Read aloud or translate

Relevant Person’s Representative

Support when someone is deprived of their liberty in a care home or hospital

What is a Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR)?

There is legislation to protect people who might be restrained or restricted in a way that amounts to depriving them of their liberty. It is called Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ (DoLS). It aims to make sure that people are only deprived of their liberty when it is in their best interests.

When someone is or may be deprived of their liberty, the law calls them the Relevant Person’.

The law says the Relevant Person must have a Representative’. This means someone to help make sure their views, wishes and rights are respected.

Who can be an RPR?

Sometimes this role is taken unpaid by the person’s friend or family member. Sometimes the role is taken by a paid professional, such as an advocate. A paid RPR may be needed if there are no friends or family members suitable and willing to be an RPR or if there is a gap before a new RPR can take up the role.

What does an RPR do?

During a DoLS authorisation, the RPR will:

  • visit the person regularly to ask their views and wishes
  • support the person to understand their situation and rights under the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
  • check that the care setting is keeping to any conditions of the authorisation
  • as far as possible, help the person to understand their authorisation and how it affects them
  • as far as possible, support the person to exercise their rights if they want to do that

If necessary, an RPR can request a review of the authorisation or support the person to make an application to the Court of Protection to get the authorisation changed or ended.

Even when someone can’t tell their RPR what they want, the RPR will use a range of approaches to establish their views and wishes as far as possible and secure their rights.

Who can request a paid RPR?

To request a paid RPR, you must be from the Supervisory Body. The Supervisory Body is the local authority or local health board that is responsible for appointing an RPR.

If you are from a Supervisory Body, request a paid RPR by sending your RPR paperwork to helpline@voiceability.org

What is a DoLS authorisation?

A care setting must apply for a DoLS authorisation’ to get permission, before they can deprive someone of their liberty.

Each DoLS authorisation:

  • allows deprivation of liberty in a specific way for a specific period
  • is unique to the individual
  • may have conditions attached

A DoLS authorisation may say that staff can, when necessary:

  • prevent a person from leaving the place where they’re being given the care they need
  • keep a person under continuous supervision and control in their best interests, to protect them from harm

Staff at a care setting should always keep the RPR informed of any changes to the conditions of a DoLS authorisation.

Download the information on this page