Explaining Personal Budgets for Parents & Carers in Sutton

This booklet is about Personal Budgets for young people aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs.

If you don’t understand something you can email localoffer@sutton.gov.uk or call 07508985274.

You can also ask your family and friends for help.

Difficult words are explained at the end of the page. 

A Personal Budget

A Personal Budget is an amount of money to deliver services or provision. A personal budget may be provided to support with Education, Social Care or Health.

 Key parts of a Personal Budget

The child or young person should be involved in making their support plan. They should agree who is involved.

The young person should be able to agree what they want the outcome to be for their learning, health, and wellbeing.

The young person should know how much money they have for support. They should have enough money in their Personal Budget to meet the outcomes agreed in their support plan.

  • The young person should have the choice to manage their money either as:
    • a Direct Payment,
    • a notional budget,
    • a third-party budget
    • a mix of these

(see ‘Types of Personal Budget’ below).

They should be able to use the money in ways and at times that they agree.

Better outcomes 

The outcome of Personal Budgets is better when:

  • There is clear information about Personal Budgets.
  • People have independent advice. This advice could be from voluntary organisations or Direct Payment support services.
  • People know how much money they have available to spend. They have the choice on what services to spend their Personal Budget on.
  • All areas of the young person’s life is covered, including their hopes, wishes and needs.

Other Information

You can choose if you would like a Personal Budget or not. The Council does not have to prepare a budget if it would not be a good use of money or if it would have a poor effect on services.

The Personal Budget will be for where there is a need or gap in a young person’s plan.

Asking for a Personal Budget

Young People aged 16 and over and parents/carers can ask for a Personal Budget. You can ask for a Personal Budget once you have had an EHC Needs Assessment and an EHC Plan is being completed.

You can also ask for a Personal Budget if you use short breaks but do not have an EHC Plan.

You can ask for a Personal Health Budget if you receive:

  • Children’s Continuing Care,
  • Adult’s Continuing Healthcare,
  • NHS wheelchair service,
  • After-care services under section 117 of Mental Health Act.

Being assessed for a Personal Budget

There are separate assessments for Education (a) Health (b) and Social Care (c):

a. Education / learning needs

  • Section J of the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) will give details of the suggested Personal Budget.
  • The child’s parent/carer or the young person will need to agree to the services.
  • Any person employed by the young person who is working in education, such as a school, must follow the policies and procedures of that school.
  • The Council will check that all safeguarding checks have been done and that any professional is fully qualified and registered.
  • If the SEND service is unable to offer a Personal Budget, they will tell the young person or parent/carer in writing. They will give reasons for the decision.
  • If you are refused a Personal Budget for special education provision, you can ask for a formal review of the decision.

b. Health

  • A Personal Health Budget (PHB) is the amount of NHS money available to meet an individual’s health and wellbeing needs.
  • PHBs are to let people and families have greater choice and control. PHBs allow people and their healthcare professionals to make decisions together
  • Personal wheelchair budgets are another form of PHBs.
  • There are some cases where a personal budget – particularly a direct payment request may not be agreed.
  • If the decision is not to provide a PHB, you can ask for the decision to be re-considered. You should be told reasons for the decision.
  • If you are not happy with the decision you can follow the local NHS complaints processes.

c. Social care

Children and young people with disabilities may be offered a personal budget where a child needs extra and individual support at home, a break from caring or the chance to have the same experiences as other families.

  • Social Care Age 0-18; The Children with Disabilities (CWD) Team will assess if the young person is eligible.The CWD Team will arrange for an assessment. The assessment will usually be an Early Help assessment or a Social Work assessment if it was within the last year and there have been no changes.
  • Social Care Age 18 -25: The young person should understand what a Personal Budget is, what it can be used for and what the agreement they will sign is. If needed, a Mental Capacity Assessment will be carried out. If a Personal Budget is to be given, LBS Council will decide the amount, (if any), that the young person is able to pay toward the service.

A Social Care Personal Budget can be delivered through:

  1. Direct Payments – this may be in monthly instalments or in a one-off payment. If you receive a Direct Payment you will pay for the services yourself.
  2. Commissioned Services – LBS will pay for the services on your behalf.

Reviewing Personal Budgets

It is necessary to check how the Personal Budget is working. Personal Budget Holders should know who to contact if their needs change. Reviews should be ongoing, and they should look at the outcomes. The review may lead to changes.

All support plans must be reviewed within 3 months of the child or young person first receiving the direct payment. After this, reviews should happen at least once a year.

The reviews should include a financial review to check that the Personal Budget is being used as agreed. If a one-off budget is given, for example for buying a piece of equipment, then a review may not be needed.

Types of Services

Personal Budgets are suitable for support services which are:

  • NOT standard for all children and young people
  • Only for a limited time period (for a set time).

The person helping you to complete the EHC plan will be able to tell you if a personal budget can be provided, and if not, what the reasons are. There are some cases where a personal budget – particularly a direct payment request may not be agreed.  

Types of Personal Budget

There are four ways a personal budget can be provided to you:

1. Direct Payments – A direct cash payment which is paid into a named account for the family to buy & manage the services themselves. The LBS will open a Sutton Prepaid Card account. Direct Payments will go directly into this account. This will be looked at every six months, or every year, to check that the Personal Budget is being used to help the young person reach their outcomes.

2. A notional budget – Where the local authority, school or college holds the personal budget and buys support to meet needs.

3. A third party budget –Where another person or organisation manages the budget on behalf of the family

4. A combination of the above.

Reviews of the Policy

The Policy will be reviewed at least every year and more often if needed.

List of difficult words

Assessed - to be assessed is to see if you are suitable. 

Provision - a provision is something that is given to help you. 

Eligible - if you are eligible, it means you are suitable. 

Necessary - it is needed