Two-thirds of urgent DOLs decision not made within statutory timescales, Welsh report reveals

Two thirds of urgent Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards applications and roughly half of standard applications did not receive a decision within statutory timescales, a Welsh Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards monitoring report for 2017-18 has revealed.

On average, Welsh authorities took 83 days to make capacity decisions, despite guidance which states that decisions on a standard applications should be made within 28 days, and urgent applications within seven.

During 2017-18, 48 per cent (706 out of 1,482 applications that had a decision) took more than 28 days to process and 66 per cent (1,344 out of 2,049 applications that had a decision) of urgent applications took more than seven days.

Welsh local authorities have a worse track record than health boards: local authorities breached decision-making timescales on 51 per cent (standard) and 61 per cent (urgent) applications, while in health boards, the breach rate was 27 per cent (standard) and 69 per cent (urgent) applications. The report finds that the main period of delay occurs between a form being logged and being allocated to an assessor. In local authorities, once a form has been logged, it takes on average 82 days for it to be allocated, then a further 29 days for a recommendation to be made. Health Boards typically take around 13 days to allocate and 12 days for a recommendation.

The report also makes the following findings for 2017-18:

  • A total of 14,743 new DoLS applications were received by health boards and local authorities, an increase of 8 per cent from the previous year
  • The majority of individuals subject to a DoLS were female and over the age of 65
  • 47 per cent of all applications were for a standard authorisation, 39 per cent for an urgent and 14 per cent for a further authorisation
  • 31 per cent of all DoLS applications were authorised, 22 per cent were withdrawn and 6 per cent were refused. The remainder were still in progress at the end of the year. 113 authorisations underwent a review, and 72 applications were challenged in the Court of Protection.
  • There were approximately 590 DoLS applications for every 100,000 people in Wales in 2017/18.  
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