Independent best interests assessors (BIAs) are being invited to sign up to a central list to help ensure prompt responses to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Dols) cases.
The list is being drawn up by regional Dols leads, supported by the Local Government Association, and is designed to ensure independent BIAs can be sourced quickly and easily when they are required to pick up cases.
BIAs, who are mostly social workers, play a pivotal role in Dols applications, by coordinating cases for local authorities and carrying out the critical best interests assessment. This determines whether a person is deprived of their liberty and, if so, whether this is in their best interests.
Demand for BIAs has rocketed since the Supreme Court’s “Cheshire West” ruling in March 2014 triggered a tenfold increase in case numbers.
Councils have responded by training more of their employed staff as BIAs and by making greater use of agencies supplying assessors. But there has also been the need to make greater use of independent practitioners.
The list being drawn up is not an accredited list and will simply record the details that independent BIAs provide. Practitioners should email Sheila Williams on firstname.lastname@example.org if they would like to join the list.