What is PLO?
The Public Law Outline (PLO) or pre-proceedings meetings are a formal meeting where Social Services meet with the parent(s) to discuss their concerns around the risk of harm to a child and what the parents need to do to avoid going to Court, for the court to consider removal of the child.
PLO meetings give families a final opportunity to make the necessary changes to prevent the issue of Care Proceedings.
A legal representative of the Social Services legal team will attend the meeting to advise the Social Worker and outline any possible legal action.
Social Services will also request the names and contact details of family members to be assessed to care for the child in the event that Care Proceedings are issued.
If there is an emergency and the risk to a child is too great, the case will go straight to Court and there will be no PLO meeting.
What should I do?
Before a PLO a parent is given a ‘Letter before Proceedings’ inviting them to a meeting. The parent is encouraged to attend the meeting with a Solicitor. You should seek urgent legal advice and hand your solicitor this Letter. The Solicitor will help negotiate a way forward with Social Services and come to an agreement as to what is expected and what needs to be done.
Your solicitor is there to act on your behalf and has a duty to act in your best interests. They will not just agree with what social services say and may also challenge them on your behalf.
It is important that you attend any PLO meeting as failure to do so may contribute to social services starting Court proceedings.
If your case is urgent and is immediately listed before the Court, you should seek legal advice and contact us without delay.
What will it Cost?
If you are a parent or a person with parental responsibility you will be entitled to Legal Aid and you will not have to pay for legal advice or for a Solicitor to attend at the meetings to support you, regardless of your financial situation. This Legal Aid will also cover a Solicitor attending to represent you at all subsequent review PLO meetings.
Legal Aid is also available to parent(s) who find themselves before the Court in Care Proceedings.
We have represented parent(s) and extended family members in PLO and/or Care Proceedings across the country buy predominantly in South Yorkshire including Doncaster, Barnsley, Sheffield and Rotherham.
We at Chris Stevenson Solicitors are happy to advise, assist and support you in all Social Services matters.