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Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND)



This page sets out the role and function of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group in relation to special educational needs and disability (SEND). It also covers the services commissioned for children and young people with SEND, and how to access the Liverpool Local Offer website. The name and contact details of the designated clinical officer (DCO) for Liverpool are detailed below.

What is SEND?

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. A child or young person has SEND if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her in order to support them to make progress. A school or setting will often be able to offer this provision via the graduated approach to SEN Support. Therefore, if parents feel that their child has SEND, it is best to work together with the child’s school or setting to consider the best ways to meet their child’s needs. However, if parents feel that they would like external advice or support, there are many services on offer including SENDIASS, LivPaC and ADDvanced Solutions.


Children & Families Act 2014

The Children & Families Act 2014 placed a new requirement on local partners, including CCGs and health providers, to work effectively together to improve outcomes for disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs (SEN). The aims of this legislation was to bring about more integrated and personalised services, a focus on outcomes and alignment with a number of key NHS programmes such as Transforming Care (Learning Disability), Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) transformation and integrated and personalised commissioning.


Local Offer

If children and young people aged 0 - 25yrs have special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND), Liverpool's Local Offer website will provide them, their families and professionals with accessible information about services and support available locally.

The Local Offer helps you to understand what services you can expect from a range of local agencies, including your statutory entitlements, eligibility and referral criteria. The Local Offer also makes clear what is available from a wide range of services, including:

  • Early years settings
  • Schools (including academies and free schools) & colleges
  • Sport and recreation
  • Health services
  • Social care
  • Employment, further education and volunteering

Visit the Liverpool Local Offer website 


Designated Clinical Officer

The designated clinical officer (DCO) role is a key element in supporting health services in the implementation of the Children and Families Act and the scope of the role is very broad. The key responsibilities of the DCO are as follows:

  • Oversight – across all health professionals delivering healthcare to individual disabled children, young people and those with special educational needs
  • Coordination – in relation to the Local Offer, process for mediation arrangements regarding the health elements of the EHC plan and EHC assessments with other key assessments such as Children & Young People’s Continuing Care assessments and Looked After Children Health assessments
  • Strategic – contribution to the development of a joint commissioning strategy and participation and engagement strategy.

Since February 2021 Ingrid Bell has been the current DCO for Liverpool and Sefton.

If you would like to get in touch, please use the following e-mail address: 


Liverpool’s Joint Local Area Inspection - outcome letter

Ofsted and CQC jointly inspect local areas to see how well they fulfil their responsibilities for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The inspection of Liverpool provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities took place between 14th and 18th January 2019. At the end of the inspection, the inspection team evaluated all of the evidence gathered and produced Liverpool's Joint Outcome Letter. The letter explains the main findings and makes recommendations for improvement.

In response to the areas of concern identified, Liverpool are required to submit a Written Statement of Action that explains how Liverpool will tackle the areas of significant weakness identified. Liverpool is using the independent findings from Ofsted and the CQC as a driver for change and are committed to delivering the improvements required.

Between 9 May and 11 May 2022, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revisited the area of Liverpool to decide whether sufficient progress has been made in addressing each of the areas of significant weakness detailed in the inspection report letter published on 6 March 2019. Following the inspection, it was judged that Liverpool’s SEND Partnership had made sufficient progress to improve all areas of previous significant weakness. The letter can be viewed here.

We are grateful for all the children and young people and their families who contributed to the inspection process.