Today, as Community Care reports, the CQC has published its annual report into the operation of ‘Deprivation of Liberty’ safeguards for 2010/11.
Deprivation of Liberty safeguards are a particular part of the Mental Capacity Act which allows a legal process of authorisation where there is felt to be a ‘deprivation of liberty’ in a care home or hospital related to someone who lacks the capacity to make a decision about whether they remain there or not. The process of decision-making relating to whether a Deprivation of Liberty is authorised revolves around the managing authority (the organisation which is potentially depriving the person of their liberty) and the supervisory body (the local authority or PCT (or whatever they are called now) where the person is or who is responsible for the care of that person (if, for example, they have been placed out of the local area the responsibility remains with the placing authority). The decision is made on the basis of a number of assessments (six actually) which are undertaken by at least two people, one of whom must be a doctor and one of whom must be a ‘Best Interests Assessor’ (who can be a social worker, nurse, occupational therapist or psychologist). The Best Interests Assessor, unsurprisingly, makes a recommendation not only on whether the deprivation is in the person’s best interest, but whether the framework and care plan constitutes a deprivation of liberty at all.
So that’s DoLs in a nutshell. What have the CQC got to do with it? Well, amongst other things, monitoring these Deprivation of Liberty authorisations is another part of their work.