Personal budgets

If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, you may have the right to a personal budget for their support.

The personal budget can be used to buy in specialist special educational needs (SEN) and disabled care for all or some of the provision outlined in the EHC plan.

You can request a personal budget during a statutory assessment or when the EHC plan is reviewed. When your child's assessment begins, we will explain to you the benefits and responsibilities around the personal budget. You will have the opportunity to discuss your options with us and decide if a personal budget is right for your family.

You will have control of a personal budget for your child up to the end of year 11 (post compulsory school age). It is then the young person who has this responsibility, as long as they have the mental capacity as defined by the Mental Capacity Act, unless they elect for you to manage their funding.

If you are already accessing personal budgets for care these will continue throughout the statutory assessment process and be incorporated, as relevant, in the final EHC plan if one is issued.

The availability of a personal budget will be based on the support a child or young person needs in order for them to achieve a set of agreed outcomes and to have their identified support needs met. In some cases a child or young person may not have a personal budget in their EHC plan.

There are three different types of personal budget:

  • A personal social care budget: for additional and individual support at home and when out and about. The budget could include funding to provide a statutory short break or family support.
  • A personal health budget: for children with complex, long-term and/or a life-limiting condition/s; children who are supported through ‘Continuing Care’ funding and to help with equipment costs or other health services.
  • A personal SEN budget: for children with more complex learning support needs that cannot be met by the school's existing funding for learning support.

Depending on their needs, your child may have a personal budget from more than one of the above sources.

Personal budgets can be managed in different ways:

Notional Budget

You ask the county council to manage it on your behalf. You will be told how much money is available and with our support identify the different ways to spend that money. We then arrange the services on your behalf.

Budget held by a third party

You can ask a third party service or organisation to manage it on your behalf. The organisation or trust will hold the money and help you decide the best way to spend the funding; they will then buy the services chosen.

Direct Payment

You will be given the cash to buy and manage the services yourself.

You can choose to have a mixture of these three options to meet the outcomes identified in the EHC plan.

Some people may not be able to hold a personal budget and a personal budget can only be used to purchase certain provision to meet the outcomes identified in the EHC Plan. See the full personal budgets policy for more information.

Further information

Some other organisations have produced information and guidance you might find useful:

  • Contact (PDF Factsheet) how you can have more say, including direct payments.
  • Kids a range of information including a guide for families on personal budgets and direct payments

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