The Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) supports Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) to meet its statutory responsibilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The DCO is not routinely involved in assessments or planning for individuals but is responsible for ensuring that assessment, planning and health support is carried out.

The DCO makes sure health is compliant with the legislation and spirit of the SEND code of practice. This leads to improved outcomes for children and young people with SEND.

Key parts of the role:

  • supporting joined up working between health services and the local authority (LA), for children, young people and adult services (0 to 25 years)
  • providing advice to LAs, schools and colleges about the health needs of children and young people who may have SEND
  • supporting schools. For example, with their duties under the `Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions` guidance
  • making sure local health providers have an awareness and understanding of SEND Reforms. This is through training, or individual discussions with teams and clinicians
  • working with health providers to make sure there are good quality contributions to the Education, Health and Care Plan process

The DCO for Mid and South Essex ICB is Gemma Stacey. Gemma supports all Local Area Partnerships (Southend, Thurrock, South and Mid Essex) .

If you have any questions, please email Gemma at

About Gemma

I qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2002. I worked in a special school with children with learning disabilities. And then at Colchester Hospital with adults with communication and swallowing difficulties. I then specialised in the assessment and treatment of eating and drinking difficulties. In 2016 I moved into management. I managed the Adult Learning Disability Therapy teams for North East, Mid and West Essex, and the North East Essex Paediatric Therapy team. I also managed a range of Public Health services. I have been lucky to have roles which have needed lots of partnership working. This is partly what drew me to this role!