The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards is the procedure prescribed in law when it is necessary to deprive a resident or patient who lacks the capacity to consent to the care of their liberties. This is in order to keep them safe from harm. Deprivation of Liberty in the Community follows a similar level of restriction or restraints but for individuals living in settings other than a hospital or care home.
When I was first tasked with setting up the Deprivation of Liberty in the Community (DoLiC) team within Kirklees Council, I knew this was going to be an uphill battle – everyone has heard of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and this seems to be engrained into Social Workers practice however DOLIC appeared to be a new concept to everyone.
In fact, DOLIC is not new at all and from the moment Cheshire West judgement hit in 2014 this brought DOLIC’s into the forefront of the legal mind but not necessarily that of care management – the DOLIC team was tasked to change this!
How we established a DOLIC team
The team began their journey to embed the principles of DoL into the community within the workforce of Kirklees and the DOLIC team emerged.
During the two years we have been up and running we have provided training on DOLIC awareness not only to professionals within Kirklees but to partner agencies, providers, and carers within the community.
We have tried to dispel the myth that we are “agents of the state” with families wondering why so much emphasis has been paid to support often informal support within their own homes.
- We explain how we are trying to uphold Human Rights, to Safeguard their loved ones and that we are not there to judge or criticise and, more importantly from their perspective, to change anything if the care plan is working. Most families we have worked with over the two years are accepting and happy for the process to continue.
It can be a scary concept when families are faced with the prospect of going to the “Court of Protection” and writing statements. The aim of the DOLIC team is to make the process as clear and pain free as possible.
At Kirklees we have a very efficient DOLS service already and can proudly say we do not have a waiting list. The hope is, after embedding the principles and practice, the DOLIC team will run as efficiently as the DOLS team. There is an ambition to take a lead in how we shape services within the DoLS/Dolic/LPS world with Kirklees starting in a strong position to implement LPS.
Embedding DOLIC into Care Management
We are working closely with our colleagues in Children’s, scoping, raising awareness and working towards embedding DOLIC process into care management. We are also recognising the potential for a DOLIC at 15.5 in prep for potential submission to court at 16.
This will streamline the process from the beginning in the hopes that by transition into adulthood, individuals will transfer to adult’s services with a DOLIC already in place, with the engagement already established with families and carers. This is also in preparation for Liberty Protection Safeguarding (LPS) upskilling social workers within the teams to complete capacity assessments.
Building the Team Going Forward
We have strengthened the teams in adults, moving towards a single Mental Capacity Act Team led by two team managers who have responsibility for the DOL and DOLIC teams, implementing L and taking the MCA lead role.
By structuring the teams this way, it is hoped that we can share the expertise we have across the council and partner agencies – embedding good practice within all areas of social care and going back to basics with things like the Mental Capacity Act and Care Act principles to get the foundations right.
This is not something for us to do in isolation- we have built great relationships within the learning and development team, quality improvement colleagues and with our Principal Social Worker to identify where there are opportunities to improve quality and consistency.
We are a relatively small team however with the expertise and knowledge of the wider services within the council we become a great team and as a council are committed and encouraged to provide the best services to the people we support.
Kirklees Council have written pieces for GE Insights before this, other content they have contributed to the platform includes the post: Co-Producing Direct Payments that Work for Everyone in Adult Social Care