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At least 21,600 DoL applications recorded in first three months of 2014/15.

• Applications already outnumber last year's annual total

02 October, 2014

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

The number of Deprivation of Liberty (DoL) applications in England has already increased by 74 per cent (9,200 applications) in 130 councils compared to the total number of applications in the same councils for the whole of last year (12,400 in 2013/14), according to new quarterly figures2 from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

86 per cent of all councils (130 out of 152 councils) submitted data for the first quarter (April - June 2014). Of the applications in quarter one 2014-15, as at September 12th, 51 per cent (11,100) were granted, 12 per cent (2,700) not granted and 36 per cent (7,800) not yet completed by the Supervisory Body or withdrawn³. In 2013-14 the total number of applications for these 130 councils was 12,400, of which 58 per cent (7,200) were granted, 40 per cent (4,900) were not granted, and 2 per cent (300) were not completed by the Supervisory Body or were withdrawn as at 31st March 2014.

A DoL refers to a restriction of an individual's freedom such as physical restraint or constant supervision4. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are a set of legal requirements which ensure individuals are only deprived of their liberty in a necessary and proportionate way and provide protection for individuals once a DoL has been authorised5.

Since DoLS were introduced in 2009, applications have increased year on year. However, the main contributing factor to this quarter's larger increase is likely the Supreme Court judgment ruling in March 20146, expanding applications to include deprivations that are unopposed by the patient. Examples include people who are subject to continuous supervision or people who are not free to leave their care setting.

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "The increase in applications has shown that councils have been quick to act on the Supreme Court judgment about when it is appropriate to deprive an individual of their liberty. It is hoped that this voluntary quarterly data collection will help to monitor the scale of these types of applications and the impact the increase is having on councils, in a timely manner."

The key facts relating to this release accessed at:


Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. This data collection is voluntary and is submitted in an aggregated format to the HSCIC on a quarterly basis. The data is limited to three data fields and has been approved by the Outcomes and Information Development Board (OIDB), (now known as the Data and Outcomes Board (DOB)) and the HSCIC Programme and Service Delivery Board. Data is still collected annually in relation to the mandatory DoLS collection which is submitted to the HSCIC at case level.
  3. The total number of DoL applications in quarter one 2014-15 is provisional as some applications have not yet been completed by the Supervisory Body or withdrawn. Figures will be updated in the quarter two publication on 05 November, 2014.
  4. The Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (MCA DoLS), which came into force on 1 April 2009, provides a legal framework to prevent the unlawful deprivation of a person's liberty occurring and were introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 through the use of the Mental Health Act 2007. This report relates to one of the key safeguards, applications for authorisation to deprive someone of their liberty.
  5. DoL applications are made by care homes and hospitals to their council in order to get authorisation to provide treatment for individuals when they are unable to give informed consent regarding their care.
  6. On 19 March 2014, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the case of "P v Cheshire West and Chester Council" and "P and Q v Surrey County Council". The full judgments can be found on the Supreme Court's website at the following link:
  7. Numbers over a thousand are rounded to the nearest 100.
  8. Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.
  9. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 30 33 888.
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