Sometimes families need to access additional support for their child - this extra support might include:
- Additional support from education to ensure that a child’s learning needs are met
- Additional support from Health where a child has a complex, long-term and/or life limiting condition
- Additional support from social care where a child needs additional and individual support at home, or where the family need a short break from caring, or where support is needed so that the child and the family can have the same experiences as other families.
A Personal Budget may help you to find alternative solutions that you may feel supports your child/young person better. This can be by purchasing existing services or by developing new and imaginative ways of using the money.
Instead of a family being provided with a service, a budget is identified and work takes place to plan how this can best be used to meet the child or family’s needs. A parent/carer of a child, young person or adult up to 25 years old with an EHC plan can request a personal budget.
There are 4 ways that a personal budget can be delivered:
- Notational budget – No money changes hands. Services are arranged on the family’s behalf by the Local Authority or Health Service
- Direct Payment – Money is paid directly to the young person/family and they pay for their agreed support where this funding has been identified in the plan
- Third party arrangement – A third party organisation, trust or nominated person holds the money and pays for agreed services on behalf of the young person
- A combination of the above
Personal budgets are optional and parents and carers or the child or young person can continue to have services provided in the current way.
Personal budgets are not means tested so parents who work can still opt to have a personal budget for their child / young person. If the young person is over 18, and a part of the budget comes from Social Care then the family may have to make a financial contribution. This should be discussed with your Social Worker.
Frequently Asked Question
I have decided that I want to request a Personal Budget and Direct Payment, must the Local Authority agree to this?
Answer - No, the Local Authority can only agree to this if they are sure that:
- You plan to use the Direct Payment in the appropriate way
- You will act in the best interests of the child
- Making the Direct Payment will not adversely impact upon other services provided to other children who have an EHC Plan
- It is an efficient use of Local Authority resources
Where the support or service is to be used in a school the Head Teacher of the school must agree. If they do not, the Local Authority cannot make the payment.
If the Local Authority refuses a Direct Payment they must explain their decision in writing and also explain to you how you can challenge this decision.
If the refusal concerns the personal health part of the plan, then the explanation concerning the refusal must be sent out by the Clinical Commissioning Group who are the health organisation responsible for the decision.
The Council Personal SEND Budget Policy, as well as a number of guidance documents are available on the right hand side of this page, under Downloads.
These documents can also be made available in a number of different formats. If you would like a copy of any of these documents in an alternative format, please contact SEN Unit on 0191 520 5553.