Designated Clinical Officer (DCO)
The DCO role is a key element in supporting the health service in its implementation of the Children and Families Act.
We are a team of 3 health professionals working together across the whole of Lancashire, including Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.
The role of the DCO
We listen to children and young people, families and professionals so that health services offer the right provision to ensure children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are able to reach their goals and achieve their outcomes.
Currently, support is designed and delivered by a range of specialist staff and providers, working with different systems and with their own priorities across Health, Education and Social Care.
We aim to improve communication and links between Health, Education and Social Care professionals to ensure coordinated and integrated services.
We will work with families and providers to secure jointly commissioned services that are identified as being appropriate to meet the needs of the local population.
What do we do?
- Act as a single point of contact for families seeking health information
- Act as a single point of access for partner agencies and professionals to improve liaison and communication
- Participate and engage with children, young people and their families
- Ensure robust processes are in place to allow for the early identification of children with SEND
- Ensure all health services are reflected in the Local Offer and that health providers are cooperating with the Local Authority in its development and review
- Deliver training on the EHCP process and SEND across services, including the voluntary sector
- Coordinate and offer quality assurance of Health Advice as part of the wider EHCP process
- Coordinate EHC assessments with other statutory health assessments
- Answer EHCP 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 EHCP
- Liaise with educational establishments and Youth Offending Teams to support children and young people with medical conditions
- Contribute to the development of jointly commissioned health services to meet the needs of the local population
Work in Progress
- Raising awareness of SEND across all health services and ensuring compliance with SEND legislation
- Development of an audit tool to identify good practice and areas for improvement when writing EHCP advices
- Revision of the Local Offer for Health
- Joint working to improve and simplify the process for submitting EHCP advices
- Development of an audit tool to identify good practice and areas for improvement linked to times of transition between health services
Who to contact
- Contact Name
- Kathleen Freear
- Contact Position
- Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) - Fylde & Wyre, Blackpool and North Lancashire
- 01253 956168
Kathleen is a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse.
She has many years experience working in the community with children and families.
She has been involved in multiagency working and is currently developing the SEND process in Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council.
Where to go
- St Annes Primary Care Centre
Lytham St. Annes
- FY8 2EP
- Local Offer Age Bands
Early Years (3-4 years)
Secondary (11-15 years)
Primary (5-10 years)