The Government has today (16 July) announced that the LPS would not be coming into force on 1 October 2020, but instead in April 2022. It has been clear for some time that 1 October was not just ambitious, but impossible, so this clarification is very welcome. In a written statement, the Care Minister, Helen Whately, told Parliament that, whilst the intention had been to bring them into force on 1 October 2020:
It is now clear that successful implementation is not possible by this October. We now aim for full implementation of LPS by April 2022. Some provisions, covering new roles and training, will come into force ahead of that date. I will continue to update the sector and stakeholders on timings.
The Government will undertake a public consultation on the draft regulations and Code of Practice for LPS. That will run for 12 weeks, allowing sufficient time for those that are affected, including those with learning disabilities, to engage properly.
The sector will need time following the publication of the final Code to prepare for implementation. We will give the sector sufficient time to prepare for the new system to ensure successful implementation. I am considering a period of approximately six months for this.
After we have considered responses to the consultation, the updated Code and regulations will need to be laid in Parliament to allow for proper scrutiny. This needs to happen well in advance of the target implementation date, first to allow for that scrutiny and second because some of the regulations need to come into force earlier.
Health and social care has been at the frontline of the nation’s response to COVID-19, with social care providers looking after many of the most vulnerable in society. We have received representations from public and private bodies from across the sector over the last few months, outlining the pressures they face if they were to implement by October 2020.
My overall objective remains to ensure implementation of an effective system in particular for those whose lives will be most affected by this legislation.
The forthcoming draft Code of Practice and regulations will also offer more detailed information about how LPS will operate in practice. I will provide a further update on the progress of implementation in due course. I hope that the additional time announced today provides reassurance to the sector.
This announcement is very timely: as the CQC has identified in its 3rd “Covid Insight” published on 15 July:
our inspectors have seen that, with providers increasingly looking towards the introduction of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), providers’ focus on DoLS has waned and training in some areas has stagnated. Poor understanding of DoLS has remained a fundamental issue. This together with the delays and uncertainty over the progress of LPS may mean there is an increasing risk of people being deprived of their liberty without the proper authorisation.
It will be very important to make clear that, with nearly 2 years left until LPS comes fully into force, training on DoLS must continue; when the revised timeline promised by the Care Minister is published, thought will need to be given as to how that training can start to move towards LPS implementation. Similarly, DoLS (and also community DoL applications) must continue to be deployed where necessary, and insofar as possible.
It is also important to flag that it is already possible for work required by DoLS and (equally, if not more importantly, community Deprivation of Liberty applications) to be done in such a way as to build towards LPS implementation. By way of example, a community DoL application (on a COPDOL11 form) already contains, in essence, all of the materials that would be required for consideration of the position under LPS.