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Statistics on safeguarding published in two new reports out today

NHS Digital has released new figures on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and Safeguarding Adults in two publications today.

NHS Digital has released new figures on Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and Safeguarding Adults in two publications today.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is a legal procedure when a person who lacks mental capacity to consent to their care or treatment is deprived of their liberty1 in a care home or hospital, in order to keep them safe from harm. In England, all deprivations of liberty that take place in a care home or hospital must be independently assessed and authorised by a local authority2.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, England, 2019-20 report provides information on applications for DoLS, including how many applications were received and completed by local authorities throughout the year. The time taken to process DoLS applications and reasons for applications not being granted are also included in the publication.

The report contains information on the demographic profile of people for whom a DoLS application was made, as well as both the planned and actual duration of authorisations granted by local authorities. 

Also published today is Safeguarding Adults, England, 2019-203, which provides details of safeguarding activity, including how many safeguarding concerns were raised, how many safeguarding enquiries4 were started and how many were completed throughout the year under Section 42 of the Care Act 20145.

The experimental statistics report inlcudes information from local authorities2 and breaks the enquiries down by the type and location of risk. It also provides a demographic analysis of individuals who were the subject of a Section 42 enquiry that started within the year, as well as the outcomes of completed enquiries where a safeguarding risk was identified.

The Safeguarding Adults Collection only includes cases of suspected abuse where a local authority safeguarding service has been notified and has entered details onto their system. It does not include cases where partner agencies have dealt with the allegation and not shared the information with the local authority. It is likely that there are cases of suspected abuse that have not been reported to local authorities.  

Further analysis of both the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and Safeguarding Adults data is available at local, regional and national levels on request.

Both these publications cover the period April 2019 to March 2020. A one-off additional data collection covering April to September 2020, which has been commissioned to assess the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on a range of social care services including Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and Safeguarding Adult cases, will be published later in the year.


Read the full reports

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2019-20

Mental Capacity Act 2005, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, England, 2019-20


Notes for editors

    1. A Supreme Court judgment of 19 March 2014 in the case of Cheshire West clarified an “acid test” for what constitutes a “deprivation of liberty”. It states that an individual is deprived of their liberty for the purposes of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights if they:
      • lack the capacity to consent to their care / treatment arrangements
      • are under continuous supervision and control
      • are not free to leave

    All three elements must be present for the acid test to be met.

    1. Where the local authorities are councils with adult social services responsibility (CASSRs)
    2. This is the fifth year of the Safeguarding Adults Collection since safeguarding became a statutory duty under the Care Act 2014. Due to changes in terminology and definitions, care must be taken when comparing data in this report to those published in the Safeguarding Adults Report in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
    3. A safeguarding concern is where a council is notified about a risk of abuse, which instigates an investigation under the local safeguarding procedures. The initial investigation may then develop into a formal investigation, known as an enquiry. Enquiries categorised as opened during the reporting year may not necessarily have concluded during the reporting year.
    4. Details of Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 can be found here:  

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Last edited: 7 September 2021 12:51 pm