UPDATED: October 2023 date for Liberty Protection Safeguards ‘incorrect’

Social Work England has withdrawn report setting out proposed government timescale for implementation of DoLS replacement

Calendar showing the month October 2023 with a sandtimer and plant
Photo: JeromeMaurice/Adobe Stock

Story updated

Reports that the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) will be implemented in October 2023 are “incorrect”, the government has said.

The date for the introduction of the replacement for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) had been included in a Social Work England board report by chief executive Colum Conway.

However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has told practitioners working in the field that this is not correct and the date had been published in error by the social work regulator, which then took Conway’s report down from its website and subsequently published an amended version.

In a blog post today, leading Court of Protection barrister Alex Ruck Keene quoted the statement circulated to practitioners by the DHSC, stating that there was no implementation date at present. The DHSC confirmed the veracity of the statement to Community Care and said that it would confirm an implementation date for the LPS as soon as possible.

The safeguards were originally due to be implemented in October 2020, then delayed to April 2022 and, last year, further deferred to an unspecified date.

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.

In the report to last week’s Social Work England board meeting, Conway said that the DHSC had been working to an April 2023 date but had now pushed this back to October of next year.

Approved mental capacity professional role

Conway was discussing the timetable in the context of Social Work England’s recent consultation on standards for the training of approved mental capacity professionals (AMCPs), a new role that will be introduced under the LPS and is likely to be mainly filled by social workers.

The social work regulator intends to publish its response to the consultation in the coming weeks, said Conway.

He added: “Although it will mean a longer gap between the publication of our new standards and the implementation of the legislation, we see the extension as a positive thing as it affords education providers more time to prepare and demonstrate that they meet the standards.”

Earlier this year, the DHSC and Ministry of Justice consulted on a draft revised Mental Capacity Act 2005 code of practice and regulations proposing how the LPS should be implemented. The consultation closed in July this year and the departments are yet to respond.

Doubts over implementation date for cap on care costs

Should the government adopt the October 2023 timetable in the end, it would mean that councils and adult social care providers would face implementing the LPS at the same time as the adult social care charging reforms, including the cap on care costs and more generous means-test for accessing care.

However, the Times recently reported that the government was considering delaying the charging reforms by a year, as part of plans to tackle a black hole in the public finances of an estimated £30bn to £40bn. It is likely to confirm whether it will proceed with the current October 2023 date at its autumn statement, on 17 November.

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5 Responses to UPDATED: October 2023 date for Liberty Protection Safeguards ‘incorrect’

  1. Dee Dee November 1, 2022 at 11:39 pm #

    Another blunder from SWE… The incorrect report hasn’t been removed as stated either.

    • Mithran Samuel November 2, 2022 at 7:19 am #

      Thnaks for your comment. I’ve updated the story – they took down the report and have now published an amended version, which I’ve linked to.
      It’s also available here: https://www.socialworkengland.org.uk/news/board-papers-28-october-2022/

      • J Peters November 2, 2022 at 7:51 am #

        The old report is still online.

        • Mithran Samuel November 2, 2022 at 11:11 am #

          Thanks for that. The link still works (for now) but they’ve taken it down from their website (where their board papers sit) and replaced it with the revised report.


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