What is a PLO and What Can I Expect?


Image of child being held by an adult in the countryside at sunset.


What is a PLO meeting?

A PLO meeting is usually referred to as a Public Law Outline or a Pre-Proceedings Meeting.

The meeting will consider what needs to be done to protect a child from harm and if an agreement can be reached to ensure this. The aim is to see if a plan can be put in place without needing to go to Court.

The Social Worker will begin by discussing any concerns that they have about the child. You will then have the opportunity to reply and discuss any concerns that you have.

How will I know I need to attend a PLO meeting?

You will receive a letter from the Local Authority outlining their concerns and a setting a date, time and place for the meeting to take place.

Who will attend the PLO meeting?

  • A team manager will chair the meeting with their legal representative.
  • A social worker and a lawyer from social services.
  • You and your legal representative.
  • Any other parent your child has, or anyone else who has parental responsibility for your child.

Why are PLO meetings put in place?

PLO’s take place if the Local Authority and the Social Worker are continually concerned about the welfare of a child, and if previous concerns have not been resolved through a Child Care Plan. This step is usually taken before progressing to Court.

PLO meetings may result in Social Services telling you what they want you to do. This will then be put into a written agreement for you to sign. (Do ensure that you get advice from your solicitor before you sign this).

A written agreement may include such things as:

  • Ensuring the children are at school on time.
  • Not allowing the children to be around certain individuals.
  • To comply with the Social Worker when they visit the house or other support networks that have been offered to you.
  • Engaging with unannounced drug or alcohol testing.

A review PLO meeting should be arranged for a suitable period after the current meeting, to ensure that everything is progressing as it should be, and that any concerns are being dealt with.

If the Social Worker reports that there have been improvements and that you have complied with  the written agreement; there may be no need to proceed with the next meeting.

If there are still concerns raised at the review PLO meeting, then a new written agreement may be made. Or if the Social Worker believes the risk is serious to your children it may go straight to court.

Do I have to pay for legal representation?

No, you do not have to pay for legal representation to attend the PLO meeting with you. Once you have received a letter from the Local Authority starting Care Proceedings you should pass this on to your legal representative and you will be eligible for free legal advice.

If you would like to discuss PLO’s or a family related law issue further, please contact a member of our Family Team on 01332 364436, or you can email me directly at e.sherwood@timms-law.com.

Post written by Emily Sherwood
June 2019



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