satisfactory?
Please complete our feedback form to help us maintain our service and make any improvements.
Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS)
Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) were due to replace the current DOLS system from October 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the government has not announced a revised date yet.
The LPS Code of Practice and regulation is yet to be published. In the meantime, we are planning how best to support these changes and will update this page when 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.
To protect personal data, you should not complete these forms on a public computer.
The form will time out after 20 minutes of inactivity. After this time you will lose what you have entered and will need to start again.
You will be asked to upload your signature to the form, you can either:
- take a photo on your mobile phone
- scan a copy of your signature and upload it.
When you've submitted your form, make sure you download or print a copy. We will not send you one and will not be able to download or print it later. We will send you a confirmation email to confirm we've received your request.
Make sure you close the browser completely when you've downloaded or printed your form to keep the data secure.
DOLS form 1 - Standard and urgent request
If you are applying for an urgent authorisation and standard authorisation, please complete DOLS form 1.
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.
DOLS form 10 - review request
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.
Law guidance notes
- Deprivation of Liberty in the Hospital Setting
- Deprivation of Liberty after Cheshire West: key questions for social workers and medical practitioners
- DOLS Code of Practice
- Deprivation of Liberty safeguards leaflet - a guide for relevant person's representatives (PDF, 135.1 KB)
- Deprivation of Liberty safeguards leaflet - easy read (PDF, 941.1 KB)
- The Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) service (PDF, 328.5 KB)
- Next of Kin: Understanding decision making authorities booklet (PDF, 3.5 MB)
- Our privacy notice
Easy read guidance
Updated service briefings, practice guidance and notes Kent County Council have produced.
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:
Kent Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Service
Kent County Council
4th Floor Invicta House
Kent ME14 1XX
We are open 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
For people who are ordinarily resident in Medway, contact: