Liberty Protection Safeguards: consultation launched on implementation and new MCA code

    Long-awaited draft code and regulations launched on implementing the LPS, but with no date set for implementation after multiple delays

    Gillian Keegan
    Education secretary and former care minister Gillian Keegan (credit: UK Parliament website)

    The govrnment today launched its long-awaited consultation on implementing the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) and a revised code of practice on the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

    However, despite multiple delays, it did not set a new date for the implementation of the LPS, which is due to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and the role of the Court of Protection in providing a human rights-compliant way of authorising care arrangements that give rise to a deprivation of liberty to which the person lacks capacity to consent.

    What do the LPS plans mean for you? Get a full outline of the key proposals from Community Care Inform legal editor Tim Spencer-Lane.

    Launching the 16-week consultation today, care minister Gillian Keegan said the government was seeking views on a new draft code of practice, encompassing LPS as well as the rest of the MCA, and six sets of regulations, a workforce plan, proposed data specification for national reporting and an impact assessment in relation to the safeguards.

    The elements of the draft code that do not concern LPS are designed to take account of changes in law, policy, organisational structures and terminology since the original MCA code’s publication in 2007, Keegan said. Currently, there is a separate code of practice on DoLS, but in future there will be a single unified code.

    The LPS were originally due to be implemented in October 2020, but were then delayed to a target of April 2022 because of the pandemic. However, at the end of last year, the government announced a further delay but without specifying a new implementation – a position that still holds.

    In her written statement to Parliament today, Keegan said: “We had hoped to be able to fully implement the Liberty Protection Safeguards by April 2022. Given the impact of the pandemic on the sectors and professionals who will be called upon to implement these important reforms, we have had to reconsider this aim.

    “We expect that responses [to the consultation] will be very detailed and will take time to work through to get the Liberty Protection Safeguards right. We are going to set a new fixed date for Liberty Protection Safeguards implementation post consultation to ensure that there is adequate time for implementation.”

    The consultation closes on 4 July.

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