Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

25th November 2015

Dementia & Key Pad Numbers

I work in a Care Home and was on a training course where the staff of a home told me all dementia residents or residents that can not retain the key pad number for the locked door must have a DOLs, is this correct?

Thank you,


Dear Jane,

What you were told was true. There was a case in the Supreme Court in March 2014 which has become known as the Cheshire West case.

The Supreme Court decided that all three of the people on whose behalf the case was bought were being deprived of their liberty.

The Court decided this because they were:

  • Under the “continuous supervision and control” of their carers,
  • Were “not free to leave”.
  • Lacked capacity to consent to what was being done for them.

You can read more about this in the briefing document attached.

After you have read this I would suggest that arrangements are put in place for an application to be made to your local authority for each of the people in your care home who are not free to leave.

This case has led to a review of the law being started but it will be some considerable time before any change to the law is made.

I cannot stress enough that it is the legal duty of the provider to make application for a DoLS authorisation, it is then the responsibility of the local authority to decide whether or not the person is being deprived of their liberty and to decide whether or not that deprivation should be authorised.

If you have applied for a DoLS authorisation you must keep a copy of the application in case CQC do an inspection.

Best wishes.




*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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