The government’s Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill which passed through Parliament in May 2019 replaces the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) with what is referred to as the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS).

The difference is that the LPS can start from 16 years old as opposed to 18 years old under the DOLS system. A further change is that the deprivation can now last for up to 3 years compared to the DOLS which was only for a maximum of a year.

The LPS was the solution to the increased workload in the number of DOLS applications that were being made in England as this new system extends the timeframe for deprivation to up to 3 years instead of a maximum of 1 year. The LPS also transfers responsibility for authorising deprivations from local authorities to NHS bodies in certain cases; and reducing the number of cases in which specialist assessors were required.

Also, guidance as to what constitutes a deprivation of liberty will be provided in the Code of Practice on the LPS and the previous requirement of a person to be “of unsound mind” has been removed and replaced with the person having a mental disorder, in accordance with the Mental Health Act 1983.

The LPS has been made to widen the scope to treat people and this new system for authorising deprivations of liberty in care is due to come into force in Spring 2020. However, the government have confirmed that the DOLS will run alongside the LPS for a year in order to ease the transition.