Skip to content

The DoLS backlog: What it means for local authorities

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) were introduced as a part of the Mental Capacity Act (2005). They’re designed to protect the Human Rights of adults who don’t have the mental capacity to consent to their programmes of care – which may sometimes entail restrictions on their freedom. 

Blog - 800x440 - The DoLS backlog


DoLS were introduced, ultimately, to ensure that these restrictions are always in the best interests of those affected, and that they are proportionate to their needs.  

For authorities and care providers, DoLS require the regular and consistent monitoring of affected persons. Whilst this can be resource intensive, the challenge many local authorities face concern backlogs in applications. For instance, between 2022-23, 300,765 DoLS applications were made, setting a new record. 

This backlog threatens to jeopardise the Human Rights and wellbeing of the individuals involved. Moreover, they also expose authorities to financial penalties, reputational damage, and even legal challenges. The difficulties associated with them span the likes of…

•    Increased expenditure, often stemming from the need for additional staff and resources. This prevents the allocation of resources to other, critical areas within the public sector.
•    A lack of compliance, due to broken timeframes and missed deadlines.
•    Severe reputational damage, due to the impact delayed DoLS can have on the affected individuals, their families, and broader communities. 
•    A general decline in the level of care being provided, as individuals are unable to access the services and support their circumstances require – leaving them vulnerable and exposed. 

However, tackling the DoLS backlog requires time, resources, and funds that many authorities simply don’t have. Moreover, choosing a suitable partner with the experience and sensitivity required for the task can prove challenging. 

Any appropriate strategy must be able to address, what often amounts to, a large number of applications over a relatively short period of time (the national average for England is currently 154 days) – all whilst ensuring that each application is processed accurately and with the best interests of the affected person in mind. Any errors of judgement, or inability to deliver, threatens to make an already challenging problem worse – exposing authorities and their communities to further risk. 

For many local authorities, then, tackling DoLS backlogs internally isn’t feasible at a time marked by extensive budgetary pressure and the pressing need for consistent service delivery. Choosing a reliable partner, with full confidence, is often the most appropriate solution. 

At Bloom, we’ve provided the UK public sector with the go-to procurement solution for professional services since 2012. We’ve earnt the trust of over 500 organisations, delivering projects with a combined value in excess of £1 billion.

Our team of procurement specialists, and our extensive community of accredited suppliers, have helped authorities decisively clear their DoLS backlogs – protecting the rights of their communities, and freeing up much needed time and resources.

In addition to this support, our fully managed and compliant procurement solution provides…

•    A rapid route to market in as little as 13 days, through mini competitions and direct awards 
•    Average savings of 14% against budget 
•    A managed approach that handles each aspect of the procurement process for you, eliminating all of the admin 
•    An easy way to embed, measure, and report on social value 

Our team would be delighted to hear about your DoLS goals, and to share how we can address your unique requirements. Contact our team today.