Personal budgets and direct payments

Personal budgets can be used to organise and pay for some support in an education, health and care plan (EHC plan).

Who can get a personal budget?

Anyone who is a parent or carer of a child or young person has an EHC plan. A young person with an EHC plan can also apply.

When a first EHC plan is issued, a personal budget should always be offered. 

To qualify to get a personal budget:

  • the support must meet the agreed needs and outcomes in the child or young person’s EHC plan.
  • the cost of the support must not go over the total budget agreed for the EHC plan, including the cost to the school, health services or the council.
  • the headteacher of the school the child or young person attends, must agree if the support takes place in that school.

The amount available changes as the child or young person's needs change. It should be assessed yearly in the annual review of the EHC plan.

How a personal budget is paid

The money can be:

  • a direct payment to a parent/carer or young person
  • a managed budget, where we hold the money and buy the support
  • a direct payment to a friend or relative, or an organisation that runs a payment service
  • a provider managed account, a direct payment to a care provider, like a home care agency
  • a mix of direct payment, managed budget and third-party direct payment

To find out more about personal budgets, contact the SEND team.