Personal Budgets

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Introduction

From 1st September 2014 The Children and Families Act 2014 and associated regulations in relation to children and young people are in force and a new coordinated Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) replaces the historic system for Statements of Special Educational Needs.

One of the central themes of Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 is making sure that services and support are 'personalised'.  This means that children, young people and their families have as much choice and control as possible over the support they need and that any support is built around the individual rather than trying to fit into existing services or ways of support, if these are not appropriate.

What is a Personal Budget?

A Personal Budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC Plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision.

Local authorities must have a policy on Personal Budgets which should form part of the Local Offer and include:

  • A description of the services across education, health and social care that currently lend themselves to the use of a persoanl budget
  • How that funding will be made available
  • Clear and simple statements of eligibility criteria and decision making processes

Mechanisms for delivery of a Personal Budget

There are four ways in which a Personal Budget can be delivered:

  • Direct Payments - where individuals receive an amount of cash to contract, purchase and manage services themselves.
  • An arrangement - whereby the local authority, school or college holds the funds and commissions the support specified in the plan (this would apply to the 'top up' elements of the funding only and not the notional or school place funding held by the school or college).
  • Third party arrangements - where funds (direct payments) are paid to and managed by an individual or organisation on behalf of the child's parent or the young person.
  • A combination of all of the above.

Within the relevant subsections, you will find information relating to Education, Health and Social Care.