Personal Budgets (Education, Health and Care Plans)
A Personal Budget is an allocated amount of money issued to support the outcomes of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. A Personal Budget can be controlled by parents, carers or young people themselves and offer more flexibility, choice, and control over the support used.
Personal Budgets are optional and if you choose to have one, it will be recorded in the EHC Plan itself. If you choose not to have a Personal Budget, the money will be managed by professionals to support your child in the normal way. The option of a Personal Budget will be discussed with you by a LA Officer during the drafting of the EHC Plan and at an Annual Review.
For those children and young people who are identified as having Special Educational Needs greater than what a mainstream setting can provide from its own resources, an EHC Plan will be drawn up. To support this EHC plan the County Council may need to allocate 'top-up' funding to the school or college named in the plan. It is this ‘top-up’ funding that could be transferred to a Personal Budget for you to control. Schools and colleges are encouraged to personalise the support they provide and they can choose to contribute some of their own funding to a personal budget to give even more flexibility.
If you wish to spend a personal budget on services or equipment to be used within the school or college, the headteacher or principal must agree. The part of the 'top-up' funding used to pay for services which are currently commissioned by the council on block contracts is not eligible for a personal budget because these contracts deliver good value for money. Currently, these include speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.
The County Council is currently working with parent/carer representatives and transport providers to review what flexibility could be made around a Personal Budget for those pupils who are eligible for home to school transport. The Council already offers a mileage reimbursement scheme to some parents/carers where, following a transport assessment, this is identified as the most appropriate and cost-effective solution.
How can I get a Personal Budget?
A family can request a Personal Budget…
If the local authority is preparing an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan.
When an existing Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan is being reviewed.
A request for a personal budget must be made during the planning process.
A request for a personal budget should be made when a family is asked to state a preference for a school.
Some children and young people with special needs or disabilities access support from social care. This may be for:
- Help in the home
- Support to access community events
- Short breaks sometimes including overnight stays
Most short breaks are currently bought by the council through ‘block’ contracts. The council is working to build more flexibility into their contracts in the future to increase the options for Personal Budgets. At present, if you already receive a personalised (assessed) package of help from social care a Personal Budget may be considered as an alternative. If you wish your child/young person’s needs to be assessed please contact:
The First Response Team:
Phone: 0845 4600001 or 01296 383962
Secure email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I manage my Personal Budget?
Personal Budgets can be managed:
As a direct payment
As an ‘organised or notional personal budget’ where the local authority manage the budget
As a service organised and managed by a provider on behalf of the family
As a mix of these three.
If a family do not request a personal budget, they should be supported to be as involved as they can in organising support for their son or daughter, and the local authority will take the role of ‘individual commissioner’.
Transition into Adult Social Care
Adult social care provides all its services and support to individuals through a personal budget. Everyone will have a personal budget for social care should they be eligible.
From 1 October 2014 children and young people eligible for NHS Continuing Care Funding have the ‘right to have’ a Personal Health Budget. This can be used to provide support and resources to meet an individual’s health and wellbeing needs. Parents and guardians of children and young people eligible for support can contact the Children and Young People’s Continuing Care Team that support them for further information.
The amount of money you receive will depend on the needs of your child. Remember that Personal Budgets are not about giving additional resource. They are about allowing you to have greater involvement and choice in the use of that resource in the best way to meet your child’s needs.
An estimated funding allocation to meet all the outcomes of the EHC plan will be set initially and sent to families along with the draft plan. This document will also set out how much of the funding could be transferred to a personal budget. You will then be asked if you would like to take some or all of this as a personal budget.
The funding allocation may need to be revised as the outcomes in the plan are finalised since it is a requirement that the overall funding is sufficient to secure the outcomes. The amount available for a personal budget may also need to be adjusted.
There are three ways families can choose to manage a personal budget. You can choose a combination of these methods if you wish:
- An organisational arrangement: No money changes hands. Support and services are arranged on the family’s behalf by the local authority or health service.
- Third party arrangements: A third party, trust or person holds the money and supports the purchase of services or support.
- Direct payment: Money is given to the family or young person to manage the services themselves. Spend and accountability is monitored by the local authority or the health service.