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Publication, Part of

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (England), Annual Report 2014-15

Official statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
County, Regions, Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities (CASSRs), Local Authorities
Date Range:
01 Apr 2014 to 31 Mar 2015


This official statistics report provides the findings from the Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) data collection for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.  It includes any application that was received and/or completed during the reporting year. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are a legal framework that exist to ensure that individuals who lack the mental capacity to consent to the arrangements for their care, where such care may (because of restrictions imposed on an individual's freedom of choice or movement) amount to a "deprivation of liberty", have the arrangements independently assessed to ensure they are in the best interests of the individual concerned .A key element of the safeguards is that health and care providers must formally apply to their local Council with Adult Social Services Responsibilities (CASSR, council or local authority) and satisfy six different assessment criteria.

The Supreme Court's judgment of March 2014 in the case of "Cheshire West" clarified an "acid test" for what constitutes a deprivation of liberty. The acid test states that an individual who lacks the capacity to consent to the arrangements for their care and  is subject to continuous supervision and control and is not free to leave their care setting, is deprived of their liberty and should be the subject of a DoLS application (where they are in a care home or hospital setting). The Supreme Court also ruled that the individual's objection to the arrangements that amount to a deprivation of liberty is not a relevant consideration (even if the individual is not objecting, a DoLS application is required).The judgment marked a significant change to established practice.

The data used to generate this report are collated by the HSCIC from a mandatory data collection of all councils, for all DoLS applications that were received, processed or considered to be "active" in any way between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015.

The data tables published alongside the report present further analyses and breakdowns of the data, including breakdowns by council and care provider (i.e. a care home, nursing home, hospital etc.). The full list of data tables are in Appendix A.


This is the first annual official statistics report since a March 2014 Supreme Court judgment gave new guidance on the use of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

There were 137,540 DoLS applications received by councils between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015, the most since the safeguards were introduced in 2009. This is a tenfold increase from 2013-14 (13,700).

62,645 applications were completed by councils during the year, almost five times as many as the previous highest volume - 13,040 in 2013-14. The number of completed applications has increased every year since DoLS were introduced in 2009.

In 2014-15, there were 147 completed applications per 100,000 adults in England. Application rates varied considerably by region, with a rate of 389 applications per 100,000 adults in the North East, whereas the other eight regions had between 110 (East Midlands) and 150 applications per 100,000.

There were 52,125 granted applications in 2014-15, 83 per cent of all completed applications. This the highest percentage granted since DoLS were introduced. Between 2010 and 2014 between 55 and 60 per cent of applications were granted.

There was some regional variation, with only 61 per cent of applications approved in the South West. All other regions saw at least 80 per cent of applications granted, with the highest approval rate in the North East (93 per cent).

The most frequent reasons for an application to not be granted were not satisfying the mental capacity requirement (cited in 2,895 applications) and the best interests assessment (2,525 applications).

There were 122,775 individuals with an active DoLS application in 2014-15. People can have multiple DoLS applications made on their behalf in a year and 12,005 individuals had at least two DoLS applications in 2014-15, 10 per cent of people with an application.


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Last edited: 23 June 2020 10:38 am