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Public Law Outline (Social Services)

When circumstances arise that cause concern for the welfare of children within a family, Social Services may step in. The involvement of Social Services often triggers what is known as the Public Law Outline proceedings. This is a critical step taken by Social Services when they believe that the care provided to children is substantially inadequate, to the extent that they are contemplating initiating care proceedings in court.

Dealing with Public Law Outline

Should Social Services harbour concerns about your children’s wellbeing, you may receive a formal communication from them, commonly referred to as a ‘Letter of Intent’ or a ‘Public Law Outline’ letter. This letter clearly outlines the worries that have prompted their action. Crucially, it also serves as an invitation to a vital meeting — termed a Public Law Outline meeting — which you’re strongly advised to attend with legal representation. The purpose of this gathering is to openly discuss the concerns raised and explore what measures can be taken to remedy the situation, thus potentially averting the need for any court proceedings.

The PLO meeting is a pivotal moment where Social Services will elaborate on their concerns regarding your children’s care. They will specify what improvements they need to see to consider the situation resolved without resorting to court action. It is an opportunity for dialogue, where affected families can understand the expectations of Social Services and demonstrate their commitment to making necessary changes.

This process is neither brief nor straightforward and may extend over a period of up to three months. During this time, there may be several review meetings to monitor the progress of the agreed-upon action points. It is imperative for families to engage proactively in this process, with the primary aim of ensuring the best possible outcomes for the children involved.

It’s worth noting that Legal Aid is readily available for parents embroiled with Social Services, particularly those facing the prospect of Public Law Outline proceedings and subsequent care proceedings in court.

Our devoted Family Law team at Williamsons Solicitors is ready to stand by your side throughout the PLO process. For expert guidance and unwavering support, we invite you to reach out to Paul Barker on 01482 323 697. With his extensive experience as a Family Clerk, Paul is well-prepared to accompany you to the PLO meeting and work towards achieving the most favourable outcome for your family.

Contact Williamsons Solicitors on 01482 323 697.

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Family & Childcare Team

Sarah
Clubley

DIRECTOR, SENIOR SOLICITOR
HEAD OF FAMILY & CHILDCARE

Paul
Kirby

SOLICITOR

Rebecca
Lovel

SOLICITOR

Judith
Knight

SOLICITOR

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