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Personal budgets for children and young people with SEND

What is a personal budget?

A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the Local Authority (LA) to deliver the support set out in an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Following an assessment of need we may decide that extra resources from one or more sources are needed to meet the child's outcomes.

The LA or health and care services often buy services on behalf of the child or young person and their family. A personal budget will offer families more control about the services that they receive. They will be told the budget so they can get involved in all decision making to choose the best support to meet their outcomes. The amount you get will depend on what has been set out in your EHC plan so each person will vary.

All children and young people who have an EHC assessment or plan can request a personal budget.

What are the different types of personal budgets?

A personal social care budget

This is for children and young people assessed as needing extra support at home or in their community. The social care or early help team carry out the assessment. We pay most personal budgets through direct payments.

A personal health budget

This is money for children and young people assessed as needing continuing health care. These are children with complex, long-term or life-limiting conditions.

For further information, speak to your health professional dealing with your child's health needs.

SEN (education) personal budget

The SEN Personal Budget is a sum of money that can be used to personalise a child or young person’s learning support and will help meet the outcomes in the EHC plan. This allows young people or their parents and carers to create flexible or specialised learning support.

How to get a personal budget

A child’s parent or the young person can request a personal budget. They can do this once we have:

  • completed an EHC needs assessment
  • confirmed they will get an EHC plan. This will be at or before the 16 week of the needs assessment

They may also request a personal budget during an annual review of an existing EHC plan.

How you can use your personal budget

You can only use the personal budget to fund the support set out in the EHC plan. Such as:

  • equipment to help at home
  • equipment to help with communicating or learning
  • activities, clubs or short breaks
  • a personal assistant to help with tasks at home, or help you manage day trips
  • organising work or learning opportunities

You can’t use your personal budget to pay for:

  • help from a family member that lives with you
  • payment for a place at school or college
  • medical charges like dental work or GP services. This includes prescriptions and holiday vaccinations

How to manage a personal budget

Families can manage a personal budget using:

  • direct payments. This is where individuals receive the cash to contract, buy and manage a service themselves
  • an arrangement. This is where either the school or college, or the LA (us) hold the funds. They will then commission the support specified in the plan. These are sometimes called notional budgets
  • third party arrangements. 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 direct payments, arrangement or third party arrangement

Find out more about personal budgets

The DfE-funded ‘Making it Personal’ project has guidance for parents, commissioners and suppliers.

You can also contact SENDIASS for further information and advice.

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