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Home » DoLS in focus: The role of the Supervisory Body (SB)

DoLS in focus: The role of the Supervisory Body (SB)

Manor house on a misty day

The role and responsibilities of the Supervisory Body are outlined in the Code of Practice for DoLS (2008). In England the SB is most commonly the Local Authority, but could also be the Primary Care Trust. Meanwhile in Wales the SB will be either the Local Health Board or Welsh Ministers.

Responsibilities of the Supervisory Body

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, there is a ‘positive duty’ on all local authorities (including in the role of SB) to protect people’s rights. This is a guiding principle that feeds into the other main responsibilities for the SB. A summary of these responsibilities are outlined below:

  1. Triage referrals and arranging the appropriate assessments, that are to be completed within the directed 21 days (see sections: 3.3, 3.7, 3.17-18, 4.1, 4.9-4.17). 
  2. Selecting suitable assessors, ensuring they have appropriate qualifications and experience to fulfil these requirements.
    • They should also identify an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA), if appropriate, to ensure the relevant person has support for their voice as appropriate (3.22). This process should be clearly documented and monitored, with regular review and audits.
  3. The SB has final responsibility of the DoLS authorisation, scrutinising the assessments, within which they are to state the authorisation period and any associated conditions (1.4, 3, 5)
  4. The SB should also identify a suitable RPR, inform them of their role, and obtain signed consent to confirm (5.6, 7).
  5. The SB should keep all relevant people informed, providing information appropriately within lines with legislation and best practice. This includes giving copies of the assessments to the Managing Authority, relevant person, appropriate legal representatives (Lasting/enduring powers of attorney or deputy) and designated advocate(s) / RPR (5.4, 5.7, 7).
  6. If an authorisation is not granted, the SB should ensure that relevant people are informed promptly, with direction for next recommended actions.
    • In the case of Urgent Authorisations, these must be seen to at a senior level (6).
  7. The SB should consider all reviews with great care, weighing up which assessments would be appropriate and why (8).
  8. The SB must further take due care if directing use of equivalent assessments at any point, while clearly recording the justification (4.4-4.8).
  9. The SB can suspend an authorisation for a short period if the individual is admitted to hospital for a physical health need. If they do this, they must inform the relevant person.

Throughout all of the above, the Supervisory Body must ensure they actively adhere to the five principles of the Mental Capacity Act (2005).

Help and support

For further guidance and support with the DoLS process, including training, and mental capacity assessments, please do get in touch.

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