Every Person who is deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act must have a representative. This could be a family member or a friend but if there is no one suitable, the person will be entitled to support from a Paid Representative also known as a PRPR.
MHM Wales Paid Representatives are qualified advocates who have specialist knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards legislation. We can support people who lack capacity across South West Wales, West Wales, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil. We may be also able to support clients out of our areas!
What are the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards?
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are in place to protect people who lack capacity to consent to being deprived of their liberty. This means that because an illness, an injury or a disability has affected the way their mind works they are not able to agree that they will not be allowed to do certain things.
Because of these safeguards, vulnerable people cannot have their freedom taken away unless it is in their best interests and there is no ‘less restrictive alternative’.
The Supervisory Body (the local council where the person normally lives) decides if a person can legally be deprived of their liberty and for how long. To do this they arrange assessments.
What is a Deprivation of Liberty?
When a Managing Authority (either a care home or hospital) has a reasonable belief they may be depriving a person in their care of their liberty, they make an application to the Supervisory Body at the Local Authority responsible for the person’s care for a Standard Authorisation; they may also grant themselves an Urgent Authorisation which allows the Managing Authority to legally deprive the person of their liberty for 7 days whilst assessments take place. The Supervisory Body will then put a process in place to review this placement to establish:
The ‘Acid Test’ is whether the person is being continually monitored and supervised where they are, living and get no unsupervised access to the community, and whether the person would be free to leave and live where they wanted. If the person is always escorted, whether by staff or family/friends, and they would be stopped from moving to another place, then the Acid Test is met and the person is being deprived of their liberty.
If the Supervisory Body then concludes the evidence is met that the person must be deprived of their liberty, the Supervisory Body will authorise the DoL for up to a year. Each authorisation has to be reviewed towards the end date.
Who does the Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards apply to?
DoLS apply to anyone who is 18 or over and who lacks capacity to consent to being deprived of their liberty. The safeguards cover patients in hospitals and people in care homes but do not apply to patients who are detained under the Mental Health Act.