Children’s Services may decide to call a PLO or Pre-Proceedings Meeting (also known as Letter Before Action Meeting) if they have serious concerns about your children.
You will be sent a letter setting out all the concerns and how it is felt that things need to improve for your children. If the improvements are not made it is likely that Children’s Services, through their solicitors, will issue Care Proceedings.
Unlike Child Protection Meetings or Core Group Meetings, these are legal meetings, and you are entitled to be legally represented. You will have the benefit of Legal Aid to cover your legal fees, whatever your financial circumstances. Your children’s social worker, team manager, and head of social worker will also attend the meeting together with their legal representative.
It is usual for all the children’s parents or special guardians to attend the meeting. If there are reasons why you would not wish to have a meeting with your children’s other parent(s), you should explain this to the children’s social worker, and they will arrange separate meetings.
During the meeting, the children’s social worker will go through the letter you have received, and you will be given an opportunity to discuss the concerns and the way to address these You will be able to ask for legal advice during the meeting and it will be possible to take a break from the meeting if you wish to receive detailed legal advice.
We are able to support you in the meeting and give you the legal advice you require. We will have discussed the letter with you ahead of the meeting and taken your views on the issues raised.
It is likely that there will be one or more review meetings to see whether the concerns of Children’s Services have been addressed. We will attend those meetings with you.
At the end of the process, if Children’s Services are satisfied that the children’s situation has improved, then they will take the matter out of the legal process. If not, Care Proceedings will be issued.