LPS and DoLS – How are they different?

Dementia Care
July 22, 2021

Liberty Protection Safeguards

The Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) will take over from the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), probably in April 2022. In very real ways, they are much alike. DoLS and LPS both aim to do one essential thing, which is to protect the human rights of people who lack capacity to consent to arrangements for their safety and well-being, when those arrangements will deprive them of their liberty.

They do this by setting out clear ways for people to challenge a care plan that deprives them of their liberty, if they or their relatives think it is unnecessary or that less restrictive options should be used. They make all of us, commissioners, relatives, and care staff, look for less restrictive options in a person-sensitive way. They encourage us to find creative ways to make someone happy within a care plan that restricts their liberty to keep them safe and give them the care and treatment they need.

LPS are designed to be simpler and easier to understand than DoLS, and to fit better into the empowering framework of the Mental Capacity Act, which they are part of. There are fewer hurdles in the process; there is no form to fill in to make a referral, and the DoLS timescales have been dropped. From the perspective of most care staff, the changes will not be great. However, support staff in home care or supported living settings will have to get to grips for the first time with the systems that care homes have learned to live with since 2009. This is because LPS bring in people aged 16 and over, and people living in community settings, who are not part of DoLS.

Like all good care for people who lack mental capacity for some decisions, LPS put the person at the heart of the process. This means that the wishes and feelings, and likes or dislikes, of the person are central in planning how to care for them. LPS bring a clearer duty to listen to what the person’s family or friends tell you about them, so that their care plan fits their personality. Most importantly, in DoLS or LPS, we must always try to make any necessary restrictions on an individual’s freedom as light as possible; to do this we have to recognise their individuality.

Jonny has a learning disability and autism. He needs to be deprived of his liberty in his supported living setting because, without continuous supervision and some control, he picks up and eats unsuitable objects such as ring-pulls off cans, or cigarette ends. Jonny loves football: his care plan incorporates taking him to his local stadium to watch matches, reminding him to wear his club shirt on match days, and helping him collect pictures and posters of his club.

Rina, a former farmer, now lives with dementia: animals have always been a vital part of her life. Her care home suits her because they keep hens, and it is surrounded by farmland. It is necessary to deprive her of her liberty because she is very restless and active but gets lost easily. Her care plan includes helping to feed the hens and walks with her family along footpaths near the home.

Help with getting ready

  • There are already useful LPS factsheets and other information on the Government website; these will be updated and more added
  • Sector-specific training materials are planned, and we will share links to these as soon as they are ready
  • A new code of practice to the Mental Capacity Act, including LPS and the transition from DoLS, is being prepared and will be available before LPS come into effect
  • QCS policies will be updated for you in good time to ensure you find it easy to make the change

You can also download our Managers Guide to the Key Changes from DoLS to LPS for free here.

For QCS customers, you can locate the Managers Guide in the Resource Centre.

Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Griffiths

Mental Capacity and Human Rights Specialist


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