Designated Medical/Clinical Officer

Page updated: 21/01/2022

This role was created as part of the SEND reforms to support the clinical commissioning group and local health services to implement the Children and Families Act (2014) and the SEND Code of Practice (2015).

Each local area should have a Designated Medical Officer (DMO) and/or a Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for SEND.

The DCO plays a key role in implementing and embedding the SEND responsibilities for health and supporting joined up working between health services, local authorities and other SEND partners.

The DCO provides a point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges seeking health information or queries about health provision for children and young people with SEND.

The DCO would not routinely be involved in assessments or planning for individuals, but would be responsible for ensuring that assessment, planning and health support is carried out (SEND Code of Practice 2015).

The Council for Disabled Children have produced some useful information on both roles which can be accessed in the Designated Medical Officer and Designated Clinical Officer Revised Handbook.

In Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) the DCO is involved with:

  • Maintaining an overview of the way health services work with local children, young people and families with SEND across the 0-25 age range
  • Working alongside all SEND partners including children and young people, parents and carers to identify and raise any concerns relating to health services for SEND
  • Providing advice to health providers about specific questions related to SEND pathways and processes and provide support and training to health colleagues about SEND
  • Joint working with partners to improve the quality of all elements of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP’s)
  • Supporting and developing the health advice / information provided in relation to all stages of the EHCP process
  • Promoting links between the local authority, education settings, social care and health services
  • Supporting commissioners in the development of good quality services for SEND
  • Providing advice to education settings with regards to their duties under the ‘Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions’ guidance
  • Working with all three local authorities to consider personal health budgets (PHB’s) for those who have asked for a personal budget and who meet the Children’s Continuing Care (CCC) criteria or adult Continuing Health Care criteria (CHC)
  • Providing advice on specific individual cases as requested by schools or the local authority
  • Working collaboratively with partners to resolve formal complaints and Tribunals
  • Acting as the CCG lead on all SEND Tribunal appeals which contain health aspects for determination
  • Contributing to strategic level decision making, scrutiny and improvement via the Local area SEND Boards
  • Planning and preparing for local area SEND Inspections

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