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Wolverhampton Information Network

SEND - Personal Budgets

Personal budgets explained

A Personal Budget is a sum of money that a young person/family can use to spend in a way that they choose to meet the needs and outcomes identified through an assessment. It will mean that they choose not to use the usual services commissioned by the local authority or ICB (integrated care board), but instead will use the money to purchase something different.

Personal budgets are designed to help families and young people have more control and greater choice over how their needs are met and the way services they receive are delivered.

Depending on which services the child or young person is eligible for will depend on how the amount is calculated. Different people will have differing amounts depending on their needs.
Personal Budgets can be available for:

  • Children and young people with disabilities
  • Children and young people with an EHCP - A young person with an EHCP can ask for their own Personal Budget after the end of the school year in which they become 16 years of age
  • Those accessing targeted short breaks
  • Children and young people with Continuing Care needs
  • Those accessing home to school transport (SEND)
  • Children and young people with a wheelchair

Personal Budgets are linked to an assessment of need. The assessment will look at the holistic needs of the child and their family. From the assessment, it may be decided that support is needed from one or more teams/agencies.

Before a Personal Budget can be agreed, the Council and/or ICB must agree that additional funding is required to support a young person over and above what is already available through universal services.

A Personal Budget is one option of how a child/young person and their family can receive support. Personal Budgets may not be suitable for everybody, and it is up to the family to decide what is best for them and their situation.

Delivery of personal budgets

  • A Direct Payment is one way of delivering a Personal Budget.
    If a person gets a Direct Payment, then they will get the money that has been agreed for the care and support paid either into a separate bank account, or onto a pre-paid card issued by the Local Authority.
  • Third Party Managed Budget – an organisation will manage the money on the person’s behalf, but they will still have control over what their support looks like and how the money is spent
  • Notional Budget – the Local Authority or ICB manage the money on the person’s behalf

Types of personal budgets

  • A personal social care budget

This is a budget for children/young people assessed as needing extra support at home or in the community, or for social activities.

  • A personal health budget (PHB)

This is usually a budget for children/young people who are assessed by the NHS as having continuing care needs. These children/young people usually have complex, long-term or life limiting conditions and may require an additional package of health support to meet their needs, which is assessed using the National Framework for Children and Young People’s Continuing Care.

There is also options for wheelchair users who have long term postural and mobility needs that have had an assessment completed by wheelchair services to have a personal health budget.

  • SEN (education) personal budget

The SEN personal budget is a sum of money that can be used to personalise a child/young person’s learning support that will help meet the outcomes within their EHCP.

What can the budget be spent on?

Your Personal Budget can be spent on anything that meets the goals that have been agreed between you and relevant professionals who are supporting you. These goals will be set out in your support/care plan or EHCP. It is a good idea to think about how you would like to use the budget to meet your health and wellbeing needs and how to manage it.

Examples of how a personal budget can be used include:

  • Employing carers or PAs to support children & young people receiving a PHB.
  • Paying for activities that help children & young people access in the community.
  • Equipment to help at home
  • Transport from home to school

Personal budgets cannot be used to pay for universal services that all children and young people can access but can help with individual support that needs to be put in place for a child or young person with SEND. Additionally personal Budgets cannot be spent on:

  • Anything illegal
  • Alcohol or tobacco
  • Paying off debts and household bills
  • Primary care services - General practitioner, dentistry, prescriptions, and vaccinations
  • Urgent and emergency care, surgery.
  • Anything that NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has said cannot be prescribed on the NHS (for example homeopathy and herbal treatments)

How to request a Personal Budget

  • Personal budgets can be requested as part of an EHCP needs assessment (which can lead to an EHCP). You can inform the SENSTART team who is involved in the EHCP process, that you would like a personal budget for your education/ or your child/young person’s education
  • Personal budgets can be requests during the annual review process of an EHCP via the SENCO (special educational needs coordinator)
  • If you are eligible for Children and young people’s continuing care please contact
  • For any other queries related the health and social care needs please speak to someone who is already involved in your care needs - such as a social worker, strengthening families worker, community nurse.

What will happen if the request is refused?

If the local authority refuses a request for a direct payment for special educational provision, the local authority must set out their reasons in writing and inform the child's parent or the young person of their right to request a formal review of the decision. The local authority will consider any subsequent representation made by the child's parent or the young person and notify them of the outcome, in writing, setting out the reasons for their decision.

Where the disagreement relates to the special educational provision to be secured through a Personal Budget, the child's parent or the young person can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability), as with any other disagreement about provision to be specified in an EHC Plan.

Decisions in relation to the health element (Personal Health Budget) remain the responsibility of the ICB or other health commissioning bodies and where they decline a request for a direct payment, they must set out the reasons in writing and provide the opportunity for a formal review.

Further useful information on personal budgets can be found via the External Links section on this page.

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