A parental guide to PLO/pre-proceedings

July 11th, 2022

What is PLO or Pre-Proceedings?

The Public Law Outline (PLO) sets out the duties that the Local Authority have when considering taking a case to court to ask for a care or supervision order.

If the Local Authority feel that concerns and risks to a child are not being addressed or insufficient progress is being made through your child in need or child protection plan, they may initiate pre- proceedings/a PLO meeting.

The purpose of pre- proceedings is to allow a final chance for you to make changes before the matter is taken to court. It also allows the Local Authority to step up their involvement to enforce how serious the matter is. It is important to remember that this process is a means to acknowledge what needs to be done in order to safeguard your child/children and that this is the ultimate goal for everyone involved.

How do I know if PLO / Pre-proceedings have begun?

If you are a parent, or have parental responsibility, you will receive a pre-proceeding letter. The letter should advise you of the concerns that the Local Authority have and the work that they wish for you to carry out to avoid court proceedings.

The letter should give you a date, time and venue for a pre-proceedings meeting and should also inform you that Legal Aid is automatically available to fund the process.

If you receive this letter, it is important that you instruct a children panel solicitor immediately.

What happens at the PLO/ Pre-proceedings meeting?

The pre-proceedings meeting will be attended by your social worker, their team leader and their legal representative and by you as the parents or person with parental responsibility and we will attend and represent your interests at this meeting.

During the meeting, everyone will discuss the concerns, the changes that need to be made and the work that needs to be carried out and the support that the Local Authority can provide to you.

A contract of expectations will then be agreed setting out the Plan of action agreed.

The meeting will last approximately 1 hour.

What should I do after the PLO/Pre-proceeding meeting?

Ensure that you stick to the requirements of your contract of expectations!

If you are unable to comply with your contract, you should inform your social worker and solicitor immediately so that a review can take place.

The outcome of PLO/Pre-proceedings

  • The Local Authority ends it involvement with your family due to positive changes
  • The Local Authority as from a further period of assessment and support
  • The Local Authority makes an application to the Court

Always remember

We all want a happy ending and share the same goal of keeping you and your children together in the safest way possible.