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Designated Clinical Officer

Services and providers, for children and young people 0-25 with SEND, work in different systems with different priorities, but these systems and priorities don’t always align with each other which can cause challenges both for families, and for those working with families.

 “The Children and Families Act 2014 places a new requirement on local partners to work effectively together to improve outcomes for disabled children and young people and those with special education needs (SEN)”.

The Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) has a key role to support joined up working between health services and local authorities and to implement the Children and Families Act reforms.  The DCO should support the CCG in meeting its responsibilities for children and young people with SEND.  The DCO can do this by:

  • Being a point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges seeking health advice on children and young people who have been identified as having SEND and when specialist health advice is required.
  • Having oversight of the input of health professionals delivering healthcare in their assessment, planning and support to children and young people with SEND, including the transition to adult services and up to the age of 25.
  • Facilitating coordination
  • All health services are reflected in the Local Offer and are cooperating with the local authority in the review of the Local Offer
  • A clear process for mediation arrangements regarding the health element of EHC plans
  • Coordination of EHC assessment process to ensure that health professionals are contributing to EHC needs assessments and that EHC assessments are coordinated with other key health assessments, e.g. Children and Young People’s Continuing Care assessment, Looked-after Children’s Health Assessment
  • Supporting Strategic Development by providing advice to the CCG and local authority in relation to strategic planning and the commissioning of services in relation to children and young people with SEND as well as supporting the participation and engagement strategy.

If you have a formal complaint about a health service your child has received you need to contact the local NHS trust which provided the care via their formal complaints process. This will usually be described on their website. Or you could try their patient advice and liaison service (PALS) team.

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