Definition of a Personal Budget

Personal budgets are one element of a personalised approach to supporting children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) or identified health need. They should not be seen in isolation but as an integral part of the agreed individual plan, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for children and young people, with each partner agency being responsible for the relevant provision identified within the personal budget.

The aim of a personal budget is for a child or young person and their families to have greater control and choice over the type of support they receive. A personal budget should reflect the agreed outcomes of an EHC/CIN/Health Plan. It should be focused so that it secures the provision agreed in the Plan and is designed to secure the outcomes specified in the Plan

The Children and Families Act 2014 introduces an Education Health and Care Plan which replaces a statement of special educational need.

“The purpose of an EHC plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and, as they get older, prepare them for adulthood.”

The Code of Practice also makes clear that;

“The child’s parent or the young person has a right to request a personal budget, when the local authority has completed an EHC needs assessment and confirmed that it will prepare an EHC plan. They may also request personal budget during a statutory review of an existing EHC plan…..(personal budgets) should be focused to secure the provision agreed in the EHC plan and should be designed to secure the outcomes specified in the EHC plan.”

Personal Budgets can help in ensuring that the plan is tailored to the needs of the individual child, young person and family. This is reflected in the code of practice.

“As part of a person-centred approach to the development of the EHC plan, the local authority should agree the provision to be made in the plan and help the parent or young person to decide whether they want to take up a Personal Budget.”

Education, Health and Social care Personal Budgets

A personal SEN budget is a sum of money made available because it is clear that without this additional (top-up) funding it will not be possible to meet the child’s learning support needs. The educational setting (school/college/early years) will already have funding for learning support; only pupils or students with more complex learning support needs, who have an EHC Plan, are likely to need a personal SEN budget. In some circumstances the head teacher/principal and school or college/learning provider, may choose to offer some funding towards a personal SEN budget but is not required to do so. Scope for a personal budget could vary depending on school preference. For special school placements it is likely that the specialist provision on offer will be met by provision which is detailed as part of an EHC plan but this can be discussed on an individual basis.

A personal health budget refers to the budget that may be made available should a young person or child have complex, long-term and/or a life-limiting health condition/s. A child or young person, who has been assessed as eligible for CYPCC/ ACHC funding, has the right to receive a personal health budget. Children and young people who are not eligible for CYPCC/ACHC but who have health provision identified within their EHCP funding, may be considered for a personal health budget, where this is supported by the respective Clinical Commissioning Group. A personal health budget is an amount of money to support a person’s individual health care and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between the individual and their local NHS team. Where a personal budget is secured for a particular service the child/young person will no longer be able to receive the equivalent provision from core/universal or specialist services.

A personal social care budget refers to the budget that can be made available if a young person or child is assessed as needing additional and individual support, beyond that which their family is able to provide or arrange, or specific support needed to help family members care for that child or young person.

In all cases the availability of a personal budget will be based on the support a child or young person’s needs in order for them to achieve a set of agreed outcomes and to have their identified support needs met.