PLO (pre-proceedings) meetings
PLO or pre-proceedings meetings
When social workers are concerned about the welfare of a child, they may be thinking about taking the case to court so that they can ask the court to make orders to protect the child.
In most cases the Public Law Outline requires the social services department to arrange a meeting with the parent(s) to see if it is possible to reach agreement about what needs to happen to protect the child from harm, so that court proceedings can be avoided.
The hope is that the parents will come to the meeting with a solicitor. The solicitor will be able to help the parents to negotiate an agreement with the social services department to try to avoid the need to go to court. This formal meeting is often known as a “pre-proceedings meeting” or “PLO meeting”.
In some cases the social workers may feel that the risk of harm to a child is so great, or the case is so urgent, that the case should go straight to court. In these cases no meeting takes place at all.
If you have been asked to go to a PLO or pre-proceedings meeting it is important that you seek urgent legal advice. If you are a parent or person with parental responsibility you will be entitled to legal aid and you will not have to pay for legal advice.
We can advise you about how to deal with the meeting and we can come to the meeting with you in order to support you.
Here is a diagram showing the PLO process. Please click on this link – public-law-outline-flowchart