PLO meetings are often held in advance of any court proceedings against parents in cases where the welfare of a child at home is a cause for concern. While a PLO meeting offers an opportunity to stop a case going to court, it should be taken seriously by parents who wish to avoid the consequences of court action being taken against them.
A PLO meeting is requested either by the local authority or social workers who have reason to suspect that a child’s welfare is at risk. This can be for a variety of reasons and is based on the evidence obtained in each individual case.
In such cases social workers or the local authority can apply to the courts to secure protection orders for a child if agreement is not reached with parents at the PLO meeting. In some cases, a meeting might not even take place if this puts a child’s welfare at further risk.
Parents will be asked to bring along a solicitor to the meeting who can help negotiate an agreement and act on the parent’s behalf which prevents further action in court and provides a solution that is in the child’s best interests.
If you receive correspondence from social workers or the local authority inviting you to attend a PLO meeting then you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. You may also be entitled to legal aid and representation at the meeting which would be free of charge.