A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the Local Authority (LA) to deliver provision set out in an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan where the parent or young person is involved that securing that provision.
The right to request a personal budget
Parents or the young person (over the age of 16) have a right to request a personal budget when the local authority has completed an EHC statutory assessment and confirmed that it will prepare an EHC plan. Parents or the young person may also request a personal budget during a statutory review of an existing EHC plan.
Eligibility criteria for a personal budget
In general a personal budget as part of an EHC plan will only be agreed where it is clear that it represents a resource that is:
- Above that which could reasonably be expected to be provided by all parents
- Additional to normally available services and resources (ie, Local Offer)
- Necessary to support the child/young person to achieve their outcomes
- Clearly evidenced in terms of need
And/or the child or young person has been assessed by the Disabled Children Service as eligible for additional and individual support at home, short breaks and/or specialist and occupational therapy services from the Disabled Children’s Service. For example children:
- who require support to meet personal care needs in the home
- who require overnight short breaks to avoid family breakdown
- who require specialist equipment or adaptations to the family property
- where there are significant concerns about the child/young person’s welfare and safety
And/or the child or young person has been assessed by the Health Service as eligible for continuing care, ie, a complex, long term and/or life limiting condition. For example children:
- who cannot breathe without support
- with severe epilepsy that is not controlled by medication
- with a significant health need who require continuous adult supervision
Setting and agreeing a personal budget
When a request for a statutory assessment is made the parent or young person may, if they wish, notify the local authority of their intention to request a personal budget. They may make this request at any point during the statutory assessment process and it can be discussed and documented in the introductory and integrated assessments meeting.
Delivery of a personal budget
There are four ways in which the child’s parent and/or the young person can be involved in securing provision:
- Direct payments – where individuals receive the money to contract, purchase and manage services themselves
- An arrangement – whereby the local authority, school or college holds the funds and commissions the support specified in the plan. These are sometimes called notional budgets
- Third party arrangements – where funds (direct payments) are paid to and managed by an individual or organisation on behalf of the child’s parent or the young person
- A combination of the above
The local authority will undertake ongoing monitoring of how the direct payment is being used. This will be carried out within the first three months of making the payment and then yearly after the first payment or whenever there are changes in relation to the services provided.