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Publication, Part of

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, 2021-22

Official statistics

Current Chapter

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, 2021-22


These official statistics provide findings for England from the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) data collection for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. 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 are 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 key information about data quality, how the data should be used, how the data was collected and collated (Introduction and Key Points chapter) and background about DoLS (Background Supporting Information). The DoLS dashboard, 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 2021-22 have been estimated as two local authorities were not able to submit data.

The DoLS legal framework did not change 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 Data Hub - DoLS dashboard

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 270,650 applications for DoLS received during 2021-22. This is an increase of 5.5% compared to the previous year. The average growth rate per year is slowing – between 2014-15 and 2019-20 the average growth rate was 14% each year, whereas the most recent 5-year average growth rate per year (2016-17 to 2021-22) was 4.5%. The proportion of DoLS applications which have an urgent authorisation attached has increased from 54% in 2020-21 to 56% in 2021-22.

DoLS applications completed

The number of applications completed in 2021-22 was estimated to be 254,215. The number of completed applications has increased over the last five years by an average of 11% each year.

DoLS applications not completed

The reported number of cases that were not completed as at year end was an estimated 124,145, 4% more than the end of the previous year.

Reasons for DoLS applications not being granted

The proportion of completed applications in 2021-22 that were not granted was 56%. The main reason was given as change in circumstances, at 65% 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 20% in 2021-22; this has fallen from 24% in the previous year. The average length of time for all completed applications was 153 days, compared to 148 days in the previous year.

Last edited: 11 August 2022 9:15 am