A Pre-Proceedings Meeting is a requirement of the Public Law Outline . The Local Authority is required to inform the parents in plain language
- of the concerns about their children
- and of the fact that Care Proceedings are being contemplated
If you are a parent
- you must be sent a Pre-Proceedings Letter in a prescribed format setting out the concerns and informing of them what you need to do to avoid the Local Authority taking Care Proceedings
- you will be invited to a meeting to discuss the concerns and advised to bring a Solicitor
- you will have Legal Aid for the work we do at the meeting and for negotiations with the Local Authority before Proceedings are issued
- and you accept the concerns and wish to co-operate you will be expected to sign an Agreement
Compliance with the Agreement will be monitored and a timescale set for review. The Public Law Outline requires that the Local Authority should file a record of important discussions with the parents if and when Care Proceedings are issued. Therefore an accurate Note of the Meeting needs to be taken.
- The Pre-Proceedings Letter will be drafted by the Social Worker, Team Manager and Legal Services at a Legal Planning Meeting
- The Pre-Proceedings Letter will be issued by the Team Manager
- The responsible Social Worker will be responsible for convening the Meeting, and will liaise with Legal Services about the date, to ensure that a Local Authority legal representative can attend (if we attend on your behalf as the parents involved)
- The date, time and place of the meeting will be included in the Pre-Proceedings Letter.
- The Social Worker will prepare a draft Agreement, setting out the expectations of the family, before the Meeting
- The draft agreement should be referred to Legal Services for checking, and advice sought as necessary, prior to the Meeting
- The Agreement can be amended, with legal advice available to both the Local Authority and the parents, if appropriate, during the course of the Meeting
- The Meeting will take place in a Children’s Services or other Council meeting room
- The Meeting will be chaired by the Children’s Services Team Manager
- A Note will be taken by Children’s Services
- The outcome of the Meeting must be confirmed orally at the Meeting, and in writing immediately afterwards
- An Outline Plan for the child/ren should be included with the letter. If there is agreement at the Meeting, the Outline Plan will confirm the support to be given to the family, with details of the method and date for review of the Plan, or, if the parents fail to cooperate, the Plan will be an Outline Care Plan.
If you as the parents
- refuse to sign the Agreement
- refuse to attend a Pre-Proceedings Meeting or
- fail to attend the Pre-Proceedings Meeting
a Legal Planning Meeting will be held immediately to prepare Proceedings and issue the Care Application.
If you are involved in a Pre Proceedings Meeting contact us immediately.