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We aim to provide more personalised support to children and young people who have additional needs, requiring specialist support.

One way to achieve this is to offer young people and their families more choice and control over the way funding is used for their support.

Traditionally, our statutory services have commissioned specialist provision to meet the needs of all children requiring specialist support in the county. Now, where possible, funds can be taken out of commissioned specialist services and managed yourself, where a different type of support has been agreed to meet your child's needs, and where doing so doesn't negatively affect other young people receiving those services.

A Personal Budget is the allocated money for this specialist provision.

Personal Budgets are not a way of getting extra money but for using the existing money available more flexibly and effectively in a way that suits the individual to achieve the outcomes identified in the EHCP, the child in need plan, or health care and support plan.

Who can have a personal budget?

There are 3 areas you can have a personal budget for: education, health and social care.

You can request a personal budget for one or more or these areas of provision if:

  • you have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • you have a Social Care plan, children in need plan, or short breaks plan for disabled children
  • you have a Health Care and Support Plan and are eligible for Children's Continuing Care

You can only have a personal budget for education provision if you have an EHCP.

You don't have to have a personal budget if you don't want it - support to meet the outcomes in the plan can still be provided by the council and the clinical commissioning groups in the traditional way.

How do I ask for a personal budget?

If you have an EHCP, you can have discussions with people supporting you and your family at any time. However the formal request for a Personal Budget for education can only be made when:

  • The draft EHCP is being prepared.
  • The EHCP is being reviewed or re-assessed.

You can speak to your SEN officer about this.

If you would like a social care personal budget, speak to your 0-25 Together Practitioner.

If you would like a health personal budget, speak to your Children's Continuing Care health practitioner.

What can the personal budget be used for?

Most personal budgets in Hertfordshire are used for social care support. Often they are used for employing a personal assistant - this is someone who can take a child or young person out to enjoy activities and clubs, support with life skills, for example preparing for adulthood, or can provide support at home.

In education, personal budgets can be used for provision which meets outcomes identified in your EHCP, in place of existing provision, where it's possible to make different arrangements. Requests for alternative provision are considered on an individual basis, so you will need to have a detailed conversation with your SEN officer to explore the options available to you.

How is a personal budget managed?

1. Direct Payments

This is the most popular option. Parents and carers with parental responsibility can receive the payment on behalf of their child, and use this to pay for services or employ personal assistants to provide the agreed support. From the age of 16, a young person can receive and manage the funds themselves.

2. Notional personal budget

You and your child are involved in decisions about how the money is used, while the personal budget is held and managed by the responsible organisation on your behalf. This could be Hertfordshire County Council, your school or your Clinical Commissioning Group. Services provided can only be those that are commissioned by the organisation.

3. Third party personal budget

The budget is received and managed by a separate organisation, like an independent brokerage service or a service provider. They will arrange services on your behalf.

Personal Budgets frequently asked questions

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:

  1. Social care support for disabled children
  2. Continuing Care for children and Continuing Healthcare for adults
  3. 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.



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