Deprivation of Liberty safeguards

There are occasions when a person who resides in a care home or hospital will need to have their freedom restricted. This is usually when they lack the mental capacity to make a decision about where they reside for their care and support.

A decision to deprive a person of their liberty should only happen when there is no other alternative to meet the person’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs. 

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs) apply to anyone who is: 

  • aged 18 or older 
  • suffering from a disorder or disability of the mind 
  • lacks the capacity to consent to their care or treatment 
  • under continuous supervision and control 
  • not free to leave   
  • receiving care or treatment that amounts to a deprivation of liberty 

How to make a referral

Care homes and hospitals must apply to the local authority for the necessary authorisation. The appropriate forms can be found on the GOV.UK website. 

There are two referral forms: 

  1. ADASS Form 1 - this is to be used when no previous application from the care setting has been made
  2. ADASS Form 2 - this is to be used where there has been a previous Standard Authorisation (DoLS) granted and the care home/hospital would like to extend it

Supporting information


Applications should be sent to the local authority where the person is ordinarily resident. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to work out where the person is ordinarily resident. Please follow the suggested guidelines, or you can contact the North Somerset DoLS Office for advice. 

Care homes

If you are in a care home, you will usually need to send your application to the local authority who is funding the care.

For example, if North Somerset Council are funding the person's care then the application needs to be sent to North Somerset Council. 


If you are in a care home but are self-funded, you will usually need to send your application to the local authority that governs the area in which the person lives. 


If the person is currently in hospital, the application will usually be sent to the local authority that governs the area where the person's home is based.  

For example, if a person is admitted to a Bristol hospital, but their home address is in North Somerset, then the application would need to go to North Somerset Council. 

What happens next

After you submit your application, you will receive an automatic confirmation of receipt.

We will triage all referrals into one of four categories:

  • urgent
  • high
  • medium
  • low  

Next a Best Interests Assessor (BIA) and a Mental Health Assessor (MHA) will be appointed to your case. Then we will undertake six assessments. These include a review of: 

  • age
  • mental health 
  • eligibility 
  • no refusals
  • best interests
  • mental capacity 

More information about the specific assessments can be found on the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website. 

Once an application is made there is no need to make any follow-up applications unless the individual’s circumstances change. This applies even if the case is triaged in the lower categories and over a year has passed. 

If restrictions increase over and above what you have informed us about in your previous application, you will need to submit a new or revised application. This may include things like the introduction of covert medications or physical restraint.  

Decisions and outcomes

At the end of this process, the decision will be one of the following:

  • a standard authorisation is granted for a period up to maximum of one year
    • after this time a new application will need to be made to request an extension
  • a standard authorisation is not granted - this will be because one of the six assessments has failed

Relevant Person's Representative (RPR)

Anyone under a DoLs safeguard will be appointed a Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR). This may be someone chosen by the person, a family member, or a friend.

If there is no one available, or if there is a conflict of interest, we will appoint an independent paid representative.  This will usually be an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA).


If a person or their representative disagrees with the Standard Authorisation, they have a right to appeal this in the Court of Protection.

A review can also be requested by the local DoLS team via a Part 8 review. Requests for a review should be made via ADASS form 10 and submitted to us via email. 

Deprivation of Liberty team