Personal budgets are designed to help families have more control over their lives. A personal budget is made up of resources that can be used flexibly to support a child or young person with their education, health and/or care needs, as identified in their care and support plan. This does not usually include universal services that all children and young people can access, but may include individual support that needs to be put in place for a child or young person with SEN or a disability. The personal budget (along with the care and support plan) enables a child or young person to exercise greater choice and control over how their education, health and care needs are met.
You can take a personal budget in different ways:
- The Local Authority, school or college will look after the personal budget for you. This is called an organisational arrangement or a notional budget.
- You can receive money directly to manage all or part of the personal budget yourself. This is called a direct payment.
- You can opt to have someone else manage the personal budget for you. This is called a third party arrangement.
- You can have a combination of some or all of these arrangements.
We have listened to you. We know what’s working and what’s not working with personal budgets and direct payments. This summer (2018), we have been making plans to simplify processes and make the system more consistent across Devon. We’re testing new ways of working using feedback and suggestions from families. We’re trying to make the system fairer, better aligned with adult social care, simpler and less stressful for families. More updates coming soon.
- Can I have a personal budget?
I don’t have an education, health and care plan…
You do not need to have an EHC plan to get personal budgets for social and health care. You must have an EHC plan to get a personal budget for special educational provision.
I have asked for an education, health and care plan…
When you have an EHC plan, or one is being prepared, you can request budgets for education, health and care support. You can ask for a personal budget either during the drafting of an EHC plan or when the plan has been issued.
A young person with an EHC plan can ask for their own personal budget after the end of the school year in which they become 16. A right to request a personal budget is not the same as the right to have a personal budget, but if we can’t offer you a personal budget to meet your child’s needs then we must tell you why .
I receive Continuing Care funding…
The Clinical Commissioning Groups offer Personal Health Budgets to children with Continuing Care needs. This quick guide from the NHS looks at how integrated personal commissioning and personal health budgets can work for you. You can contact D-CCG.PersonalHealthBudgets@nhs.net or call 01752 398886 if you have any queries.
I don’t want a personal budget…
You do not have to request a personal budget if you would prefer not to have one.
I wanted a personal budget but you said no…
Sometimes the Local Authority or the health authority may not agree to a personal budget. If we refuse a personal budget for special educational provision we must tell you why. To complain about this decision to Devon County Council please contact the Customer Relations Team. To complain about a decision not to issue a personal health budget, you can contact South Devon and Torbay Patient Advice and Liaison Service or the Patient Advice and Complaints Team in North, East and West Devon. You cannot appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal over this refusal.
I might already have one, I’m not sure…
If you don’t know whether your child has a personal budget or not, ask yourself:
- Is my child eligible for individual support to meet their education, health or care needs (e.g. if they have an education, health and care plan, receive Continuing Care funding through Health, or receive short breaks funding from social care)?
- Has anyone told you the total amount of money that can be used flexibly to meet your child or young person’s needs?
- Have you and/or your child been involved in planning with education, health and/or social care how to spend this money to meet their needs, including whether you would like to take some or all of it as a direct payment if appropriate?
If you have been made aware of the resources available to meet your child’s needs and have had a say in planning how they can best be used then those resources are your child’s personal budget.
- What can I buy with direct payments?
Direct payments are only one possible form that a personal budget can take. If you think your child would benefit from a particular type of support but it is not possible for this support to be funded by direct payments you can discuss as part of the planning process whether there are other ways that this support could be written into your child’s plan that would still give them choice and control over how it is used, e.g. as part of a notional budget or organisational arrangement. Some families also choose to take their personal budget as a combination of a direct payment and another form of personal budget in order to access a wider variety of support.
Direct payments can be used for any expenditure that meets outcomes defined in the agreed support plan as long as expenditure is lawful, effective and affordable.
- Lawful: the expenditure identified as part of the social care support plan or EHC plan is legitimate and does not contravene any national guidance on how funds can be used.
- Effective: the proposals in the support plan relate to the agreed outcomes which will meet the assessed eligible needs.
- Affordable: the total planned expenditure identified can be met within the personal budget. The budget can be used for a wide range of activities that support the outcomes in the child’s support plan as approved by the Council. These are for the benefit of the child.
Details of what direct payments can be used for depend on whether the direct payment is for education, health, social care or a combination of two or more of these areas.
Social care direct payments CAN be used for Social care direct payments CANNOT be used for
• assistance to promote social inclusion, including leisure or social activities. For example training for staff; providing additional staff member; volunteer’s expenses or equipment to ensure that the child can take part in activities in the community
• assistance in promoting independence particularly for young people preparing for adulthood
• employing personal assistants to provide care services
• short breaks to provide children and young people with SEND with an opportunity to spend time away from their parents, relaxing with friends and having fun; or provide families with a break from their caring responsibilities, giving parents a chance to unwind rest or spend time with other children.
• the additional cost of helping a child to participate in a family holiday. These costs may include:
◦ an additional carer
◦ the cost of adapted holiday accommodation
◦ specialized centres offering respite for disabled children (for example, the Calvert Trust)
•anything that is illegal or is illegal to purchase, or that would endanger the child or young person or any other person
•family holidays – with the exception of providing additional support for the child to participate in family holidays as set out opposite
•to pay the people who live with the child or young person to provide care for them.
Health direct payments CAN be used for Health direct payments CANNOT be used to
- services described in your person-centred support plan. The services identified in your plan should help you to achieve the health and wellbeing outcomes agreed between you (or your family and / or carers ) and your healthcare professional.
