During an EHC Needs Assessment or a statutory review of an EHC Plan, the request for a Personal Budget should be discussed with a representative from the Local Authority (LA) to make sure that the Personal Budget would secure the provision to meet assessed needs.
The Local Authority will also consider if a Personal Budget is an efficient way to pay for a service, especially one it already provides. However, if a parent or young person requests it, the Local Authority must prepare a Personal Budget that specifies the cost of the support in the EHC Plan. If the Local Authority cannot do this, perhaps because it cannot separate out an individual amount from a block of funding, it must provide an explanation.
If a Personal Budget cannot be agreed, a Local Authority representative will inform the child’s parent or the young person of the reasons it is unable to agree. The LA will continue to work with the parents or the young person to ensure that services are personalised through other means. The LA will set out in writing the reasons for not agreeing and inform the child’s parent or the young person of their right to request a formal review of the decision. The LA will consider any further representation made by the child’s parent or the young person and notify them of the outcome, in writing, setting out the reasons for its decision.
A Personal Budget can only be used when it directly relates to an EHC needs assessment. For example, if a Speech and Language Therapist has reported that no therapy is needed for a child, it would be unlikely that the LA would agree a Personal Budget that paid for Speech and Language therapy. A Personal Budget is an alternative way of funding provision, not of changing, increasing or enhancing it. A Personal Budget is not extra funding.
The government says that a Personal Budget cannot be used for:
- the funding of a placement at a school, college or other educational setting;
- general provision for children or young people, including those who need SEN Support.
Details of the Personal Budget will be included in Section J of an Education, Health (EHC) Plan. It will be reviewed annually with the rest of the EHC Plan.
When Direct Payments (payments made directly to the child’s parent, the young person or their nominee) are used, they must be set at a level that will secure the provision specified in the EHC Plan. If a Direct Payment is not set at a suitable level, it must be reviewed and adjusted.
The Local Authority will provide written notice of the conditions for receipt of Direct Payments. The child's parent or the young person will confirm to the Local Authority their decision to manage the budget and agreement of the amount.