Designated Clinical Officer SEND

Introducing Jo Drew  - Designated Clinical Officer SEND in Bedfordshire

I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in Manchester, starting my career with the team at Booth Hall Children’s Hospital, as part of the multidisciplinary team supporting babies and children with cleft lip and palate.  I went on to work on the children’s wards at the Royal London Hospital , and in the community teams across Tower Hamlets in the East End of London.  I have since worked in community clinics, special and mainstream schools, with children and young people with a wide range of speech language and communication disorders. I have been the Lead for Children’s Allied Health Professions across Luton and Bedfordshire and have worked in Bedfordshire Children’s Community Health settings for over ten years.

The role of Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) supports Bedfordshire Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (BLMKICB) to meet its statutory responsibilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The role supports joined up working between health services and the local authority, for children, young people and adults up to 25 years. A DCO supports communication of advice to local authorities, schools and colleges regarding the health needs of children and young people who may have SEND.  It supports schools, for example, with their duties under the ‘Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions’ guidance. The DCO has lead role in ensuring that there is an awareness and understanding of the SEND Reforms by local Health providers of services. This can be through training, or through individual discussions with teams and clinicians.

As part of the daily role, the DCO may for example be involved in responding to queries from SEND case officers, service providers and in some situations children and their families directly. This includes work with service providers around individual needs, for example Speech and Language Therapy Service, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Wheelchair services, Community Nursing and CAMHS.

I participate in multiagency meetings and may include specific work around the way in which health and local authority develop processes to ensure timeliness and quality of EHCP advice. This includes liaison around health elements of Education, health and care plans, and specific projects relevant to the needs of the local area.

I work closely with the Parent Carer Forum, and one of the most important and rewarding parts of this role is working in co-production with local families, children and young people, to ensure that their voices and experience are at the forefront of service development.

Please do contact me for further information or discussions about health provisions for children and young people with SEND – I’d be happy to talk with you.

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Last Updated

Last updated: 18/10/2022