Parents/carers of a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan or a young person with a plan can request a personal budget linked to the plan.
What is a personal budget?
A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the Council to deliver all or some of the services and support as set out in an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan. It enables the young person, parent or carer to have a say in how this budget is used.
Personal budgets are not a new pot of money. If you already receive a service you won't get both the service you get now and a new additional personal budget. A 'personal budget' is the description given to a new way of managing the money you are allocated for services and support.
A personal budget may not always be appropriate but is an option which can be requested when the Council is preparing an EHC plan or at the annual EHC plan review. In all cases the availability of a personal budget will be based on the support a child or young person (up to 25 years old) needs in order for them to achieve their agreed outcomes/support needs as specified in their EHC plan.
Who can request a personal budget?
An easy to read factsheet is available if you click here
A parent or young person (where an EHC plan is in place) has the right to ask the Council to prepare a personal budget. This request can be made at any time during the period in which the Council is preparing the draft EHC plan or when the plan is being reviewed or re-assessed.
How will a personal budget be managed?
There are four ways in which a personal budget can be managed:
1. Direct Payments - Cash payments to the parent or young person to contract, purchase and manage service directly.
2. An organised arrangement - The Council and/or Health provider retains the funds and buys or provides the support specified in the EHC plan.
3. Third party managed budget - An organisation or individual nominated in writing by the parent/carer or young person to contract, purchase and manage services on their behalf.
4. A combination of the above
In some circumstances, usually identified through the assessment process, the choice of taking a personal budget as a direct payment may not be available. This could be in relation to safeguarding concerns and/or issues around consent.
Please note if a direct payment is requested and used to employ staff directly (i.e. a Personal Assistant) then the recipient will be responsible as an employer to abide by the current employment laws.
What can a personal budget be spent on?
The allocated budget can be spent on anything that helps to meet the agreed outcomes of the EHC plan. The funding can be used to purchase support, services and equipment.
A personal budget may be from one or a combination of the following funding sources.
A personal Special Education Needs (SEN) budget is the sum of money made available by the Council when it is clear that without this additional "top-up" funding it would not be possible to meet the individual's learning support needs. The school/college involved will already have funding for learning support across the school; only pupils or students with more comlex learning support needs are likely to need a personal SEN budget. However, in some circumstances the head teacher/principal and school/college/learning provider may choose to offer some funding towards a personal SEN budget.
A personal Social Care budget is the sum of money made available by the Council if a child or young person (up to 25 years old) is assessed by social care as needing additional and individual support at home and when out and about in the local and wider community.
A personal Health budget refers to the budget made available should a child or young person (up to 25 years old) have complex, long term and/or any life-limiting conditions. A personal Health budget may also be made available to assist with equipment costs or other health services. A personal Health budget will come from the NHS.