Yesterday, on 6 August 2020, the Government published the above White Paper. The purpose of the White Paper is to do the following: “Planning for the future, landmark reforms to speed up and modernise the planning system and get the country building”.
It was announced by the Government on 16 July 2020 that the implementation of Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) has been delayed until April 2022. No date has been set, with April 2022 being described as the “aim for full implementation”.
Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), due to replace the current Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) scheme, were due to be implemented in October 2020. Many people expressed concern that this date was unachievable, even before Covid-19 changed the landscape.
The Government remain optimistic that some provisions of the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019 will come into force before April 2022 but have not yet set out exactly which provisions these will be.
The Government plan to undertake a 12-week public consultation on the draft regulations and Code of Practice for LPS. There will then be a period of 6 months to prepare for the implementation.
I am sure this delay was expected by many, if not everyone, working in this area due to the pressures of Covid-19. These pressures are not only faced by the Government, but by those on the front line of health and social care, who are unlikely to have had the time to undergo training and make changes to their practices ready for LPS to be implemented.
It has already been 6 years since the House of Lords Select Committee published their scathing report and recommended that DoLS be replaced. It is therefore disappointing that the “not fit for purpose” DoLS system will remain in place for at least another 17 months. It is, however, welcome news that the LPS regulations and Code of Practice will be properly scrutinised over time, ensuring that people’s rights to liberty are properly protected.
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