A PLO meeting is a Public Law Outline meeting which fits into the guidance set as to how care proceedings should be conducted.
When a Social Worker is concerned about a child’s welfare, they may invite parents to a Public Law Outline meeting. This is normally done by way of a letter headed ‘letter before proceedings’ and it will have a list of concerns enclosed with it.
A PLO meeting tends to be the last opportunity to try to resolve matters by agreement prior to the instigation of care proceedings.
What will happen at this meeting?
The main reason for the meeting is to discuss the concerns the local authority has with the parents, what needs to change and to see whether an agreement can be reached in order to prevent the local authority commencing care proceedings.
If an agreement can be reached, the local authority will draw up a written agreement which will need to be signed by the parents, social worker and team manager.
A PLO meeting may also be used to inform the parents that care proceedings are being commenced if they feel the risk of harm to the child is too high.
What should I do if I receive a PLO letter?
If you receive a letter from the local authority inviting you to a PLO meeting, it is vital that you seek legal advice as soon as possible so a solicitor can attend the meeting with you to advise you and provide a response to the concerns.
If you do not attend the meeting, care proceedings may be issued.
Will I have to pay for my legal advice?
If you are a parent or someone who holds parental responsibility, you will not have to pay for legal fees as you will be entitled to legal aid.
Machaela is a paralegal in the St Austell Family Team. If you wish to seek advice in relation to Social Services involvement, Machaela can be contacted on 01726 74433 or email email@example.com.