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What is a PLO meeting?

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We understand that the welfare of your children is of paramount importance, and if you are looking for legal advice to improve your situation, there may be terms or parts of the process that you do not understand.  Steph Preston, Family Law Paralegal, here explains what a PLO meeting is, and what you should do if you are invited to a meeting of this nature. 

PLO stands for ‘Public Law Outline’ which is a set of rules guiding social workers in how to deal with cases where they think a child may be at risk of harm in their home. Parents or a person with parental responsibility may be invited to a PLO meeting if children’s services are concerned about the welfare of a child. This meeting can also be called a ‘pre-proceedings meeting’.

Children’s services may have concerns about the care the child is receiving and this meeting is used to discuss how everyone can assist in trying to improve the care of that child. Should the care of that child not improve then children’s services may look to make an application to the Court for orders which will then protect the children.

What will happen at a PLO meeting?

Parents are told to instruct their own Solicitor who can then attend the PLO meeting with them. Together with the social worker and the Local Authority’s Solicitor, they can try and reach an agreement on how to keep their child safe and well. For example, the social worker might request that the parent undertake specific parenting courses, make a change in their behaviour or propose support for mental health or substance abuse. The aim of the meeting is to see if any problems can be fixed without the need for going to Court.

In some cases, the concerns are so serious that the PLO meeting may be used to inform the parents that an application to Court is going to be made imminently.

What should I do if I receive a PLO letter?

If you receive a letter inviting you to a PLO meeting then you should seek urgent legal advice. This will not cost you anything as a parent or person with parental responsibility will be entitled to Legal Aid. If you do not attend the meeting then the Local Authority may make the application to the Court and care proceedings will be issued.

If you have received a PLO letter and you are unsure as to how to proceed, we know that you will be feeling concerned and confused.  We can offer you practical and compassionate advice and help you come to a resolution with your children's best interested at heart.  Contact Steph or a member of the Family team on 023 8071 7431 or email today to set up your appointment.  Alternatively, you may find the following resources useful:


This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.