Q1. I am unhappy with some of the services provided to my child; however they seem to be outside of the scope of the current Personal Budget policy. I would like to receive a Personal Budget so I can buy my own support for these services, is this possible?
Where these services are provided to a large number of children through a block contract, it may not be possible to remove the individual funding for your child from the overall amount without negatively affecting the other children and the support available to them. Every request will be dealt with individually but it is likely that it would not be agreed at this time. As the Personal Budget local offer grows, this may be something which will become available as an option.
Q2. I am not clear about what the current Personal Budget options are and what is within the scope of this policy. Can you clarify?
The Personal Budget options are:
- Social care support for disabled children
- Continuing Care for children and Continuing Healthcare for adults
- SEN support agreed in an EHC plan
Some of the funding for these options may be used to support a number of children and consequently a Personal Budget may not be an option.
The SEN Code of Practice says that local authorities must consider each request for a Personal Budget case by case, however requests made outside of the areas above are unlikely to be agreed.
Q3. How much will the Personal Budget be?
This will be different for each child or young person as the amount is based on their individual outcomes and needs. The Code of Practice is clear that the Personal Budget amount must be enough to purchase the support and services agreed to be managed as a personal budget in the EHCP. The same applies to Personal Budgets for social care or health Care and Support plans.
Q4. Once there is a plan for how the Personal Budget will be used, can this be changed at a later point?
Yes, arrangements can be changed as long as there is money left in the budget to make the changes and the changes meet the needs of your child, and contribute to their outcomes. Changes would usually be discussed at a review of the EHCP / child in need / health care and Support plan.
Q5. If my child had a Personal Budget from more than one service (e.g. social care and health), could all of the money be paid into one account and used together?
Yes, the money can be paid into one account. If the money is to be combined, the EHCP / Care and Support plans would need to explain in detail how it will contribute to the different identified outcomes in each plan.
Q6. Can a Personal Budget help pay for the cost of a school place?
No, a Personal Budget is to pay for the additional support a child or young person needs and not for an early years, school or college place.
Q7. Can parents / carers decide who they want to support their child in school / college?
No, it is not possible for parents / carers to make this decision without the written consent of the Head Teacher or Principal, even if their Personal Budget is in the form of a Direct Payment.
Q8. Does having a Personal Budget mean our family can spend the money how we like?
No, how the money is spent has to be agreed at the time the budget is allocated and it can only be spent on the agreed support. Depending on the type of support needed, this can sometimes be broad to allow changes for example social activities where a young person wants to try a different activity or use their support at a different time.
Q9. If I do not get a Personal Budget, can I apply to the SEND Tribunal about this?
No, the SEND Tribunal legally can not resolve disputes about Personal Budgets. The only legal remedy available to parents / carers or young people here is judicial review. This is a procedure by a court to review an administrative action taken by a public body, such as the council.
However, if you are unhappy with the special educational provision to be secured through a Personal Budget you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability).
Q10. I have heard about Individual Service Funds, is this the same as a Personal Budget?
Individual Service Funds (ISFs) are one way to manage a Personal Budget; they are a type of third party arrangement. ISFs have been available for people living in supported accommodation where the housing provider holds the budget on behalf of the person and uses this to cover the accommodation and support costs, and can also use some of the budget to pay for support provided by other service providers or individuals in line with the person’s choice. In future ISFs may be available for other types of support.
Q11. What is the difference between a Personal Budget and a Direct Payment?
A Personal Budget is the amount of money needed to achieve the outcomes specified in the young persons plan. Personal budgets are part of a young persons support planning called personalisation - where the young person, parent or carer knows how much the support costs, and has a choice about how it is managed and spent.
A Direct Payment is one of the ways of managing a Personal Budget, where cash is taken instead of services, and the person arranges their own support. There are other ways of managing a Personal Budget too - a third party budget where an organisation manages the money and organises the support, or a notional budget where the Council or Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) holds the money and arranges the services.