Expected implementation date for DoLS replacement model announced by care minister

Liberty Protection Safeguards due to come into force in October 2020, though existing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisations will remain in place until they expire

Mental Capacity Act
Photo: Gary Brigden

The model to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) is expected to be implemented in October 2020, the care minister has announced.

In a letter to members of Parliament this week, Caroline Dinenage announced that the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) would come into force from 1 October 2020, subject to ongoing work around implementation planning and developing regulations on how the system will work.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019, the legislation introducing the new system, became law in May after completing its journey through Parliament.

What the LPS means for you

To help you get to grips with what LPS means for your practice, read this guide from lawyer Tim Spencer-Lane, who worked on the legislation.

A longer version of the guide is available to Community Care Inform Adults subscribers.

Initially, a Spring 2020 date had been mooted for the implementation of LPS; however, the government believes that the later start date will help to enable a successful implementation and ensure that people subject to a deprivation of liberty authorisation benefit immediately.

Dinenage also confirmed in the letter that DoLS authorisations in force at the time of LPSs’ implementation would remain in place until they expired, with the LPS running alongside the old system temporarily.

This is to avoid re-authorising deprivations of liberty under LPS, which the government saw as repetitive and burdensome.

Emphasis on code of practice

The final implementation date for LPS will also be dependent on the development of a code of practice that will assist practitioners in getting to grips with the LPS.

Dinenage said the government was working closely with stakeholders to develop draft chapters for the code, which will be followed by a public consultation on it. She said a final draft should be laid before Parliament in Spring 2020, along with a final set of regulations.

“My absolute priority is to ensure the code of practice delivers on providing detailed and easy to understand guidance which will ensure the successful implementation of the new system,” Dinenage added. “Our focus must be on getting this right.”

Dinenage said the development of the code was aligned with the Ministry of Justice’s work to update the Mental Capacity Act code of practice.

Preparation materials for councils

She also confirmed that the government would shortly publish initial materials for councils that would help them prepare for the implementation of LPS.

Refresh your MCA knowledge

One of the leading experts on the Mental Capacity Act, barrister Alex Ruck Keene, will be delivering an update on recent case law and changes to the MCA code of practice at this year’s Community Care Live 2019. Alex’s session is one of the eight legal learning sessions at the event in London on 15-16 October. You can reserve your place on any of these sessions and take advantage of our early bird by registering now, which also gives you access to over 30 free seminars.

Dinenage said these materials should be used as a “starting point” in preparations for using the new system.

She added that the government was developing training both to support staff with the change to the new system and to approve people to become approved mental capacity professionals (AMCPs).

AMCPs will be practitioners with specialist training in the MCA – likely to be mostly social workers – whose role will be to provide an independent check, known as a pre-authorisation review, on whether the conditions for a deprivation of liberty under LPS have been met.

The AMCP role is intended to build upon the existing best interests assessor role.

“We are working to ensure that all relevant health and social care practitioners will be well supported ahead of and during roll out of the new system, and we will be working with Skills for Care, Health Education England and others to develop training materials,” a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care added.

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2 Responses to Expected implementation date for DoLS replacement model announced by care minister

  1. Janet June 17, 2019 at 7:25 pm #

    Undoubtedly, the DoLS provision needed review, but I think some of the changes are quite worrying, because those with learning difficulties, or conditions such as Dementia, appear to be at risk. It appears their right to liberty will be compromised under these changes, for up to 3 years, without review – surely this cannot be right? It appears that some professionals, apparently not qualified to make these assessments, will be empowered to do so, so where are the necessary safeguards? It appears we will disempower parents/carers and put young adults at greater risk too. Why, when care homes are under scrutiny because of their treatment of vulnerable individuals (VIs), would we allow them a greater degree of influence over decisions related to these VIs…it makes no sense, and does not appear to have been fully thought through. Do we really have to wait for things to go wrong to achieve a reconsideration of these changes?

  2. Paul Bartle June 20, 2019 at 10:15 am #

    Is it an improvement in terms of protecting people from abusive restrictive care? Or just an improved administrative process costing less and easing pressures on councils?

    Looks like the latter to me.