Pre-proceeding + Public Law Outline (PLO) Solicitors
Pre-proceeding + PLO Solicitors
If social services are concerned about the welfare of your children and think they may need to go to Court, they will invite you to a pre-proceedings meeting, also known as a PLO (Public Law Outline) meeting. Pre-Proceedings is a mechanism used by Social Services (Local Authority) to assist families who may be struggling to provide adequate care for their children. Social Services, where possible, will use Pre-Proceedings as a way to assist families by setting up a rigid plan of support and expectations from both parents and the Local Authority.
The main aim of Pre-Proceedings
The main aim of Pre-Proceedings is to help families to improve the quality of care provided to their children and to avoid the need for any applications to Court being made. If your family has been placed on Pre-Proceedings, then it is vital that you engage as well as possible with your social worker and all professionals.
You will be expected to attend Pre-Proceedings meetings with the Local Authority where a plan will be drawn up. The Local Authority may ask you to complete certain tasks, these will vary depending upon the concerns that they have in relation to you. For example, if there are concerns about drug or alcohol misuse, you may be asked to engage with drug and alcohol testing and attend support services. You can also use this as an opportunity to request any support you may need from the Local Authority, for example assistance with housing or benefits.
Engage with the plan
If the Local Authority feel that you are engaging well with the Pre-Proceedings plan and that you have managed to sustain positive change, they will engage in what is called a Legal Planning Meeting with more senior members of the Local Authority and may decide to ‘de-register’ you from Pre-Proceedings.
If this happens, then you will be expected to maintain the progress you have made and the Local Authority may continue to monitor your family under a Child Protection or Child in Need plan.
If, however, you fail to engage well and minimal or no change is made to your circumstances, the Local Authority will discuss this at a Legal Planning Meeting. If they feel that your children are being placed at risk of harm or are suffering harm, they will likely make a decision to apply to the Court for a statutory order to allow them to remove your children from your care.
How can we help?
If Social Services are involved with your family and you have been asked to attend a Pre-Proceedings meeting or a PLO meeting, you will automatically be eligible for Legal Aid and have the right to have a Solicitor present with you at those meetings for support and advice. We are highly experienced in cases of the kind and have helped many families to make positive changes which has lead to the Local Authority’s involvement being heavily reduced. Please contact us for immediate advice on 0151 480 5777.