Health & Welfare Glossary

This is someone who checks that a person is being cared for or looked after in the right way, and decides if they are being deprived of their liberty.

Best Interests Assessor

A person who writes a report for the local authority to tell them if the person who is being deprived of their liberty needs an authorisation.

Best Interest Meeting

This is a meeting organised by the local authority to make a decision about someone who doesn’t have the capacity to make that decision themselves. The local authority should invite lots of people to the meeting who have an interest in the person’s welfare and want their voice to be heard.


This is a term which refers to someone’s ability to be able to decide something for themselves. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that everyone is presumed to have capacity until it is decided that they lack the capacity. There are four stages that must be considered in deciding whether someone has capacity:

Can they understand the relevant information?
Can they remember the information to be able to make the decision?
Can they use or weigh up the information as part of the decision making process?
Can they communicate the decision?

Capacity Assessment

This is a report which looks at whether a person has the capacity to be able to make a specific decision.

Code of Practice

A rule book about the deprivation of liberty safeguards which helps ensure that professionals all follow the same guidance.

Court of Protection

This is a Court that deals with adults who do not have capacity to make their own decision about a specific issue. If there is disagreement between people about what should happen, the court then makes the decision on behalf of that person.


The term ‘DOL’ stands for deprivation of liberty. This refers to any act which stops or restricts someone from doing something.


The term ‘DoLS’ refers to deprivation of liberty safeguards. These are a set of rules and procedures which apply to those over the age of 18. They protect people who are in hospitals or care homes to make sure that they are being looked after properly and if they are being deprived of their liberty, it is because it is in their best interests.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Authorisation

This is an agreement from the local authority which permits someone to be deprived of their liberty. Authorisations can be urgent authorisations or standard authorisations.

The local authority can only authorise someone to be deprived of their liberty if they are living in a registered hospital or care home. If they are not living in a registered care home or hospital, only the Court of Protection can approve the deprivation of liberty.

European Convention on Human Rights

This is a document which gives everybody in Europe the same human rights. These rights must be respected unless it is necessary to restrict them. Article 5 provides that the right to liberty. No one can therefore be deprived of their liberty without lawful authorisation.


An ‘IMCA’ is an independent mental capacity advocate. They are an independent person who is appointed to represent the views of someone who doesn’t have capacity.

Managing Authority

This is the place or people who are in charge of the care or treatment of the person, for example a care home or hospital.

Mental Capacity Act 2005

The law that sets out when someone has capacity (or doesn’t) and how decisions should be made when a person cannot decide something for themselves.


This is a procedure to check that a person still needs to be deprived of their liberty. How often a DOL is reviewed will depend on the person’s circumstances but should not be less than once per year.

If you are concerned about a person being deprived of their liberty and you do not agree with it, you can ask for a review. You can also challenge a local authority even if it has made a standard authorisation.


speaks to them to check they are being looked after properly. They can also put forward views on behalf of that person.

Supervisory Body

This is the body that makes the decision whether somebody can be lawfully deprived of their liberty; either the local authority or primary care trust.

Standard Authorisation

This is an authorisation given by the supervisory body (eg the local authority) to the managing authority (eg the care home) which allows a person to be deprived of their liberty. A standard authorisation can only be given if the person is staying in a registered care home or hospital.A standard authorisation can only be in place for a specified period of time, and authorisations must be reviewed. Generally, authorisations shouldn’t be in place for more than a year without a review.

If you do not agree with a standard authorisation you can challenge it.

Urgent Authorisation

This can be given by the manager of the place where the person is being detained (for example a care home). It can only be used when a person needs to be detained before a standard authorisation can be considered and can only last for 7 days. An urgent authorisation can only be given if the managing authority at the same time makes a request for a standard authorisation.