If social services are concerned about the well-being of your children and think they might need to go to court, they will invite you to a preparatory meeting, also known as the Public Law Outline (PLO) meeting.
During the meeting, you can expect to talk about:
- The content of your letter prior to the procedure
- Concerns of social workers
- The support they have offered you
- What you need to do to reduce worrying about your children
- The timeframe they will give you to complete the actions you all decide on before things go to court
There will be a written record of the meeting in case anyone needs the information in the future.
You may have had meetings with social workers before, but a PLO meeting is different because it is often the last chance to discuss their concerns before the social workers ask to go to court about your children.
What is the purpose of a PLO meeting?
The purpose of the meeting is to discuss what needs to happen to protect your children and thus prevent legal proceedings from taking place.
Everyone at the meeting will have your children’s best interests in mind and the goal is to put in place a plan to improve the situation for you and your children.
Who can attend a PLO meeting?
At the meeting, you can expect your social worker to bring in a lawyer to advise him, and you have the right to have a lawyer come in as well. You are entitled to legal aid if you choose to obtain legal advice that will cover the costs for you.
Our Lawyers Care Procedures have helped many parents who have been invited to a PLO meeting and we can give you advice tailored to your situation.
How long does a PLO meeting last?
The meeting won’t be too long, but it will last as long as it takes to discuss all of the social workers’ concerns and make a clear plan of what to do next.
After the PLO meeting, the plan you develop will typically be reviewed within 6-8 weeks to see if things improve or if the Court will need to get involved.
The overall pre-procedure process can take several months. If the social workers think things have started to improve for your children, they might decide that court won’t be necessary.
If social workers don’t think there has been any change, they can move your case forward to legal proceedings, but your care lawyer can talk to you about this if this happens and help you to. prepare and continue to represent you in legal proceedings.
You should work closely with your lawyer and social worker throughout the pre-litigation process to make sure you get all the advice you can get and to reduce the chances of having to go to court.
You will likely have regular meetings with your case worker and we can give you as much legal advice as you need during the PLO process.
Our Care Procedures team is made up of experts, so we can spot the signs if we think things are going to go to court, and we can discuss your options if so. Contact us for a first advice today.