If you are attending a meeting on one of our sites, please let us know if you have any additional needs, which may be related to a disability or difficulty, that you would like to discuss before your visit/meeting.

These could be things like:

  • Help with communication

  • Help with mobility and access

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Statement of intent

What is a DCO?

Joint Operational Agreement

SEND tribunal and extended appeals

Dorset Development and Behaviour Pathway

SEND awareness training

Local offer

Children’s speech, language and communication

Dorset Position Statement regarding Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

Changes made by the government to the support system for disabled children and young people and those with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) means that professionals from different services will have to work more closely together to give children and young people, aged 0 to 25 with special educational needs or a disability, the support they need.

Children and young people will have more say over what support and services are offered in their local area, and more help will be available for young people as they prepare for adulthood.

Development and behaviour pathway

The Development and Behaviour Pathway for children, young people and families in Dorset and BCP has been developed to help clarify the steps that should be taken when someone is worried about a child or young person’s development or behaviour. It has been developed in partnership with parents and carers, with input from professionals working in health, education and social care and is based upon findings from local and national research as well as NICE guidelines.

Referral forms


Where there is a mental health concern, children should be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Referral support and guidance to Core CAMHS: The pan-Dorset development and behaviour referral pack and guidance appendix 6.

Pan-Dorset (Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole) Development and Behaviour Referral Pack and Guidance for Professionals

The Children and Young People’s Transformation Programme was set up to make sure that commitments relating to children and young people in the NHS Long Term Plan are carried out.

To make sure that these commitments are carried out providers across health, care and education will have to work together. The programme will make improvements in health and care services for children and young people by:

  • Combining services for children and young people by testing new models of care and then rolling these out across the country

  • Improving the quality of care for children and young people with long-term conditions like asthma, epilepsy, diabetes and problems from obesity

  • Making sure that services meet the needs of children and young people by having them involved in developing national policy

  • Working with children and young people and their parents and carers, as well as using local data, to identify and deliver local priorities

Children and young people will have more say over what support and services are offered in their local area, and more help will be available for young people as they prepare for adulthood.

Statement of intent

The SEND Statement of Intent sets out the role of NHS Dorset and what you can expect from NHS Dorset relating to special educational needs and disability.  It covers services commissioned for children and young people with SEND.

The SEND Statement of Intent also has links for Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset’s Local Offer.

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Easy Read version of the Statement of Intent

What is a Designated Clinical Officer (DCO)?

The Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) roles support the Integrated Care Board (ICB) to meet our statutory responsibilities for children and young people with SEND. The DCO plays a key part in putting into action the SEND reforms and in supporting joined up working between health services and local authorities.

The Designated Clinical Officer for SEND:

My name is Chloe Morley , and I am the Designated Clinical Officer for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) for NHS Dorset. My role is to support health colleagues here at NHS Dorset as well as our local authorities and health providers to make sure that children and young people aged 0-25 with SEND have the right health support to achieve the best that they possibly can.

I have a varied role which includes:

  • Attending local authority education, health and care panels to talk about which children go forwards for assessments and then, if required, have a formal plan (EHCP)

  • Supporting health professionals with the information needed within the assessments and education colleagues to get the correct information and support

  • Supporting the SEND team at the local authorities with questions on information

  • Signposting education professionals to health services and professionals for advice

  • Signing off and assuring the quality of the advice and plans

  • Working alongside the commissioners and stakeholders including parents, children and young people, to identify and raise any commissioning gaps

  • Ensuring we have a good local offer of health services for those age 0-25 with SEND

  • Taking part in processes to ensure that we consider requests for those with highly complex needs, including continuing care

  • Supporting the commissioners and senior leadership team to ensure that the SEND health requirements are met

Joint Operational Agreement

The special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms in the Children and Families Act 2014 are focused on enabling children and young people to achieve the best they can, with an emphasis on outcomes rather than processes.

The Joint Operational Agreement is designed to support NHS organisations, health professionals and local authorities across Dorset to understand their statutory duties in relation to these reforms. It concentrates on the areas of health in the 0-25 SEN and Disability Code of Practice and clarifies responsibilities and ways of working that have been jointly agreed between organisations across Dorset.

This agreement has been drawn up by: NHS Dorset, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, BCP Council and Dorset Council.

SEND tribunal and extended appeals

From April 2018 to August 2021, the SEND Tribunal National Trial  tested the extended powers of the First-tier Tribunal Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’) to hear appeals and make non-binding recommendations about health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, provided those appeals also include education elements.

An independent evaluation of the national trial found positive findings and on 20 July 2021, the Department for Education confirmed the extended powers given to the Tribunal will continue.

This guidance sets out the extended powers and duties in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (First-tier Tribunal Recommendations Power) Regulations 2017.

It explains how the appeal process will work, what happens if recommendations are not followed and the support available for commissioners and families.

Further guidance and support for the trial can be found in the SEND national trial toolkit.

SEND training

SEND awareness training

Pan-Dorset system wide awareness training for SEND aimed at all staff across health, education and social care, who need to have an awareness of their day-to-day responsibility with regards to children and young people aged 0-25 with SEND.

SEND tier 2 training

Pan-Dorset training aimed at those staff in health, education and social care who regularly work with children and young people aged 0-25 with SEND.

Dorset Partnership Agreement

Our Dorset Partnership Agreement seeks to provide a framework across the Dorset Council area for all key strategic partners to collaboratively work to achieve the best outcomes for children and young people. Our partnership working will ensure that children, young people and their families have equal opportunity to meaningfully participate in the decisions that affect them at individual, operational and strategic levels.

Local Offer

Local authorities must now publish, in one place, a website which outlines all services/resources and latest news about and for children with additional needs 0 – 25 years. This information is known as the Local Offer.