PLO – Q&As

Posted on April 29, 2020
What does PLO mean? Public Law Outline

What is PLO?

PLO stands for the Public Law Outline. This is the stage before the Local Authority look at starting Court care proceedings seeking an Order to protect children. This means it is the last chance to engage and work with the Local Authority before Court proceedings. Before PLO the children may have been on Child in Need or Child Protection plans.

Local Authorities have a duty to protect the wellbeing of all children within their area, and are therefore required to look into, monitor and assist with any concerns that arise The PLO process allows for this to happen.

If this process is started, you will get a letter from the Local Authority explaining the concerns raised in respect of your child(ren), the steps taken so far, a PLO plan from the Local Authority and an invite to a PLO meeting with the Local Authority.

What should I do if I receive a PLO letter?

If you receive a PLO letter you should make contact with a solicitor as soon as possible, the letter should tell you to do this itself. The solicitor will be able to talk through the letter and concerns raised with you, discuss the PLO plan and attend the PLO meeting with you. The solicitor you contact must offer Legal Aid, which we do.

What happens next?

You will attend a PLO meeting with your solicitor and the Local Authority. Within this meeting it will be a chance to talk about the concerns and share your views. It will also be a chance to talk about the PLO plan the Local Authority suggested in the letter. Such a plan can include different points including working with professionals, attending appointments, meetings, or assessments. The points on the plan will change on a case by case basis and are dependent on the concerns raised. The aim of the first PLO meeting will be to agree a plan with the Local Authority.

Following this meeting the Local Authority will expect the plan to be followed. A review meeting will be arranged after a period of time, for progress with the plan to be looked at with the aim that in time the concerns reduce. If concerns continue to reduce it would be hoped the PLO process can come to a close. If, however concerns continue to increase or the PLO plan is not followed, it may be the Local Authority involvement increases and becomes more serious e.g. issuing Court proceedings.

Do I need to pay?

No, if you are a parent or person with parental responsibility for the child(ren) and have received a PLO letter about them, then you are automatically eligible for a type of Legal Aid called ‘Legal Help’. This will entitle you to non-means tested Legal Aid for the whole of the PLO process to make sure you receive legal advice on the letter received and that a solicitor can attend the PLO meetings with you.

Jefferies Family Team can help and advise you if a PLO letter is received.

You can get in touch with us using the below contact details:


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