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Designated Clinical Officer (DCO)

In June 2015 the Department for Education and the Department for Health produced statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support Children and Young People (CYP) who have Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND). One of the provisions described within the Code of Practice is around the identification of a Designated Medical Officer (DMO) or a Designated Clinical Officer (DCO).

The role of the DCO is to: 

  • Provide a point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges seeking health advice on CYP who may have SEN or disabilities. 
  • Maximise outcomes for CYP with SEND by working to improve quality of life, school absences, secondary mental and physical health conditions, personal autonomy and engagement in further education and employment.  
  • Play a strategic role in relation to the SEND agenda, developing, improving and influencing service design and delivery. 
  • Provide an expert resource for CYP health information, guidance, reassurance and support for families and professionals. 
  • Attend multi agency panels and support decision making on the basis of clinical judgement.
  • Challenge and approve packages for CYP with SEND.
  • Co-ordinate and pull together information from various services involved with the CYP (current and historic involvement)
  • Develop processes for the quality assurance of the finalised EHCPs and the input from Health Colleagues. 
  • Undertake trend analysis for the CYP cohorts and identify commissioning gaps to inform future commissioning. 
  • Make and follow up safeguarding referrals.
  • Liaison with professions from health providers both internally and externally to ensure that all relevant health information is available to support EHC decision making at panel and provide longer term specialised and strategic oversight. 

There has been a DCO appointed to the CCG since 1st June 2018 who is working across the Tees Valley Local Authority boundary areas.