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Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) annual monitoring report 2020-21

Read on to learn about the key findings from our latest annual Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) report, produced jointly with Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)

HIW and CIW have joint responsibility for the monitoring and reporting of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), and each year we publish an annual report on the applications received by Health Boards and Local Authorities.

What are the Safeguards

The Safeguards exist to empower and protect individuals who lack mental capacity. They provide a legal framework to prevent breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights as authorisation must be sought before a person can be deprived of their liberty.

2020-21 Key Findings

  • Overall, there was a decrease in the number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) applications received by supervisory bodies in 2020-21.
  • Compared to the previous year, the total number of DoLS applications to health boards decreased by 6%. Three of the seven health boards reported a decrease.
  • Compared to the previous year, the total number of DoLS applications to local authorities decreased by 12%. 18 of the 22 local authorities reported a decrease.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the DoLS assessment process. Services had to adapt their working practices to reduce the risks of infection. Many individuals in hospitals were also discharged or transferred rapidly and DoLS applications withdrawn before they were assessed.
  • The majority of DoLS applications continue to be for older people, with 87% of applications being for people over the age of 65. Most applications for DoLS continue to be from care homes for older adults, and from hospital wards for older adults.
  • Over the last three years there has been an increase in both the number of DoLS reviews undertaken, and representations made by Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs).
  • The proportion of authorisations referred to the Court of Protection has seen year on year increases for the period 2018-21.

Read the full report and all the key findings below.