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Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) Implementation Delay

Statement from the British Association of Social Workers

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) welcomes the statement by Helen Whateley (Minister of State (Minister for Care)), Department of Health & Social Care, confirming the delay of the implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) until April 2022. This is because it brings clarity to the sector in both England and Wales at a time when so much focus needs to be on responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

However, we remain concerned for the welfare of the many vulnerable people in care homes and elsewhere who are not yet protected by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, or whose reviews have been delayed by lack of resources in local government.

BASW will engage fully with the 12-week consultation period that has been announced by the government. We look forward to working with the relevant departments in England and Wales to further develop the implementation of the LPS.

We also ask that governments in both countries ensure that the resources needed in the interim are made available, so that care services are able to protect people who are deprived of their liberty, as they are some of the most at risk people in society.

In order for the 12-week consultation to be fully inclusive, both the Westminster and Welsh governments must support people with lived experience to meaningfully participate in the process.

BASW also recognises that the LPS will be a substantial change in law and practice for some parts of the social care and social work workforce. Therefore both governments should do prior educational and publicity work to ensure that the sector is ready for the 12-week consultation. 

This is especially critical given the planned revisions to the Code of Practice for the Mental Capacity Act 2005 have yet to be published, despite the UK Ministry of Justice stating that this would take place immediately ahead of LPS implementation.

We urge the governments in England and Wales to ensure that the LPS consultation and revised MCA Code publication do not occur simultaneously as this will take up significant capacity within a sector already severely depleted because of COVID-19.

Allison Hulmes.  National Director, BASW Cymru

Claire Barcham.  Chair, Mental Health Group for BASW England