Social services Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA DOLS) provide protection for vulnerable people who are accommodated in hospitals or care homes in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of their liberty and who lack the capacity to consent to the care or treatment they need.

For guidance and forms relating to Deprivation of Liberty in a Domestic Setting, see our information about DIDs pages

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Code of Practice supplements the main Mental Capacity Act 2005 Code of Practice which can be found within the Mental Capacity Act pages.

The MCA DOLS provide that deprivation of liberty:

  • should be avoided wherever possible
  • should only be authorised in cases where it is in the relevant person's best interests and the only way to keep them safe
  • should be for as short a time as possible, and
  • should be only for a particular treatment plan or course of action

Manchester City Council has the role of hosting the Supervisory Bodies on behalf of Manchester Local Authority and Manchester NHS, by authority of a Collaborative Agreement.

Care Homes, Care Homes with Nursing, Independent Hospitals and Acute Hospitals are Managing Authorities. Managing Authorities must make a referral to the Supervisory Body in order to lawfully deprive someone of their liberty.

Managing authorities are also required to complete a notification of death form for anyone in their care who was subject to a DOLS process. Full details of how to do this are contained in this form:

To find out more about DOLS, contact the DOLS Team.

To make an Application for a Deprivation of Liberty or to request a Review, send the relevant completed form to the Contact Service for Social Care either by email or fax:

fax: 0161 255 8266

Dealing with high volumes of assessments

Due to the very high volume of DOLS Applications submitted to Manchester Supervisory Body, the timescales for dealing with DOLS applications now often exceeds statutory requirements, however the Supervisory Body continues to implement DOLS as per due process.

The issuing of Standard Authorisations from Manchester Supervisory Body therefore now reflects the national guidance supplied by ADASS (the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services), and as such, Manchester Supervisory Body advises - 

  • Managing Authorities need to ensure that they have completed any supporting documentation such as mental capacity assessments, risk assessments and best interests decisions. 
  • Where the lack of capacity is confirmed and formally assessed, Managing Authorities need to be reminded of the need to screen for the ‘acid test’ i.e. the person is under continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave
  • ADASS continues to urge a measured and proportionate response to the judgement, and advises: risk - assess and prioritise where appropriate to determine those at highest risk have the earliest protection of the safeguards. 
  • Managing Authorities are therefore requested to prioritise DOLS Applications where the person meets the ‘acid test’ and there is urgency or a change of circumstances for the person, however in cases where the person is living in ‘settled circumstances’ and not determined as at high risk, the person can be referred in line with their annual review. 
  • Managing Authorities are also reminded that they must review care plans in partnership with the placing / funding authority to consider less restrictive options which may subject the person to unnecessary and intrusive interventions, before DOLS authorisations are requested. 
  • The Supervisory Body will issue the Form 5 (Standard Authorisation Granted) where appropriate with or ahead of other DOLS paperwork, in a format referring to the six assessments undertaken as above, to ensure Standard Authorisations are issued with minimum delay and to comply with due process, in line with ADASS guidance.


All care providers who need to request a DOL authorisation, request a review or action anything relating to an existing DOL authorisation should now use one of the forms produced by the Association for Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). For example, Form 1 is now a combined urgent and standard authorisation form.


All DOLS Assessors should use the ADASS forms relevant to their role.

Guidance relating to DOLS

Links to other resources

Contact Us:

If you need to get in touch with the DOLS Team for further information or guidance:


Tel: 0161 219 2199

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