Personal Budgets and Direct Payments

For those children and young people who have an EHC plan the LA can be required to identify a personal budget. This is the notional amount of money needed to make any of the special educational provision for them as specified in their EHC plan.

In certain circumstances, the LA can refuse to identify a personal budget, and they will generally do so when the special educational provision is being provided as part of a larger budget (for example a contract with the NHS to provide all speech and language therapy or occupational therapy) and the LA say that they can’t separate out or ‘disaggregate’ the personal budget from that overall larger budget.

Parents or young people can also request that an LA consider making a direct payment to them in lieu of special educational provision so that they can arrange it themselves. This will be an actual payment of money instead of the LA arranging for the provision to be delivered.

A request for the LA to identify a personal budget or consider making a direct payment can be made at two specific times. First when a child or young person is undergoing an EHC needs assessment or secondly when the EHC plan is being reviewed.

Information about the availability of personal budgets must be contained in the LA’s local offer.  

Where the provision proposed to be replaced by a direct payment takes place in a school or college setting, the consent of the head teacher or principal of the named school or other institution is required.

Parents of children or young people with a statement of SEN or a Learning Difficulties Assessment (LDA) are not entitled to ask for a personal budget or to have direct payments made in lieu of special educational provision. They must wait until they are in the transition review process.

Detailed information about direct payments and personal budgets is contained in the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 2015 (Chapter 9) and in a set of regulations which specifically apply to direct payments and personal budgets, The Special Educational Needs (Personal Budgets) Regulations 2014.  The Special Educational Needs (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2014, amended these regulations, and permitted LAs to refuse personal budgets in some circumstances.

Go to the top of the page and click the PERSONAL BUDGETS AND DIRECT PAYMENTS RESOURCES tab for links to these resources.

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