What is the Public Law Outline, more commonly referred to as the PLO process?


Posted on: November 26th, 2021

This can be a very daunting time for parents with a lot of information that is hard to understand.

When the Local Authority has concerns in respect of a child and their welfare, they can engage parents in the PLO process. Within this process the Local Authority try to work with parents to address concerns and make positive changes. If concerns remain, they can make an application to the court. This process is therefore the last step for parents to address any concerns before care proceedings could be issued.

When PLO is initiated, parents will be provided with a ‘Letter Before Proceedings’ and this will outline the concerns of the Local Authority and a time and date to attend a meeting, it is absolutely vital that parents seek legal advice to assist them through the process and to assist them to make key and appropriate challenges as required.

Meetings take the form of multi-agency meetings, which involve as a minimum in most circumstances, the allocated social worker, the team manager, and legal representatives on behalf of the parents or carers so involved with the direct care of the child or children. .

It is common with the PLO process for the Local Authority to request parents agree and sign a written agreement/safety plan and parents do not have to agree this until they have spoken with legal representatives and taken legal advice around this. This allows parents to ensure they understand the document, and any potential consequences of failure to comply.

A big worry for a lot of parents or carers who find themselves in this position, will be in relation to provision of legal costs. It is important however to note that in many cases the provision of non-means and non-merit legal help funding will be available. Legal advice therefore in many circumstances will be free.

We have a number of lawyers on hand to provide key advice and assistance. Here at Cygnet law, we are family law specialists and can cater for every legal problem a family could experience throughout their lifetime.

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If you require any of our legal services or you're not sure where to get started, please contact us and we'll guide you every step of the way.

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