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Personal Budgets

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability Code of Practice (0-25 years) states that Local Authorities must ensure children, young people and parents are provided with information and advice on matters relating to SEN and disability including information, advice and support on the take up and management of Personal Budgets. Personal Budgets are a central part of the ‘personalisation agenda’ which is intended to give people choice and control over the services they receive.

What is a Personal Budget?
A Personal Budget is an amount of money that is used to help children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their families choose the kind of support and services they think will help them reach the agreed outcomes set out in the child/young person’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Definition of a Personal Budget:
A Personal Budget can be made up in the following different ways:

Managed by commissioner: In this scenario the responsible service purchases the agreed support on behalf of the family. No money changes hands and the services are arranged on behalf of the family by the commissioner. Parent/carers find out how much money is available and with support identify the different ways in which the indicative budget is used to deliver the outcomes set out in the child’s EHC plan.

Managed by a third party/broker: In this scenario a third party, such as a brokerage service, holds the allocated Personal Budget and supports the family in finding the best way to use the money, and purchases the services on behalf of the family.

Direct payment: A Direct Payment is an allocation of money which is paid directly to the parent or young person so that they can arrange and pay for the services they have been assessed as needing instead of receiving them directly from the local authority. Where a child has been assessed as needing support and the family request a Direct Payment, the local authority has a duty to offer a Direct Payment unless there are valid reasons for not doing so. The agreed amount is paid directly to the parent carer/or young person aged over 16 so that they can buy and manage the services themselves which will meet the outcomes identified in the child’s EHC plan.

Alternatively, it could be a combination of the above options.

Introducing Personal Budgets in Portsmouth:
Portsmouth focus on the use of Personal Budgets in relation to three main areas:

1. Home-school transport

2. Short breaks and care needs

3. Personal Health Budgets for children who meet the criteria set out in the Children’s Continuing Care Framework

In addition work will also start on a pilot to explore how Personal Budgets could be used in supporting young people who are transitioning between childhood and adulthood.

Personal budgets: Education
The Children and Families Act 2014 allows local authorities to consider the use of Personal Budgets to support the educational needs of children and young people with an EHC Plan all the time they are in education.

Initially, Portsmouth City Council will focus on implementing Personal Transport Budgets. A Personal Transport Budget is a sum of money paid to the parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEN) who are eligible for free travel assistance. A Personal Transport Budget can help to arrange travel to school or college in a way that suits the personal circumstances and offers choice and control over how funding is used.

If you would like more information about Personal Transport Budgets, please use the personal budget leaflet.

You can find out more about Personal Transport Budgets by contacting the Access and Entitlement team on 02392 437905.  You can also visit the Travel pages. 

Over the next year, Portsmouth will also explore other ways in which Personal Budgets could be used to support the wider learning needs of children in school.

Personal budgets: Health
“A personal health budget is an amount of money to support a person’s identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between the person and their local NHS team.” Visit the Continuing Care page for further details.

Who is eligible to apply for a Personal Health Budget?
In line with current legislation Personal Health Budgets are available for children and young people between the ages 0 and 18 years and who are eligible for Continuing Care Funding. From the age of 18 years, the eligibility criteria for Adult Continuing Healthcare will apply. Visit the NHS website by clicking here.

What is NHS Continuing Care?
NHS Continuing Care is support provided for children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of their disability, an accident or illness. It is different from NHS Continuing Healthcare for adults which focuses mainly on health and care needs, Continuing Care for a child or young person should also consider their physical, emotional and intellectual development as they move towards adulthood.

This means that if your child or you as a young person are assessed for NHS Continuing Care, it’s likely that a range of organisations will be involved, such as health, education and local authority children’s services. These different agencies will also contribute to your child’s care package if they are found to have continuing care needs. The process of arranging NHS Continuing Care is led by your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for managing local health services.
For more information about eligibility for NHS Continuing Care click here.

Personal Budgets: Care/Short Breaks
Personal Budgets aimed at meeting a child’s care needs include targeted short breaks and support from Children’s Social Care & Safeguarding.

Targeted Short breaks:
The targeted short breaks offer provides a range of short break activities including after-school, weekend and holiday activities, sitting service and community based support. Access to targeted short breaks is determined by an eligibility criteria which is set out in the Short Break Statement. You can find further information by clicking here. You can find out more about targeted short breaks by contacting the Short Breaks Officer on 023 9268 8842.

Children’s Social Care & Safeguarding:
Children’s Social Care & Safeguarding Service provides support to children and young people between the ages of 0-18 years who have profound disabilities and complex needs, and have been assessed as needing a higher level of support.

This support builds on the targeted short break offer by providing additional support to those children who have been assessed as needing it. At present it includes support provided through the use of Direct Payments/Prepaid Cards, directly commissioned services, and overnight short breaks via the Family Link Scheme or Beechside residential unit.

For more information:
Your child’s Assessment Coordinator will discuss the use of Personal Budgets with you during the assessment phase of the Education, Health and Care Plan.

If your circumstances change after the assessment, you should discuss the situation with your child’s Plan Co-ordinator, or Keyworker. This will usually be a person at your child’s school, such as the school’s SENCO.

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