Assessing Liberty


Two weeks tomorrow,  the Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards went live. As of this week, my borough have had two referrals for assessments. I know this as I was asked to complete the first assessment – after some discussion, gracefully withdrew as although I was not involved in that particular individual’s care, I had had some previous knowledge and contact with him so it was felt best to play safe – on the basis that there were many other Best Interests Assessors to choose from.

I also know about the second one because I have agreed to complete it and it is someone who has been under the care of a different team in a different part of the borough so there is no chance of any prior knowledge.

These referrals though, mean that I’ve had a few conversations with our DoLs co-ordinator and who has shared some interesting snippets with me. There has been no ‘rush’ on referrals nationally. They have been in contact with a fair few coordinators around the country and most seem to be indicating at most, a handful of assessment requests.

They said although the requests have not been pouring in, the office has been busy with fielding information at a fairly rapid rate, mostly from care homes. It seems that the process without leading necessarily to assessments, might be initiating some earlier reviews and questions about the appropriateness of particular placements including one discussion which has triggered full adult protection procedures as a proposed ‘deprivation of liberty’ was hovering close to the line of abuse.

As for me, I’m quite glad to get an assessment in my hands. There was a request for an urgent authorisation in this case which would usually give me a seven day (calendar days, that is!) period however, as we are in the ‘transition’ period, I have 21 days to complete the assessment – which is quite fortunate as it fell over the Easter period and we would have been cutting things quite fine otherwise.

Ideally, I’d like to have it done by the end of the week – but to lean on an exceptionally old cliche – watch this space..

4 thoughts on “Assessing Liberty

    • Indeed, in fact, just a couple of minutes ago, I read your post. It raises a really interesting point though about what exactly the purposes of the guidelines are if they aren’t used in those kinds of situations.
      The guidance we’ve been given is that the barrier between deprivation and restriction of liberty is to be set particularly high but I imagine and expect case law to be formulated before long as it makes no different having a change in the law if it is just gamed to that extent.

  1. Funny how the DoH message has changed and their last DOLS news letter has stated that the law should be used as a ‘last resort’. I agree about the case law but would imagine it to be so case specific that it too will only act as a guide and be subject to further interpretation.

    But I didn’t expect it to be this quiet….and there must a lot of reduntant BIAs out there

    Look forward to hearing about your first assessment. I am on a constant round of training and awarness raising with wards and care homes and fielding enquiries. First assessment should be next week.

    • I’ve been relying on case law appearing to help clarify so many of the uncertainties! And yes, it is funny that there seems to be so little happening after all the panic leading up to it.
      Pop back in after your assessment and let me know how it goes, or feel free to contact me on the contact form and I can put it up as a post even!

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