Designated Clinical Officer (SEND)
Hello I'm Helen Watson Bedfordshire Designated Clinical Officer
I have a background in Children’s nursing spanning over 23 years. I spent a large part of my early career working in Paediatric Intensive Care at Great Ormond Street Hospital where I gained a degree in professional practice; and additionally worked as a retrieval nurse for the Children’s Acute Transport Service. I have also worked within the local specialist schools and children’s hospice; and have more recently undertaken various community roles in Luton including working for the Children’s Safeguarding team, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Edwin Lobo Centre where I supported children with a range of neuro-disabilities, managing sleep and ADHD medication regimes as a nurse prescriber, offering post diagnosis support to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and conducting annual Down Syndrome reviews. Throughout my career I have gained vast experience in working with children and young people with SEND and their families, supporting them to meet their health needs in a variety of settings and enabling them to meet their full potential through contribution to the Education Health Care Plan process; and signposting to the appropriate services to meet their needs. I originally commenced in post as the Luton Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for SEND in January 2021 and I am currently Co-Chair of the Eastern Region DCO forum.
As part of the daily role, the DCO may for example be involved in responding to queries from SEND case officers, service providers and in some situations children and their families directly. This includes work with service providers around individual needs, for example Speech and Language Therapy Service, Occupational Therapy, Community Paediatrics, Physiotherapy, Wheelchair services, Community Nursing and CAMHS.
I participate in multiagency meetings and undertake work around the way in which health and the local authority develop processes to ensure timeliness and quality of EHCP advice. This includes liaison around health elements of Education, Health and Care plans, and specific projects relevant to the needs of the local area. I also work at a strategic level with partner organisations to consider the local profile of needs, quality of services and identify gaps in provision.
I work closely with the Bedfordshire Parent Carer Forums, and particularly enjoy working in co-production with local families, children, and young people, to ensure that their voices and experience are at the forefront of service development.
Who to contact
- Age Bands
11-14 years old
18-25 years old
Parents and carers
15-17 years old
0-4 years old
5-10 years old