Personal Budgets

Extract taken from the SEND Code of Practice 0 - 25 years January 2015
(8.74, 9.95, 9.98, 9.101, 9.103, 9.119)


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.


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 a Personal Budget during a statutory review of an existing EHC plan.


There are four ways in which the child's parent and/or the young person can be involved in securing provision:


  • Direct payments - where individuals receive the 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 (these are sometimes called notional budgets)

  • 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 the above.


Where a transition assessment identifies needs that are likely to be eligible, local authorities should consider providing an indicative Personal Budget so that young people have an idea of how much their care and support will cost when they enter the adult system. This is particularly important if young people with EHC plans are already exercising their statutory right to a Personal Budget as any adult with eligible needs will have a care and support plan which must include a Personal Budget. Young people with EHC plans may also consider the transition to adult services a good opportunity to start exercising their right to start receiving their Personal Budget as a direct payment. 

Details of the proposed Personal Budget should be included in Section J of the draft EHC Plan and, where the proposed budget includes direct payments for special educational provision, this section must include the SEN and outcomes to be met by the payment.


Direct Payments

Direct Payments are cash payments made directly to the child's parent, the young person or their nominee, allowing them to arrange provision themselves. They must be set at a level that will secure the provision specified ion the EHC Plan. If a Direct payment is not set at a suitable level, it must be reviewed and adjusted.