Important day for protecting the liberty of people who draw on care

17 March 2022

People who draw on care and health services are one step closer to having their liberty protected, as a 16-week consultation is announced that’s a really important moment for mental capacity legislation.

The Department of Health and Social Care is publishing the draft regulations and Code of Practice for the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) for public review. Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) are to replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards so that the emphasis is on protecting liberties. The new single code of practice will replace the two codes of practice that currently exist for the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), with LPS set to replace DoLS.

Bringing legislation up to date

The introduction of LPS, presents the sector with the opportunity to update the original MCA code to reflect the lessons learned from 22 years of practical experience (since its publication in 2007) and to address the failings of the Mental Capacity Act identified in the House of Lords scrutiny report of 2014.

DoLS have long been criticised and the safeguards developed to protect the most vulnerable within our communities have, at times been seen to fail. The Care Act 2014 launched the legislative shift to strength- based support for adults who draw on care and support. The sector now has a duty to have regards to individual wellbeing, to begin from a position of strength and to support individuals to have choice, control and personal dignity. The Care Act 2014 and LPS provides the legislative framework to enable social work practice to support its profession’s’ underlying principles around enabling human rights and supporting people to live lives important to them .

SCIE has been supporting the sector to work towards embedding this value-base and welcome the introduction of LPS as it will give the sector the opportunity to support individuals in protecting their liberty as opposed to authorising a deprivation of liberty once it has occurred.

It is important that everyone involved in the delivery of the MCA and upcoming LPS is aware of the code and takes part in the consultation process to help improve practice and ensure the guidance supports legally robust and high-quality person-centred care.

SCIE has an LPS hub and are developing a resource library alongside a training offer for support for the sector.

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