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What to do if you have received a PLO letter

Our People - Jalpa Vadgama
27 November, 2018

Pre-Proceedings

Have you received a letter from Social Services inviting you to a PLO meeting?

A Pre-proceedings meeting means that the Local Authority are concerned about the care of your children and are considering taking the matter to Court

If you have received a letter that says this, it is very important that you see a Solicitor as soon as possible.

The letter will contain a list of things that the local authority is worried about, and what you need to do to stop them taking you to Court.

This meeting is your last chance to convince the Social Services and their Legal Team that they should not take you to Court to take your children away. You need to look at the list of things that they are worried about, and the list of things that you need to do to see what you have done or can do to deal with these problems. We will go through the list of concerns with you, before the meeting, and find out what your views are so we can explain this to the social worker, team manager and their Legal Team.

At the meeting there will be the child’s mother, and father if he is on the birth certificate, their solicitors, the child’s social worker, the social worker’s manager, and the social worker’s solicitor.

At the meeting they will go through the letter and will talk about what they are concerned about. You will have the opportunity to put your points across to the social worker.

At the end of the meeting the Social Workers and their Solicitor will have talked about what they want to do next.

Options

  • No further action. This is very unlikely.
  • Ask you to sign a written agreement and schedule a review meeting in 6-8 weeks
  • Issue court proceedings. The concerns are so serious they need to issue Court proceedings to take the children away from you and place them with a foster carer or family member.

Helpful suggestions

  • Stay calm, and don’t get angry and lose your temper with the social worker.  This may be difficult, but try.                                   
  • You will be asked to sign a written agreement. We will go through the agreement with you, and advice you as to whether or not you should sign it. After we have discussed the agreement, in private, we will speak to the Local authority solicitor and can negotiate the terms of the agreement. You will not be forced to sign an agreement.
  • Listen to our advice.
  • You must do what you have signed up to in the written agreement. If you don’t, the Local Authority could take the matter to court due to your failure to engage with what they have asked you to. This could be therapy, a domestic violence course or a psychiatric/psychological assessment.

Advice

If you want more advice on this or anything else related to social services involvement with your family call us today on 020 8492 2290 to book your slot at our FREE 20-minute legal advice clinic  with a solicitor which runs every Wednesdays between 2pm – 4pm. 

Alternatively, if social services have become involved through a legal gateway process, PLO process or have issued care proceedings, we can see you for an appointment straight away.

Call us on 020 8492 2290 to book an appointment with me or one of the family law team.

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Head of Family (Public Law)
Jalpa Vadgama is an associate solicitor and is the head of our Public Children Law Department. She is a member of Resolution and an Accredited Member of the Child Panel.

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