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Publication, Part of

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Assessments - England, 2009-2010, First report on annual data

Official statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
County, Regions, Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities (CASSRs), Local Authorities
Date Range:
01 Apr 2009 to 31 Mar 2010


Please note:We have been notified that figures for one Local Authority in this publication (published in a revised form on 1 October 2010) are slightly incorrect, due to an error relating to their submission. The correction required can be found in the Revisions tab of the Appendix A - Annual DoLS supporting tables 2009/10. These changes will be incorporated into totals when the second annual report on the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is published; and historic figures for that Local Authority will be revised.

Please note: Some elements of this publication (originally published 20 July) were revised on 01 October 2010. This was because we were informed of an error relating to the Barking and Dagenham PCT and LA figures. One of the not authorised returns for Barking and Dagenham LA should have appeared under Barking and Dagenham PCT. This had no effect on the England totals but did have an effect on the England PCT and England LA totals. England LA totals have now decreased by one and England PCT totals have now increased by one. The number of PCTs that processed zero applications have also decreased by one to five as Barking and Dagenham PCT no longer has zero applications processed and now has one against its total. Revised figures have been published to take account of this.

The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA DoLS), which came into force on 1 April 2009, provide a legal framework to ensure people are deprived of their liberty only when there is no other way to care for them or safely provide treatment. They were introduced as an amendment under the Mental Health Act 2007 but form part of the Mental Capacity Act.

Basic quarterly figures on authorisations under the new arrangements have already been released earlier in 2010, but this report provides the first information on uses of the new legislation across the whole year from 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010. This report also references the expected figures included in the planning assumptions made by the Department of Health.


  • The total number of applications made was much lower than expected (7,160 in England compared with the number predicted for in England and Wales which was around 21,000.
  • Although the number of successful applications resulting in an authorisation to deprive a person of their liberty was lower than expected (3,300 in England compared to the 5,000 predicted for in England and Wales), a much higher percentage of applications than expected were successful (46 per cent compared with the predicted 25 per cent).
  • The majority of applications (3,645 out of 7,160) were for a person who lacked capacity because of dementia.
  • Authorisations granted for people in care homes were generally for longer periods than for people in hospitals (60 per cent of authorisations granted by Local Authorities were for more than 90 days compared with only 33 per cent of Primary Care Trust authorisations).
  • The first year's figures do not appear to show any evidence of discriminatory practice from the point of view of equalities.
  • About 4 per cent of applications that were not authorised involved situations where the person was nevertheless judged as being in a situation that amounted to a deprivation of liberty. In these cases the hospitals and care homes could be acting illegally, if that person was not swiftly cared for or treated in less restrictive circumstances.
  • There is a big difference in the number and rate of applications in different parts of England, with the highest rate of applications being made in the East Midlands (35 applications per 100,000 population). Six Primary Care Trusts and three Local Authorities did not receive any applications and it is possible that these differences are due to local practice and variation in the way in which the new arrangements have been implemented.


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Last edited: 11 April 2018 4:27 pm