SCIE press release

Local authorities take over mental capacity responsibilities

21 November 2012

Managing the transfer of responsibilities under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards: a resource for local authorities and healthcare commissioners

With the abolition of primary care trusts in April 2013, their responsibilities under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) passes to local authorities. This transfer will mean that local authorities and health institutions will have to adjust to new ways of working together, to ensure that the rights of vulnerable people in hospital settings are protected when it's considered in their best interests to deprive them of their liberty, in order to give them essential care or treatment. The changes are laid out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

A new resource from the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) will help the sector to plan for these changes, which come into force on 01 April 2013. The resource is launched today at the Community Care conference on "Achieving person centred care for adults subject to Mental Capacity Act and DoLS."

The resource, which is endorsed by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, offers guidance on how local authorities, hospitals, primary care trusts (PCTs) and the new clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) can work together to ensure that the rights of vulnerable people who may be subject to the DoLS are protected during and after the transfer of responsibilities. It gives an overview of the changes and a clear account of this complex set of requirements.

SCIE's Interim Director of Adult Services, Patricia Kearney, says:

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are a crucial element of the Mental Capacity Act in providing protection for the human rights of people who lack capacity. This transfer of responsibilities for the use of the safeguards in hospital settings is complex, but it's vitally important to get it right, so that vulnerable adults who lack mental capacity continue to receive the best possible health and social care. The report can help to create a seamless and high-quality transition and transfer of responsibilities. Although we offer no 'simple solution', it's important that those responsible don't feel overwhelmed by their new responsibilities. That's where this resource can provide valuable help.

The guidance will be useful to senior health and social care professionals, from local authorities and PCTs, who are responsible for ensuring robust compliance with the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Directors of adult social care, as well as supervisory body managers and coordinators, will find the report helpful and clear. They will, for instance, be able to find advice on the implications for Best Interests Assessors (BIAs), whether they are currently responsible for carrying out assessments under the Safeguards in hospital settings or not.

Among other helpful things, the resource includes:


Media contact

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