Safeguarding adults: Mediation and family group conferences

Working with adults - Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The DoLS aim to protect some of the most vulnerable people from being inappropriately deprived of their liberty. They have been put in place to protect the rights of people who need to be deprived of their liberty to safely receive the care or treatment they need. Mediation may be used to try to resolve some disagreement under the safeguards to avoid unnecessary applications to the Court of Protection (Mental Capacity Act 2005, DoLS, Code of Practice, section 10.6).

Mediators and FGC coordinators cannot make best interests decisions within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act. This is because the role of each is to facilitate an agreement that is led by the participants. Mediation and FGCs cannot be used to impose a decision on a person who lacks capacity. However, they can help families and professionals make suitable best interests decisions, on behalf of those lacking capacity – especially if they cannot agree on a proposed course of action –while enabling the person to participate in the decision-making process as far as possible (Tapper 2010).

Case studies