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Latest statistics for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards published by NHS Digital

28 September 2016: Annual statistics have been released today by NHS Digital on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) applications made to councils in England.

*NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Information is available at Local Authority level

Mental Capacity Act (2005) Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (England): 2015-16 contains summary analysis of the DoLS applications reported as having been received and/or completed by Local Authorities during the reporting year3.

Since 2009, care providers have had to seek approval from their Local Authority if they need to deprive an individual lacking capacity of their liberty, as part of their care and/or treatment4.

Today's report analyses the second full year of data since the Supreme Court judgment4 of March 2014, which led to a substantial increase in the number of DoLS applications received by councils.

The number of applications received during the period is analysed by:

  •  the period when received (monthly for April 2014 to March 2016. Annual time series are available from 2009-10 through to 2015-16)
  •  application status and outcome5
  •  demographic information of people who have been the subject of a DoLS application

The full annual report is at:


Notes to editors

1.    NHS Digital is the national information and technology provider for the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better. As at 22 August 2016, NHS Digital was responsible for 93 active (currently published or planned for future release) series of Official Statistics of which 29 are designated as National Statistics.  During the 2015/16 financial year (01/04/15 to 31/03/16), NHS Digital published 294 statistical reports. NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). We provide 'Information and Technology for better health and care'. Find out more about our role and remit at

2.    A Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) refers to a restriction of an individual's freedom such as physical restraint or constant supervision. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) provides a legal framework for the lawful deprivation of liberty of those people who lack capacity to consent to arrangements made for their care or treatment. The legislation only covers individuals who are in hospitals or care homes and can only be authorised when it is assessed to be in the best interests of the individual concerned, to protect them from harm.  The safeguards relate to adults aged 18 and over and only apply to individuals who have a mental health condition and lack the capacity to make specific decisions about their care.

3.    DoLS collection is mandatory for all councils in England. Applications that have not yet been processed are also analysed for completeness.

4.    The Supreme Court judgement of 19 March 2014 in the case of "Cheshire West" marked a significant change to established practice, effectively lowering the threshold for what is considered to be a deprivation of liberty.

5.    Application status refers to whether the application has been 'completed' by the local authority and a decision has been made or not. Application outcome is whether the decision made was to grant a deprivation of liberty authorisation or not.

6.    For media enquires please contact or telephone 0300 30 33 888.

Last edited: 11 April 2018 5:36 pm