While the SEND Regulations cover the whole 0 – 25 age range, this guidance refers mainly to Personal Budgets for children up to 18. This is because from 18 years of age the Adult Care Services policies and rules apply for social care and health Personal Budgets. For 18 – 25 year olds who have educational needs and an EHC plan the education information in this guidance will apply.
What is a personal budget?
A Personal Budget is the amount of money available for families and young people to obtain additional/specialist provision.
They ensure that families have a choice about the support arranged and flexibility and control over how it is spent to achieve the best outcomes.
Personal Budgets are not a way of getting extra money but for using the existing resources available more flexibly and effectively in a way that suits the individual to achieve the outcomes identified in the EHC plan.
The request for a Personal Budget can be made at any time during the period in which:
a) The draft EHC plan is being prepared.
b) The EHC plan is being reviewed or re-assessed.
CYP with eligible health or social care needs can also request Personal Budgets without having an EHC plan.
The Personal Budgets available through Local Authorities may sometimes be described separately as Education or SEN PBs and Social Care PBs. Personal Budgets available through the CCGs are always called Personal Health Budgets.
Who is it for?
Any child or young person with special educational needs or disabilities with an Education, Health and Care plan can request a personal budget.
This guidance also applies to children and young people who have a Child in Need or Short Breaks Plan following a social care assessment of need under the Children Act 1989, and to children and young people who have a Health Care and Support plan and are eligible for Children’s Continuing Care.
A CYP cannot have a Personal Budget for education if they do not have an EHC plan.
If a child / young person (CYP) and young adult up to 25 years old, has education needs and they have an EHC plan they can request a Personal Budget. If they have education needs but do not have an EHC plan, they will need to request an assessment for an EHC plan before any Personal Budget for Education can be considered. More information about eligibility for an EHC plan.
When a CYP has education and/or social care and/or health needs, these will all be included in the EHC plan and a Personal Budget can be requested for these different needs so that they can be supported holistically and flexibly. This would be called an integrated budget.
If a CYP does not have an EHC plan, they may have a social care plan, and they can request a Personal Budget. More information about eligibility for a social care plan.
If a CYP gets 40 hours of Short Break Local Offer (SBLO) activities this cannot be taken as a Personal Budget unless they have a support plan through the 0-25 Together service. Please see further information about the Short Break Local Offer in Appendix 3.
If a CYP does not have an EHC plan, they may have a health care and support plan, and if they meet the criteria for Children’s Continuing Care a Personal Budget can be requested. Further information about eligibility for Children’s Continuing Care.
Eligibility criteria apply to each service area through which the CYP requires provision. It is envisaged that over time access to Personal Budgets will increase when a wider range of resources can be used for Personal Budgets.
A Personal Budget may be available for services to achieve some or all the outcomes listed in the plan.
How is it managed?
Personal Budgets offer parents/carers and CYP choice in how their care, education and health needs are met. Personal Budgets can be managed in one of 3 ways or a combination of all 3:
- a Direct Payment received and managed by the young person (aged 16 or over) or their parent or representative, Direct Payments are available through 2 mechanisms:
- Direct Payments – cash is paid into a separate bank account that the recipient has set up in his/her own name
- Virtual Direct Payments – funds are transferred on to a pre-paid account card for the exclusive use of the recipient
For the purposes of this guidance both mechanisms are referred to as ‘Direct Payments’ where you manage the money.
Section 10 of the full guidance has more information about Direct Payments.
- a third party budget received and managed by a separate individual or organisation on behalf of the CYP – this could be a brokerage service or a service provider. In Hertfordshire we are working with providers to implement third party Personal Budget arrangements.
Where Personal Budgets are managed by a third party individual or organisation, this is usually through a Direct Payment to the third party and the same requirements and monitoring arrangements apply as set out in the Direct Payment Agreements.
- a notional budget held on behalf of the CYP or their parent/carer, with their involvement in deciding how the support is provided through commissioned providers. The notional budget can be held by HCC, or a school or college managing delegated Local Authority funding, and/or the CCG.
- having a notional budget offers choice and information about how much money is in the budget, without families having to manage the money or buy the services. The school / college, CCG or HCC will do this with the involvement of the family.
Parents/carers with capacity to manage Personal Budgets in the form of Direct Payments themselves or with assistance will ordinarily have control of a Direct Payment up to the end of year 11 (post compulsory school age).
At age 16 from the end of year 11 the young person has responsibility, if they have capacity, unless they elect for their parent/carer to manage their Direct Payment.
If parents/carers lack capacity to manage the Direct Payment themselves or with assistance then a representative of the parent will ordinarily have control instead.
Alternatively a representative of the young person can be appointed. A child’s parent/carer or the young person can also nominate in writing an individual to manage the Direct Payment.
See Appendix 8 for more information about Representatives and Nominees, who can manage personal budgets on behalf of parent/carer and young people.
How much money is it?
The scope of the budget will vary depending on the needs of the individual, the eligibility criteria for the different components and the way it is delivered. It will reflect local circumstances, commissioning arrangements, value for money considerations and school preference.
All Personal Budgets must be an efficient use of resources.
Services that are in place for a group of CYP, or are within universal or targeted services would not normally be offered as a Personal Budget because of value for money considerations. Personal Budgets would not be available where it is damaging to take out an individual cost from funding that is working well to support several CYP (Code of Practice 9.106 and SEND Regulations (Personal Budgets) 2014 6.1).
The effect of the requirements is that where providing support by way of a Direct Payment costs significantly more than it would cost the authority to deliver the provision in another way, no Direct Payment can be made.
Decisions not to make Direct Payments must be provided to the parent/carer or the young person in writing and the parent/carer or young person must be given a right to request a review.
For more information on sources of funding and their elements for Personal Budgets please read section 8 of the full guidance.
Support Planning - a conversation with the CYP and their parents/carers about the support needed to achieve the outcomes identified in the plan.
The planning /review meeting will be person-centred in approach.
The following will also be considered by the service and, where relevant, the education setting, before a decision can be made:
- Is the proposed use an effective and efficient use of resources?
- Does the use of money through a Personal Budget represent value for money?
- If resources are released for a Personal Budget does this negatively impact on other children within the setting?
- Can the proposed support arrangement be managed within the setting and where relevant are they complementary to whole class/group approaches being implemented?
How much money is available? HCC / CCG will calculate a ‘suggested budget’ which gives a rough idea of how much money may be needed to achieve the outcomes and therefore how much money may be used in a Personal Budget.
What can a Personal Budget be spent on? A Personal Budget can be spent on anything legal and reasonable BUT has to meet the needs that are set out in the EHC plan and/or Care and support plan with defined outcomes and this needs to be agreed by HCC and/or CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group).
For more information on processes for determining a personal budget read section 9 of the full guidance.
Personal budget review
Personal Budgets will be reviewed at least annually as part of the EHCP review or when conducting a re-assessment of an EHC Plan. The regularity of any interim reviews required will be determined at the time of agreeing the Personal Budget. Where a Personal Budget is managed as a Direct Payment this will be reviewed formally within 3 months of the person receiving a Direct Payment in line with the Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014.
The reviews will focus on the CYP's progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in the EHC plan and whether the arrangements made in the form of a Personal Budget continue to meet those outcomes. We will aim to do this in an integrated way where there is more than one agency funding the Personal Budget. The purpose of the review is to ensure resources are being used in the best way to support the CYP to achieve their outcomes.
Social care and health reviews may take place more regularly. A young person/parent/carer may contact a lead worker to request a review if the current arrangements are not meeting their needs.
For more information on monitoring and review read section 17 full guidance.