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Local authorities might offer families the option of a personal or
individual budget. This is also sometimes referred to as
A personal budget is an allocated amount of money that the local
authority considers sufficient to meet all of your child's eligible
To decide how much will be allocated some authorities use a
computerised system generally referred to as a resource allocation
scheme. If offered a personal or individual budget, you should ask
the council to break down the budget to show it meets your child's
Once the amount of the personal budget has been agreed, you can
decide how to make best use of it. You can ask someone else (like a
friend, local organisation or your local authority) to manage the
budget on your child's behalf, or you might choose to organise your
child's care yourself, taking your child's personal budget in the
form of direct payments.
If your local authority agrees that your child needs services,
you can choose to get money to buy these services yourself instead
of having them organised by the local authority. This money is
given to you in the form of direct payments.
Some of the ways direct payments can be used are:
Direct payments should give you more control over how your
child's needs are met. There are several reasons you might choose
to receive direct payments instead of having services organised by
the local authority:
It is important to be aware that local councils can refuse to
give personal budgets or direct payments if they are considered an
inefficient or impractical use of resources.
In England, your personal budget may come from your local social
services team, local education department or in some cases from
your NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG).
The personal budget for education is included in an Education, Health
and Care (EHC) plan and will only include the funds needed to
buy more specialist or individual support than the school or
college is expected to provide.
Social services are required to offer personal budgets to
disabled people aged 18 or over who they assess as needing social
care. Although they are not obliged to offer a personal budget to a
disabled child under the age of 18, an increasing number of
councils do offer them.
Anyone receiving NHS continuing healthcare, including a child,
has the right to have a personal health budget. This sets out the
funding available to meet the healthcare needs that have been
agreed by health professionals in a care and support plan.
A care and support plan helps people to identify their health
and wellbeing goals, and then sets out how the funding in their
personal budget will be spent to achieve these goals.
Integrating education, social care and health
Social service departments, education authorities and CCGs are
being encouraged to work together. The aim is to establish
arrangements allowing for single personal budgets that cover
someone's social care, education and healthcare needs. How this
personal budget is used is then set out in an EHC plan.