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National review of care planning published

The review looked specifically at children and young people subject to Public Law Outline (PLO) pre-proceedings.

The Public Law Outline (PLO) aims to ensure better timescales for children to have a permanent place to live rather than spending time in a ‘temporary’ placement while a legal order was secured.

Each case should be concluded within 26 weeks or less.

The pre-proceedings process is when concerns about a child’s welfare reach the threshold beyond which a child protection plan would be effective. 

We wanted to look at the effectiveness of this crucial period when a child will have been identified as possibly in need of a legal order to ensure his or her well-being.

The arrangements used to monitor this period could be critical in ensuring there is no drift and that decisions about whether plans need to be escalated or scaled down are timely and appropriate.

Three inspectors visited six authorities - Caerphilly, Conwy, Pembrokeshire, the City and County of Swansea, Torfaen and Wrexham - between May and August 2016.

The period under review was April 2014 to end of March 2015 to look at the outcomes for children and young people.


  • There should be a systematic approach to ensuring that the threshold for PLO pre-proceedings has been reached.
  • There should be effective arrangements in place to inform parents and carers about the PLO arrangements and what this process means.
  • Care planning arrangements should support timely permanence for children and young people to achieve good outcomes.

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