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Personal SEND Budgets and Direct Payments

1. EHC Plan (Eligibility and Request) 2.

EHC Assessment   

3. EHC Plan's

4.

EHC Implementation and Annual Reviews 5.

Personal Budgets

6. Moving into the County
7.

EHC Disagreements


5. What is a Personal Budget?

A Personal Budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in Section F of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision.  It provides an opportunity for control and choice over the support and care needs of a child or young person. Instead of being provided with services, a budget is identified to meet assessed needs.  A Personal Budget is optional for parents and young people. 

A Personal Budget can be requested by a child's parents or a young person, but only at the following times:

  • When the draft EHC plan is being prepared (i.e. the SEND team has completed an EHC needs assessment and confirmed that it will issue an EHC plan)

OR

  • The EHC Plan is being reviewed or re-assessed

 When considering your request the local authority will need to ensure the Personal Budget:

  • doesn't include money paid as part of a larger budget and the local authority can’t separate out or ‘disaggregate’ the Personal Budget from that overall larger budget.
  • wouldn't have a negative impact on services that are already provided for all children/young people with EHC plans
  • wouldn't be an inefficient use of resources.

The Local Authority will consider all requests for a Personal Budget on their own individual merits and work with families and young people to access provision through this route where possible.  Some circumstances may mean we cannot agree; for example if the request is for provision that is delivered as part of a contract with the NHS to provide all speech and language therapy or occupational therapy or if the cost of the provision is part of an overall larger budget that is paid to the educational setting.        

If we are unable to agree to your request for a Personal Budget the reason will be set out in writing.  You will be able to ask for a review of this decision; details of this will be included in the decision letter that you receive.  Please note, the SEN Tribunal does not hear appeals about Personal Budgets, but will hear appeals about the special educational provision to which a Personal Budget may apply.  If you disagree with the special educational provision to be secured through a personal budget you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) if you wish.

Personal Budgets can be made via:

  • Direct payments – where you receive the money to contract, purchase and manage services yourself to meet the outcomes identified in their EHC plan.  Spend and accountability will be monitored by the Local Authority or Health service.   
  • An arrangement – whereby the LA, school or college holds funds and commissions support specified in the EHC plan.  The relevant services/support agreed is arranged on the family's behalf by the Local Authority or Health service.   
  • Third party arrangements – a third party organisation, trust or nominated person holds the money and supports parent/young person to purchase the services/support specified in the EHC plan. 
  • A combination of the above.

A personal budget cannot be used for funding (either partly or fully) a school placement. Where the provision proposed to be replaced by a direct payment takes place in an educational setting, the consent of the head teacher or principal of the named school or other institution is required. If they do not consent then we will be unable to make a direct payment.

If a Personal Budget is agreed, there are conditions that must be met before direct payments can be made.  We can refuse to make direct payments to anyone who:

  • appears unable to manage the payments, even with assistance
  • we do not believe would use the payments in an appropriate way
  • lacks capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • is subject to a rehabilitation order, or being treated for drug or alcohol abuse.

If direct payments are agreed, we will send a written notice to you, or the person you have nominated. This will specify:

  • the name of the child it relates to
  • the goods or services to be purchased
  • the proposed amount of money
  • any conditions on how the money can be spent
  • the dates for payments to be made into the bank account approved by the Local Authority.

On receipt of the above notice, you or your nominee must write to the Local Authority to say you agree to:

  • receive the direct payments
  • use the money only for the agreed provision
  • comply with any specified conditions
  • notify the LA of any change in circumstances
  • use the bank account approved by the Local Authority
  • ensure that the bank account can only be accessed by you or your nominee (or any other person approved by the LA)
  • record money paid in and out of the account.

If you nominate someone else to receive the payments on your behalf, you must send written consent to the Local Authority for direct payments to be used by them to make the agreed provision. Your nominee should also write to the Local Authority to confirm that they are responsible. You must also let the Local Authority know if you intend to use the direct payments to buy services from close relatives so that they can confirm if this is an effective way to meet needs. 

Advice and Assistance

You can contact your/your child's SEND Caseworker who will be able to discuss Personal Budgets, your options and provide more information; their details will be on letters sent from the SEND team about your/your child's EHC plan. Or you can contact SEND Business Support and they will ask your/your child's SEND Caseworker to contact you: Telephone 01522 553332 or email BS_SEND@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Penderels Trust support adults and children who receive a Direct Payment in Lincolnshire. You can access further information, advice and support on how to manage your Direct Payment through  Penderels website or via telephone on 0845 606 0331.

Liaise is Lincolnshire Information, Advice and Support Service and can be contacted via telephone on 0800 195 1635 (Freephone) or email at liaise@lincolnshire.gov.uk



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