A PLO meeting (also known as a 'pre-proceedings meeting', or a 'letter before action meeting') may be called by Children’s Services if they have serious concerns about your children.
You will be sent a letter setting out their concerns and how 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.
What is PLO?
Unlike Child Protection Meetings or Core Group Meetings, these are legal meetings, and you are entitled to be legally represented.
Whatever your financial circumstances, you will have the benefit of Legal Aid to cover your legal fees. Your children’s social worker, team manager, and the local authority's head of social work will also attend the meeting, together with their legal representatives.
It is usual for all the children’s parents or special guardians to attend the meeting. If there are reasons you do not wish to have a meeting with your children’s other parent(s), you should explain this to the children’s social worker. 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. 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 provide the legal advice you require. We will discuss the letter with you ahead of the meeting and take 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 too.
At the end of the PLO process, if Children’s Services are satisfied that the children’s situation has improved, they will not take legal action. If not, Care Proceedings will be issued.