In April 2022, the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) will be replaced with a successor – the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS). The introduction of LPS has happened due to an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act, 2005. DoLS, a product of that Act, has been a hugely necessary but somewhat flawed vehicle, whose purpose was to ensure that people who cannot consent to their care arrangements are protected, should those arrangements deprive them of their liberty.
The new LPS have the same goals but have been tailored to smooth out some of the problems from DoLs. It is expected that DoLS will run alongside LPS for a year after implementation to ease the transition of existing cases, although it will not be used for any new cases. (Social Care Institute for Excellence).
The LPS results from an amendment to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and not a new Act. So, the five principles underpinning the MCA 2005 remain in place, from a person being assumed to have capacity unless it is established otherwise; to a person not being assumed to lack capacity, just because they want to make an unwise decision. (DHSC).
Although the Law Commission made several wide-ranging proposals for reforming DoLS, not all of them actually made it into the proposed new legislation – some proposed reforms around supported decision-making and best interests have not been included, something which caused some consternation in Parliament. The Bill was published in July 2018 as an amendment and became law in May 2019. (Social Care Institute for Excellence).