Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding Assessments

Under the Mental Capacity Act, a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding assessment has to take place before a local authority can authorise the deprivation of an individual’s liberty in a hospital or a care home. The full assessment, made up of six individual assessments, must be carried out by two appropriately qualified assessors; a best interest assessor and a mental health assessor.

Studies show that DoLS teams are getting through up to three times more assessments than they were in 2014/15, but the backlog of cases remaining incomplete or never started continues to grow.

This is due to the number of new applications dramatically outstripping the number of completed or withdrawn assessments.

Despite a rise in the number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards assessments completed, in 2017/18, the number of applications left unfinished rose to over 125,000, putting a lot of pressure on the already over stretched teams.


Who? – A DoLS assessment is applicable to anyone who is 18+ years old, has a mental disorder, and lacks the capacity to consent to be a resident for care or treatment.

Where? – The assessment can be requested by any registered care home or hospital in England and Wales, for one of their residents, and is authorised by the local authority.

When? – The assessment will be requested if the person who lacks capacity is subject to restrictions to prevent them coming to harm and these restrictions mean that the person is not free to leave. To meet the criteria for assessment, the person must also be under continual support and control.


Carter Brown are able to complete the following:

Mental health assessment – To be eligible for a DoLS assessment, the individual must be medically diagnosed as having a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983. This assessments confirms or rules out a diagnosis of an ‘unsound mind’, which then dictates whether the DoLS assessment is applicable.

Best interests assessment – This assessment establishes whether deprivation of liberty is occurring and whether it is in the individual’s best interest to be deprived of their liberty, for example in order to prevent harm to themselves.

  • Our dedicated referrals team will be able to provide you with CVs, costs and timescales that are tailored to your individual assessment needs.
  • All of our DoLS assessors have the relevant and necessary training and qualifications to complete this area of work. Our doctors are all either approved under section 12 of the Mental Health Act 1983 or are registered medical practitioners with at least three years’ post-registration experience, and all of our BIA assessors all have at least two years’ post-qualification experience and have completed approved training to be a best interests assessor.
  • We have a large bank of assessors based nationwide, including a number of DoLS assessors based in a variety of locations across the UK. Many are also willing to travel as part of their fixed fee, which means that we should never struggle finding the relevant assessors to complete your case within the required timescales.
  • The cost agreements that we provide are all based on a fixed fee framework and are dependent on which sections of the DoLS assessment you have requested.
  • We aim for all of our assessments to be completed within a twenty one day timescale, which meets the legal requirements for a standard authorisation. However, we may also be able to complete an assessment in as little as 7 days in cases where the applicant is already receiving care and where an urgent authorisation has been requested.
  • We have a team of highly trained, dedicated case handlers who will be responsible for your case from start to finish. This means you will have one point of contact throughout the assessment and reassurance that if any issues arise, they will be dealt with quickly and effectively.