The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) provides a statutory framework for acting and making decisions on behalf of individuals who lack the mental capacity to do so for themselves. The Government added new provisions to the act: the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

These safeguards focus on those in hospital or within care homes who for their own safety and in their own best interests need to be accommodated under care and treatment regimes that may have the effect of depriving them of their liberty, but who lack the capacity to consent.

The deprivation of a person's liberty is a serious matter and should not happen unless it is absolutely necessary and these safeguards have been created to ensure that any decision to deprive someone of their liberty is made following defined processes and in consultation with specific authorities.

Since March 2014, the threshold for a Deprivation of Liberty has changed following the Cheshire West supreme court judgement.

The threshold is now significantly lower, which means that an increasing number of people accommodated in care homes and hospitals will now come under the remit:

  • If the person is not free to leave, and
  • under continuous supervision and control.

A Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards authorisation is required.


All the standard forms are now available as individual documents from the Department of Health website

Or you can fill in our online forms below

Policies and guidance

Guidance for staff

A Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards policy and procedure for staff working in Merton is available

Merton DOLS Policy and Procedure document

Contact us

Managing Authorities can complete DOLS applications forms electronically (Urgent DOLS form 1, Standard DOLS form 4) and send to (preferred method, but only if you have a secure network).

If you require any advice or assistance please phone us on 020 8545 3681.