If a local authority is involved with your family, you will have a social worker assigned to work with you and your child/ren. There are different levels of social work intervention before court proceedings and these include PLO Meetings, child protection plans and child in need plans.
The Public Law Outline (PLO) is the final stage before care proceedings are issued and this meeting is usually issued when the Local Authority has serious concerns in respect of the safety and welfare of a child.
What is the Public Law Outline?
The PLO sets out the duties local authorities have when thinking about taking a case to court to ask for a care order to take a child into care or for a supervision order to be made. This is described as initiating public law care proceedings.
What happens if PLO proceedings commence?
The Local Authority will send you a notice of intention to commence proceedings setting out the concerns they hold in respect of your family and will invite you to attend a meeting at their offices.
Should I attend the PLO meeting?
Yes, it is very important for you to attend the meeting.
Can I re-schedule the meeting?
If you are unable to attend the meeting you should advise your Social Worker immediately and request that the date is changed to a convenient time.
Who is present at the meeting?
The Social Worker will attend with the team manager together with a solicitor from the legal department. Both parents will normally be invited to the meeting together with your legal representative.
What happens during the meeting?
The Local Authority will set out their concerns together with a plan of assessments to try and avoid going to Court. Discussions will take place as to timescales involved and in most cases, a review meeting will be fixed.
Should I engage with the PLO process?
It is important that you work with the Local Authority and engage in the plan set out to avoid the matter going to Court
Is legal aid available for this?
Once you have received a notice of intention to commence care proceedings you are entitled to receive free legal advice and it is important that you take a solicitor with you to the PLO meeting.
Pre-proceedings & PLO Meetings
If you have been invited to attend a pre-proceedings meeting, you have the right to have a solicitor present with you at those meetings to assist, advise and support you. The Child Care Solicitors at our firm have a successful track record and have helped families make positive changes which have eventually resulted in social services involvement being heavily reduced.