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Liberty Protection Safeguards: Consultation launched

17 March 2022

The decision to deprive someone of their liberty is a serious one and the Liberty Protection Safeguards are complex so we must get implementation right. Open dialogue and consultation is the best way to do that.

Charlotte Gill, Director of Policy, Public Affairs and Communications, VoiceAbility

VoiceAbility welcomes the launch of the consultation on Code of Practice for the Mental Capacity Act.

The Code of Practice sets out guidance on how to implement the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS). At the same time, the government has also published regulations related to LPS and a workforce and training strategy.

LPS will replace Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and were introduced in legislation in amendments to the Mental Capacity Act in 2018. VoiceAbility has been working to support the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) over the past four years as they have developed the Code of Practice and regulations.

Where is the consultation and can I be involved?

The consultation is available online here. The government has produced information in Easy Read and the documents are also available in Welsh as LPS applies to England and Wales. There are different systems in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The consultation launched on 17 March and will be open until 7 July so there is plenty of time to prepare your response. Anyone can respond, whether as an individual or as a representative of an organisation.

If you have personal experience of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) or the Mental Capacity Act and would like to share how an advocate or a Relevant Person’s Representative helped you or someone you know, then we’d love to hear from you. The best way to contact us is to email, or you can also call our Contact Centre team and ask to leave a message for the policy and public affairs team so we can call you back.

What are Liberty Protection Safeguards?

At the moment, where care or treatment arrangements in a care home or hospital deprives a person of their liberty and it is decided that they lack the capacity to consent to those arrangements, a formal process is needed to make sure that their human rights are protected.

The current process for this is called Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), but through the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 it will be replaced with a scheme called Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS). LPS is a different system but there are also similarities to DoLS.

When LPS is implemented, it is estimated that over three hundred thousand assessments will be carried out each year in England and Wales. These assessments will decide whether and how people can be deprived of their liberty if they are deemed to lack the capacity to make the decision themselves about their care or living arrangements. This often affects people with dementia, learning disabilities, brain injuries, and other long-term conditions. Their families, friends and carers can also be affected as it’s a difficult situation for many people.

LPS will be the new process to follow when someone who lacks capacity’ to consent to their care and treatment is deprived of their liberty to keep them safe from harm. The law does not define deprivation of liberty’ but the Code of Practice will provide guidance so we’ll be looking at this closely as part of our consultation response.

LPS also applies to more people so there will be many more authorisations required under LPS than under DoLS. LPS applies to:
  • A wider age range because it includes 16- and 17-year-olds
  • More settings so it will apply anywhere in England and Wales, including supported living, shared lives schemes, domestic settings and children’s residential homes, as well as hospitals and care homes.
  • A wider criteria because they will apply to anyone who lacks capacity’ to consent to arrangements about their care, who has a mental disorder’, AND the arrangements are necessary to prevent harm to the person and proportionate in relation to likelihood and seriousness of harm to the person.

What support will people get under LPS?

Under LPS, there is the presumption that a person will either have an Appropriate Person (a family member or friend who knows the person well) or Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) to support them. In some cases, Appropriate Persons will also be entitled to support from an IMCA. This is to make sure the person who might deprived of their liberty is at the centre of the decision-making process.

It is the duty of the Local Authority under the Mental Capacity Act to make sure there are IMCAs who can support people with advocacy in their area. IMCAs are usually employed by organisations that work locally to provide advocates and have expertise in advocacy and making sure people are heard when it matters most. VoiceAbility delivers many of these services.

The Code of Practice will have more information about the role of IMCA and Appropriate Person so we’ll also be reading those sections closely and working with colleagues across the advocacy sector to respond to the consultation.

When will LPS be implemented?

The timetable is still not finalised for implementation because the consultation is live and the government have said they want to make sure they have time to respond to the feedback the consultation provides. The government have indicated that they plan to put the necessary legislation before parliament this winter and this means that implementation of LPS may be in 2023. VoiceAbility will continue to work with DHSC during the consultation and beyond to support implementation. If you want to talk to us about our work on LPS, get in touch by emailing