Designated clinical officers

The Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) Service is a team of 3 health professionals working together across the whole of Lancashire, including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.

They support parents and professionals and provide a strategic role supporting NHS health services in the implementation of the Children and Families Act.

To ensure coordinated and integrated services that reflect the voice of children and young people, the DCO service improves communication and links between health, education and social care professionals.

Statutory duties

The DCO team:

  • Ensure robust processes are in place to allow for the early identification of children with SEND
  • Ensure all NHS health services are reflected in the Local Offer, information is up to date and reviewed on a regular basis
  • Coordinate the collation of health advice that contributes to the Education, Health and Care Initial Assessment process
  • Answer EHCP queries linked to health provision from parents and professionals
  • Support NHS practitioners to contribute to any SEND appeals that involve health issues

Improving services and processes

The DCOs:

  • Act as a single point of contact for parents/carers, partner agencies and professionals to raise queries and concerns related to NHS health services and SEND
  • Raise awareness within the NHS of the statutory responsibilities linked to SEND, through training and discussions with staff groups
  • Work with NHS practitioners to improve the quality of health advice
  • Monitor quality of health advice through regular audit and feedback
  • Support colleagues to make sure that they are able to make reasonable adjustments for children and young people with medical conditions and SEND, in order to improve the quality of their service offer
  • Work with families and providers to identify inequities or gaps in commissioned services and highlight these to local commissioning teams

EHC plan process

The DCOs role in the EHC plan process is to:

  • Coordinate EHC assessments with other statutory health assessments
  • Answer EHC plan queries linked to health provision from parents and professionals
  • Provide a clear process for mediation and oversight of tribunals where there is disagreement regarding the health provision contained in an EHC plan.

The service also coordinates and offers quality assurance of health advice as part of the wider EHC plan process. They are working to improve and simplify the process for submitting advices and implement an audit tool to identify good practice and areas for improvement when writing EHC plan advices.


North - Lancaster, Wyre and Fylde

Clair Martin

Tel: 01253 956168
Mob: 07833616903

East - Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale

Sue Mounsey

Tel: 01254 612 722
Mob: 07507 847503

South - Preston, South Ribble, Chorley and West Lancashire

Anne Hardman

Tel: 01254 612 722
Mob: 07973 963565