Emergency reforms to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards are likely to be introduced to ease pressures as plans to replace the system have been shelved for at least two years, Community Care has learned.
Government officials are looking at ways to amend the regulations or the code of practice underpinning the DoLS that would help councils tackle the backlog of more than 100,000 cases that has built up since the Supreme Court’s 2014 ‘Cheshire West’ ruling.
This is because plans drawn up by the Law Commission for a full-scale replacement to the DoLS have been put on hold until at least 2019 because there is no space for it in the government’s programme due to Brexit.
Emergency measures under consideration include relaxing the statutory timescales for DoLS applications and the criteria for DoLS assessors, including best interests assessors (BIAs) and mental health assessors.
Any amendments to the DoLS regulations would have to be laid before parliament and any changes to the code of practice would likely need consultation. Consideration is also been given to piloting elements of the Law Commission reforms that are focused on practice, so would not need legislative reform.
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