Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS): Latest developments

In July 2018, the government published a Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which passed into law in May 2019. It replaces the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with a scheme known as the Liberty Protection Safeguards (although the term is not used in the Bill itself).

The Act draws to some extent on the Law Commission’s proposals for reforming DoLS, but generally does not address some of the wider MCA reforms that the Law Commission suggested. So proposed reforms around supported decision-making and best interests are not included, although those omissions, and other changes from the Law Commission’s suggestions proved controversial as the Bill went through Parliament.

Key features of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) include:

The new Act also broadens the scope to treat people, and deprive them of their liberty, in a medical emergency, without gaining prior authorisation.

The target date for implementation is now 1 April 2022. Prior to this, following a 12-week consultation planned for 2021, both a single Mental Capacity Act and LPS Code of Practice, and regulations, will be laid before Parliament and subsequently published. The sector trusts this will bring clarity to some outstanding questions about how LPS will work in practice and the training and implementation required.

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