A personal budget is an amount of money that is used to meet some of the needs of an individual child or young person with additional needs. The money would be used to contribute towards meeting the outcomes described in the child or young person’s Education Health and Care (EHC) plan.
The personal budget is not all the resources that will be used to support a child or young person. It is just the cashable amount that could be made available to be used flexibly to meet the additional needs.
A personal budget is not extra money – it is money that would have been spent on meeting the child or young person’s needs in the EHC plan. Offering it as a personal budget creates an opportunity to spend it in a more personal way, better tailored to individual cases and situations.
The Children and Families Act says there are 2 key points when a parent or young person is entitled to ask for a personal budget:
- When the draft EHC plan is being prepared (section 38)
- When the EHC plan is being reviewed or re-assessed (section 44)
Young people that have an EHC plan and have completed Year 11 have the right to request a personal budget in their own right.
Trafford Council and Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have identified the following areas where a personal budget could be given in the form of a direct payment. Each of these personal budgets has their own separate eligibility criteria.
a) From school or college SEN budget
b) From Local Authority High Needs Block budget
a) Social Care Personal Budgets for Children and Young People with Complex Needs (also referred to as CAN Short Breaks)
b) Social Care Personal Budgets for Adults
a) Continuing Care (Children age 0 to 18 years)
b) Continuing Health Care fo Adults over 18 years or those accessing Community Mental Health Team, Community Learning Disability Team and the Community Neuro-rehabiliation team.
There will be very few children and young people that will meet the eligibility criteria across all three areas of education, health and social care. However all children and young people with an EHC plan would meet the criteria for a personal education budget.
Where a child or young person does meet criteria in more than one area, the resource will be pooled where appropriate and there will be joint planning so that the available resources are used in the best way to meet the outcomes in the plan.
There are a number of ways in which the Personal Budget identified could be managed:
- The personal budget is retained by the local authority/NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and the support/service secured on your behalf.
- If you wish someone else/another organisation to manage your personal budget on your behalf then this can be arranged.
- Some or all of the personal budget may be taken as a direct payment for you to purchase the support/service required.
- A combination of the above
Options 2 and 3 are only available with the agreement of the local authority and the education provider.
Personal Budgets give you greater control over your child’s support arrangements, and support independence. They give you choice over how you receive support, and who provides it. You can make arrangements to employ someone directly as a Personal Assistant (PA).
A direct payment is one of the ways in which a personal budget can be managed. A direct payment is when an amount of money is paid to a parent or young person, and they are then responsible for managing this money to achieve the outcomes in their EHC plan.
In Trafford, the preferred way to make this direct payment is through the issue of a pre-payment card. This is very similar to a debit card. The amount of personal budget is loaded onto the card and issued to the individual to use and spend in line with the agreed activities in the EHC Plan.
Trafford can refuse to use a direct payment if meeting an individual’s needs in this way is likely to have an adverse impact on other services which the local authority provides. Similarly, if providing a direct payment is less efficient than securing a service through alternative arrangements, then the council can refuse on the grounds that it is inefficient use of their resources. The personal health budget can be refused if it does not meed the individual's health outcomes.
Where a direct payment is requested and agreed to meet the education outcomes in an EHC plan, the head teacher or proprietor of the education establishment has to be in agreement before a service takes place on their site. The LA will work with parents and schools and colleges to try to come to an agreement in these circumstances.