What is a PLO and What Can I Expect?


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

In her most recent blog Family Law Solicitor, Jo Taylor, discusses ‘What is a PLO and What Can I Expect?’…

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.  The letter will also set out what the Local Authority want you to do to keep your child safe.

Who will attend the PLO meeting?

  • A team manager will chair the meeting.
  • 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?

PLOs 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 In Need Plan or after a Child Protection Conference. 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 another meeting and the PLO process will end.

If there are still concerns raised at the review PLO meeting, then a new written agreement may be made. If at any stage the Social Worker believes the risk to your children is too serious then the Local Authority will issue proceedings.

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 stating that they are considering Care Proceedings you will be eligible for free legal advice.  You should seek legal advice immediately.

If you would like to discuss PLOs or a family related law issue further, please contact a member of our Family Team on freephone 0800 011 6666 or via email at legal@timms-law.com.


Jo Taylor 

June 2024


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