Designated Medical Officer / Designated Clinical Officer resources

We're working with clinicians to understand how DMOs or DCOs can support the vision of the Children and Families Act, and have also produced a series of resources aimed at encouraging greater understanding of the role.

The Designated Medical Officer or Designated Clinical Officer plays a key part in implementing the SEND reforms and in supporting joined up working between health services and local authorities.

CDC has been doing significant work with clinicians to understand how the Designated Medical Officer (DMO) or Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) can support the vision of the Children & Families Act 2014.

The following resources are designed to support DMOs and DCOs, and to develop shared understandings about the role and their importance in implementing the SEND reforms.


The Council for Disabled Children hosts an email forum to promote an active community of Designated Medical and Clinical Officers, and to allow them to share peer learning, best practice and engage in problem-solving.

If you are a DMO or DCO and would like to join the email forum, please email Adeeba Khan at [email protected] 

DMO / DCO Handbook

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

Download the DMO/DCO Handbook 

Case Studies

Insightful case studies of Designated Clinical Officers in three separate areas within England, designed to illustrate what the role entails.

DCO – Local Area Reflections and Learning

CDC conducted four interviews with DCOs from different areas within England to understand their role, commissioned by NHS England. These ‘Local Area Reflections and Learning’ resources were produced as a result and are an insightful resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the impact a DCO has on the SEND system.

CDC would like to thank the four DCOs that took part for sharing their experiences to inform these resources.

Film: the Designated Medical Officer / Designated Clinical Officer for SEND role in 2019

Three interviews in which DMO/DCOs discuss their role and responsibilities, day-to-day work, the contribution that they make and the key challenges faced in their roles.