Keeping Safe

Liberty means being free to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them.

What is deprivation of liberty?

Sometimes the people caring for you in a hospital or care home need to make decisions to keep you safe or make sure you receive the treatment you need. This might include setting routines or stopping you from leaving.

Taking away someone’s freedom to choose is called a ‘deprivation of liberty’ and it must be assessed as being in their best interest. If a person is deprived of their liberty the law says that they need special protection to make sure they are looked after properly and kept safe. The ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are the way to provide the special protection needed.

A hospital or care home must get permission and certain things have to happen before a deprivation of liberty is given. This includes:

  • A capacity assessment to find out if the person is able to make their own decisions
  • The right to a representative. If the person does not have a family member or friend who is able to represent them, a Paid Relevant Person’s Representative will be instructed by the local authority.

What is a Paid Relevant Person’s Representative?

If a Deprivation of Liberty is granted, the person must have a ‘representative’ who will keep in contact, check that the DoLS remains legal and make sure that their views, wishes and rights are upheld. This support must be completely independent from the providers of the services they are receiving. If there isn’t a family member or friend who is able to do this, a Paid Relevant Person’s Representative (PRPR) will be instructed by the local authority to undertake this role.

Our advocates are specially trained to represent and protect the human rights of those who lack capacity and who are being deprived of their liberty in care homes and hospitals.

What will a Paid RPR do?

An advocate will represent the relevant person by:

  • Supporting them to understand the implications of the authorisation and what it means for the individual
  • Requesting a review to the local authority and providing support within a review
  • Raising concerns or challenge decisions made
  • Making an application to the Court of Protection on behalf of the individual to exercise their Article 5 (4) ‘Right to liberty’ right under the Human rights Act

What is Section 39?

Section 39 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out the different IMCA (Independent Mental Capacity Advocate) roles. An IMCA is a specialist advocate who supports people who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves:

  • Section 39A IMCAs are instructed when there is an assessment in response to a request for a standard authorisation made by the care home/hospital, or a concern about a potentially unauthorised deprivation of liberty
  • Section 39C IMCAs cover the role of the RPR when there is a gap between appointments, this might be due to the RPR being unwell and unable to continue in their role for a period of time
  • Section 39D IMCAs support the person, and/or their RPR, when a standard authorisation is in place

How do I get a DoLS IMCA or Paid RPR?

Only a Supervisory Body can make a request. The Supervisory Body is the local authority or local health board that is responsible for appointing an RPR.

You can find further information on our DoLS page.