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Article 5 of the Human Rights Act sets out the person’s right to freedom. But sometimes a person’s freedom needs to be restricted in order to fulfil their care needs and keep them safe. If an adult has a disorder or disability of the mind and lacks capacity about their care as it relates to the restrictions placed upon them then they would be eligible for a 'DoLS' (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) if they are being deprived of their liberty in a care home or hospital setting (as long as they are not already detained under the MHA). A DoLS would make the deprivation of liberty (DoL) legal and provide safeguards in that an independent professional assessment would be required to ascertain whether the person does indeed lack capacity and whether it is, in fact, in their best interests to be detained in this setting. The person would also have the right to appeal /challenge the DoLS authorisation, and challenge any conditions or absence of desired conditions in the DOLS. A DOLS would be needed regardless of whether the person was OK about being detained, as they don’t have the capacity to decide this anyway.
The local council must appoint a Relevant Person’s Representative (RPR) for the detained person, as soon as possible and practical, for all people they authorise a DoLS for. An RPR is a vital safeguard for the person. They visit the person and advocate for them on any issues regarding the DoLS. They can request and provide support for a review of the DoLS or instigate a challenge of the DoLS through the Court of Protection if the person is unhappy about their restrictions. Also they can support the person to make sure that any recommendations such as working towards independence which are specified in the DOLS paperwork are being carried out.
An RPR needs to be aged 18+ and be able to visit the person – they also need to be in agreement about being appointed and there can’t be any conflict of interest. This is often a family member of the person (and they do it in an unpaid capacity) or, if there aren’t any family members who can be the RPR then an Independent Advocate can be appointed and they will do it in a paid capacity.
To refer to the Advocacy Yorkshire spot-purchase RPR service please email the relevant paperwork, along with a completed spot-purchase authorisation form (which can be downloaded below) via your secure email service or in password protected files to firstname.lastname@example.org.