- pay personal assistants who are self-employed
- purchase any items not specified in your support plan or agreed outcomes without the prior agreement of the commissioner
- purchase alcohol or tobacco products
- access gambling services or facilities
- repay a debt
- purchase primary medical services (such as diagnostic tests, vaccinations, immunisation or screening or general medical treatment)
- purchase urgent or emergency treatment services (such as unplanned hospital admissions)
- purchase planned surgical procedures
- purchase services provided under the National Child Measurement Programme or provided as part of a NHS Health Check
- pay for certain charges relating to dental treatments, optical appliances, medical appliances or pharmaceutical products or services because the NHS already funds these services through existing contracts.
If service users wish to make larger single purchases or to acquire more expensive types of services, this may be permissible as long as this expenditure is agreed and recorded at the support planning stage. Distinctions should be made between eligible personal care and short breaks which are for the benefit of the child, and childcare which is principally provided to enable the parents to work and may not be eligible. Funds should not be used simply to subsidise the cost of childcare but may be used to ensure the child has equal access to activities with their peers. It is recognised that such distinctions between different categories of activity are not straightforward and therefore such issues need to be negotiated at the support planning stage and clearly agreed and recorded to ensure clarity for all parties.
- Personal Budgets for Education
The Local Authority might agree that your child needs a particular service within education, but might not be able to separate an individual amount of money for your child from the wider block of funding that pays for the service to be provided to all the children who need it, including your child. A personal budget for education will only include the funds needed to buy more specialist or individual support than the school or college is expected to provide. This personal budget cannot cover the funding for the school or college placement itself, or for the extra help the school, college or local authority is expected to provide for all children with special educational needs as part of the local offer. A school or college can agree to contribute some of its own funding to a child’s personal budget but they are not obliged to do so. If a personal budget for education is turned down, we have to tell you why.
Parts of the Special Education Service that may be eligible for a personal budget if a young person has a current EHCP What a personal budget for Special Education cannot be used for Any request for personalisation can only be for provision listed in Section F of the Education, Health and Care Plan. If any part of the personal budget is to happen on school premises the school must give permission for this to happen.
- Education Therapists – such as Speech and Language or Occupational Therapists
- Teaching Assistant support– e.g. where a young person is not able to access a school place
- SEN support in the home where the LA has determined that a school is not the most appropriate Educational placement (does not include teaching)
- Consideration of the mainstream special education costs for an Independent placement where the LA has determined that a mainstream school is not the most appropriate Educational placement and a mainstream school placement is available
- Post 16 – support to assist with independent learning, where writing/organisation is an assessed area of difficulty
- Post 16 – support with living costs where a learner attends an educational placement out of county. Where the LA have determined that this education provision is the most appropriate.
- Consideration of creative adjustments to enable learners to stay in mainstream school provision and to remain with their local community.
• Anything that is not specified in Section F (education and training) of the Education, Health and Care plan.
• Anything that is provided for a young person though universal provision provided by school/college (provision which all learners access, both with and without SEN e.g. teaching).
• Teaching Assistant support employed and managed by the school.
• Equipment that is usually available to all learners through universal education provision e.g. books equipment.
• Elective Home Education
• Education Placements
• Health care/medical needs
• Social Care needs
This list is not exhaustive – please contact the 0-25 SEN team for further clarification, or alternatively contact Devon Information and Advice Service (DIAS) on tel:01392383080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can’t find the information you are looking for or would like to talk to someone about direct payments that you access then you should talk to the contact person for your care and support plan. If you are not satisfied that the advice you have been given is correct then you should follow the appeals process set out in the relevant appeals policy (please see policies in ‘where can I get more information’ for more information about individual appeals policies).
- What is the Devon Card?
If you choose to take a direct payment, it will be paid to you using the Devon Card.
The Devon Card is a safe and efficient way to pay for services, for people who manage their own support using direct payments.
It is a ‘pre-loaded’ card that is similar to a bank debit card. However, it does not offer credit or an overdraft. Money must be loaded onto the card before you can spend it, and you can only spend what has been loaded onto the card.
You won’t need to set up a bank account for your direct payments, you won’t need to send in statements and we will have greater opportunity to help you get the support you need.
The following Cardholder Guide contains everything you need to know about using the card and will give you a better idea of how useful it can be.
Your Devon Card must only be used to make purchases to meet your needs and outcomes identified in your support plan and agreed by the person undertaking your child’s assessment.
If your provider accepts Visa you can pay them straight from your Devon Card either in person, over the phone or on the Internet. Your Devon Card also has online banking and telephone banking facilities so you will be able to make payments to providers even if they do not accept Visa cards.
- How do I get a personal budget?
If you get an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (which can lead to an education, health and care plan), you can tell the SEN 0-25 Team that you would like a personal budget.
Contact the Single Point of Access (SPA) to request a personal budget to support health or social care needs.
You can request services via the Single Point of Access:
Children and Family Health Devon
Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW
tel: 0330 0245 321
- Where can I get more information?
Joint Personal Budgets Guidance
Personal Health Budgets
Adult Social Care Resource Allocation System (RAS)
Social Care Direct Payments Policy
Personal budgets for special educational needs
The Council for Disabled Children – Making it Personal
– Updated the joint personal budgets guidance.
– An integrated personal budgets policy. This will set out some of the details about how people can have a personal budget that includes support from more than one area (e.g. health and social care).
– More detail around what personal budgets and direct payments can and can’t be used for in education, health and care.
– Information about appeals processes for education and health.
– Information about personal budgets and equipment
Updated 11/04/2019 email@example.com