To assist the President in streamlining the process for court applications to deprive liberty (judgment has yet to be handed down), ADASS undertook a survey of local authorities in England and we issued a newsletter plea for relevant data. The response for both was overwhelming and we would particularly like to thank the large number of people and organisations that contacted us. Here we will outline the headlines, with kind permission from ADASS.

ADASS emerging findings

Projected number of referrals/requests

Click here to view table.

Base (all respondents): 108 in 2013/14, 103 in 2014/15, 93 in 2015/16

Click here to view table.

Funding shortfall

Estimated shortfall between the DoLS activity 2014-5 and the Department of Health DoLS grant allocation for the 82 local authorities that responded was £43.97 million. If this is representative of those that were not able to respond, the estimated grossed total would be £87.63 million.

Newsletter readers’ concerns

  • Shortfall in the number of trained best interests assessors; takes time to train more.
  • Shortfall in the need for additional mental health assessors.
  • Pressing need to increase the statutory deadline for urgent authorisations from 7 days to 21 days.
  • DoLS not designed for short-term detention; allow an urgent authorisation without a standard authorisation.
  • Urgent applications to the Court need to be quicker and less resource intensive, whilst avoiding a tick box exercise.
  • Further clarity required as to what amounts to continuous supervision and control.
  • Increased workload and financial implications for supervisory bodies.
  • Impact on case managing, ability to effectively review authorisations.
  • Significant disparity between cost of a DoLS authorisation and a court authorisation.
  • Likely increase in section 117 funding for satisfying the acid test in psychiatric wards (particularly dementia and learning disability).
  • Guidance required relating to 16-19 year olds, particularly in residential schools.
  • Repetitive form filling.