Designated Medical Officer and Designated Clinical Officer Handbook

Based on a number of events with DMOs and DCO's we have produced a handbook that sets out important elements of the role, insight into how the role is emerging in different areas together with practical examples and useful materials for practioners and commissioners.

The Designated Medical Officer or Designated Clinical Officers play a key role in implementing the Children and Families Act reforms and supporting joined up working between health services and local authorities. While DMO and DCO roles may have some elements in common with the previous Doctor for Special Educational Needs role, there are also significant differences as a result of the reforms to the system of support for disabled children and young people and those with SEN. 

It is not intended as a definitive list or implementation plan as each DMO and DCO role will need to be tailored to local circumstances and priorities. It is also not intended that a single DMO or DCO should fulfil all of the elements of the Handbook, rather it provides guidance on the various functions required by the Children and Families Act that could comprise a DMO and DCO role as part of a wider implementation strategy.


The Handbook is made up of chapters that set out key areas that may be part of a DMO and/or DCO's role:

  1. Designated Medical Officer/Designated Clinical Officer Role in Context
  2. Scope of the Designated Medical Officer/Designated Clinical Officer Role
  3. Strategic Relationships with CCGs
  4. Participation
  5. Workforce
  6. Outcomes
  7. Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans
  8. The Local Offer
  9. Children and Young People in Specific Circumstances