What a Designated Clinical Officer is, their role in SEND services, what they do and how to contact them.

What a Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) is

The NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Integrated Care Board (ICG) plans and commissions health care and services to help people keep healthy.

Every ICB should have a Designated Medical Officer (DMO) or a Designated Clinical Officer (DCO).

The DCO works closely with the Local Authority (LA) and assists the ICB in meeting its responsibilities around SEND.

What the Designated Clinical Officer does for SEND services

The DCO provides a point of contact for LAs, schools and colleges who need advice or support about health for children and young people who have special education needs and disabilities (SEND).


  • can provide advice to education settings about their duties under the Department of Education's (2014) Supporting Pupils At School With Medical Conditions guidance
  • can liaise with child and adult health services about specific children and young people
  • attend the weekly LA SEND panels to review advice and provide information about health
  • participate in EHC plan quality assurance exercises and feedback to health colleagues 
  • provide support and training to health colleagues about SEND
  • can attend annual reviews for children and young people with complex health needs
  • can identify children and young people who may require referral to Children's Continuing Care (CCC) or adult Continuing Health Care (CHC) services
  • can work with partners in cases that need mediation services to resolve disputes outside of tribunals
  • can review and provide evidence for First Tier Tribunal cases where there is a health element for determination 
  • work closely with parent carer forums and other support or voluntary organisations
  • participate in SEND Local Area Inspections
  • work with the LA to look at personal health budgets (PHBs) 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)

Contact the Designated Clinical Officer

Email bnssg.send@nhs.net to contact the Designated Clinical Officer for the NHS Bristol North Somerset South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.