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Publication, Part of

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards - 2020-21

Official statistics

Current Chapter

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards - 2020-21


These official statistics provide findings from the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) data collection for the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. DoLS are a legal framework applying to individuals who lack the mental capacity to consent to the arrangements for their care. Where such care may amount to a "deprivation of liberty" the arrangements independently assessed to ensure they are in the best interests of the individual concerned. The data is collected from local authorities in England, who are the supervisory bodies for authorising deprivations of liberty of adults in care homes and hospitals. The aim of this publication is to inform users about aspects of DoLS activity, including the profile of people for whom a DoLS application was received, applications completed and their outcome, and applications not completed. This page presents the key facts and data tables. Further chapters give more detailed information about data quality, how the data were collected and collated and background about DoLS. The Adult Social Care Analytical Hub, which is an interactive business intelligence tool published alongside the data tables, presents further insight of the data, including breakdowns by local authority.

The England-level statistics for 2020-21 have been estimated as one local authority was not able to submit data.

The DoLS legal framework has not changed in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), and updated government guidance on how to apply DoLS was issued early in the pandemic period.

Adult Social Care Analytical Hub

This tool is in Microsoft Power BI which does not fully support all accessibility needs. If you need further assistance, please contact us for help.

DoLS applications received

There were an estimated 256,610 applications for DoLS received during 2020-21. This is a small drop of approximately 3% compared to the previous year, following an average growth rate of 14% each year between 2014-15 and 2019-20.

DoLS applications completed

The number of applications completed in 2020-21 was estimated to be 246,025. The number of completed applications has increased over the last five years by an average of 19% each year.

DoLS applications not completed

The reported number of cases that were not completed as at year end was an estimated 119,740, approximately 10,000 fewer cases (8%) than the end of the previous year. This is the second consecutive year since reporting began in 2015-16 that the number of cases not completed at year end has fallen.  

Reasons for DoLS applications not being granted

The proportion of completed applications in 2020-21 that were not granted was 57%. The main reason was given as change in circumstances, at 60% of all not granted cases.

Time taken to process DoLS applications

The proportion of standard applications completed within the statutory timeframe of 21 days was 24% in 2020-21, the same as the previous year. The average length of time for all completed applications was 148 days.

Last edited: 18 August 2021 12:00 pm