The UK government has announced that the full implementation of Liberty Protection Safeguards, which was due to replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) on 1st October 2020, will now take place before April 2022.

Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) will authorise deprivation of liberty in order to provide care or treatment to an individual who lacks capacity to consent to their arrangements, in England and Wales. It will replace a system that many agree is overly bureaucratic and complicated.

In a statement setting out the reasons for the delay, Helen Whately, Minister of State (Minister for Care), referred to the Covid-19 pandemic and said the UK government had received representations from the care sector over the last few months, outlining the pressures they face if they were to implement by October 2020. “It is now clear that successful implementation is not possible by this October. We now aim for full implementation of LPS by April 2022. Some provisions, covering new roles and training, will come into force ahead of that date.”

Next steps

  • The UK government will undertake a public consultation on the draft regulations and Code of Practice for LPS. This will run for 12 weeks, allowing sufficient time for those that are affected, including people with learning disabilities, to engage properly. A date for the consultation has yet to be announced.
  • The Minister for Care says that the sector will need time following the publication of the final Code to prepare for implementation. “We will give the sector sufficient time to prepare for the new system to ensure successful implementation. I am considering a period of approximately six months for this.”
  • Once the UK government has considered responses to the consultation, the updated Code and regulations will be laid before the UK Parliament. The Minister for Care said this needs to happen well in advance of the target implementation date, “first to allow for that scrutiny and second because some of the regulations need to come into force earlier.”

The forthcoming draft Code of Practice and regulations will also offer more detailed information about how LPS will operate in practice.

You can find more information about the Liberty Protection Safeguards at the Social Care Institute for Excellence website.