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Designated Clinical Officer (DCO)

The Designated Clinical Officer and Designated Medical Officers for SEND

My name is Alison Stewart and I am the Designated Clinical Officer for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) for Kingston and Richmond. By training I am a Speech and Language Therapist and Psychologist and I have worked with children and young people across health and education for a long time.  I am employed by Kingston and Richmond Clinical Commissioning Groups.

I work closely with the Designated Medical Officers for Richmond (Dr Daniela Lessing) and Kingston (Dr Divya Pore). The Designated Medical Officers are experienced Paediatricians. We work together to support health colleagues across Kingston and Richmond to ensure children and young people 0-25 with SEND have the right health support.

The roles of DCO and DMO were developed as part of the Children and Families Act and there are 3 key areas of responsibility:

  • Ensuring an oversight of health needs and provision.
  • A coordination role in terms of service providers and partner organisation
  • A strategic role within joint commissioning of services and the local area participation and engagement strategy.

As Designated Clinical Officer this means I will be involved in:

  • working closely with Achieving for Children to think about the experience of children and families who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities including work around the quality of education, health and care plans
  • working alongside the commissioners and stakeholders including parents, children and young people, to identify and raise any commissioning gaps
  • supporting the commissioners and senior leadership team with regards meeting and assuring the SEND health requirements
  • attending Education, Health and Care Panels to support decision making about children who receive plans and the content of the plans
  •  supporting health professionals with the information required within the assessments and education colleagues to access the correct information and support
  • signposting education professionals to health services and professionals for advice
  • participate in processes to ensure we consider requests for those with highly complex needs including continuing care
Concerns and complaints about health services 

If you have a formal complaint about a health service your child has received, please contact the local health providers via their formal complaints process. This will usually be described on their website. Or you could try their patient advice and liaison service (PALS) team.

Please do contact me if you have queries around your child’s experience.


Alison Stewart

Designated Clinical Officer for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


Phone: 020 3941 9855

Kingston and Richmond Clinical Commissioning Groups

Thames House

180 Teddington High Street

TW11 8HY