Money matters

Personal budgets

A personal budget sets out the resources across one or all areas of education, health and social care to meet the needs of the child or young person as outlined in their Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan). The Personal Budget can be a notional amount of money that will be used by the Local Authority to provide support, either by itself or by another provider. Personal budgets may give children, young people and families more flexibility, choice and control over the way that support is delivered, and enable them to be in charge of how the money for support is spent in order to meet the outcomes identified in the EHC plan. 

Families may be able to request some elements of their Personal Budget to be issued as a Direct Payment to enable them to purchase that support themselves. This can offer more choice and flexibility to meet identified needs.  If some of the Personal Budget is taken as a Direct Payment, a support plan will be developed with the family and an agreement will be signed which outlines how they intend to spend the Direct Payment, to ensure it meets the needs within the EHC plan.  Direct Payments will be monitored regularly to ensure they are used to meet the identified needs and outcomes.

The Personal Budget policy for Peterborough is available to download below along with an information leaflet. The policy provides information about the services across education, health and social care that form part of a Personal Budget, how the funding arrangements will work and support available for people in relation to their Direct Payments.

Personal budgets policy

Size: 304.59 KB File format: pdf

A guide to personal budgets

Size: 775.12 KB File format: pdf

When it has been agreed that an EHC plan will be produced, the parents/carers or the young person may be able to request a personal budget be developed.  This Personal Budget will show the sum of money agreed to meet the additional needs identified in their plan. 

Personal Budgets may also be prepared if there is no EHC plan.  This could be the case when there are no educational needs, but there is a health and/or social care support plan.  

What's in the personal budget

  • Education – the education section of the Personal Budget is a sum of money determined by the Local Authority to meet the child or young person’s additional or specialist education needs. It cannot be used to fund a school or Post 16 place.  Funding for special educational provision in a Personal Budget will usually come from top up funding, and would only come from the additional needs funding with the support and agreement of the head teacher
  • Social Care – the social care section of the Personal Budget is the additional support or assistance needed at home or when out and about in the local and wider community. This may include support and help at home, to access social activities and/or short breaks. Support purchased or provided must be used to meet identified need and deliver the agreed outcomes.  The following may be included within a Personal Budget:
    • Outreach (community based support work from a recognised provider)
    • Short breaks and respite services
    • Support to live and achieve independently (and related skills)
    • Family therapeutic interventions
  • Health – the health section of the Personal Budget will list the additional health needs that the NHS asses are not being met sufficiently through locally available services, including if the child or young person is eligible for NHS Continuing Care. There are some things that a Personal Budget cannot be spent on, and all the support purchased must be agreed with the health professionals and with the Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure it is safe, clinically appropriate and meets identified health outcomes. The following may be included within a Personal Budget:
    • Specialist personal equipment
    • Therapy services
    • Personal health care

Professionals from all areas contribute to the development of the EHC plan, and will be required to provide an indication of the required budgets based on their assessment of the child or young person’s level of need.  Even though services may be included in a Personal Budget, not all of these will be available to be taken as a Direct Payment.

What does a personal budget mean in practice?

If a Personal Budget has been developed, there are four ways in which it can be delivered:

  • The Local Authority will make arrangements and no money changes hands. We will tell you how much money is available and we will help you identify the different ways to spend that money to meet the outcomes of the EHC plan or Care and Support plan.  We will then arrange and pay for the services on your behalf
  • Third party arrangement/nominees – an organisation, trust or nominated person holds the money and supports you to decide the best way to spend the funding, they then buy the services chosen
  • Direct payment – you are given the money to buy and manage the services yourself to meet the outcomes identified in the EHC plan or Care and Support plan
  • A combination of the above.

A request for a Personal Budget can be made once a draft EHC plan is issued – information on how to do this will be in the covering letter.  If there is no EHC plan for the child or young person, the health or social care professional completed the needs assessment can discuss the potential for developing a Personal Budget.

Not all the elements that make up a Personal Budget can be taken as a Direct Payment, although each year we will look to make more services and provision available in this way.  As at Summer 2015, we would consider the following areas for a Direct Payment: 

  • Short Breaks, respite and outreach
  • Some elements of personal care
  • Personal Health Care 

What is a Direct Payment?

A Direct Payment is an identified sum of money paid directly to the parents of young person to enable them to choose, arrange and pay for services themselves.  An agreement has to be signed and the monitoring arrangements will ensure that these directly arranged services still meet the identified outcomes from the EHC plan.  


Commissioning is the process for deciding how to use the total resource available for children, young people and parents/carers in order to improve outcomes in the most efficient and effective way which is also fair and sustainable way. The Children and Families Act 2014 places a legal duty on Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to secure services to meet the provision set out in individual EHC Plans.

This means that the CCG and the Local Authority will work together to ensure the full integration of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) provision across education, health and care and strengthen the principles of joint planning and commissioning of services as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014, including those that will:

  • improve the identification of needs
  • support and develop further joint commissioning arrangements through the joint commissioning strategy
  • build on work already undertaken in the joint health and wellbeing strategy.

Commissioned services may be provided directly by schools, health services and/or the Council, or they may be purchased from private companies and/or voluntary sector organisations, such as charities. Contracting is the process of negotiating and agreeing the terms of a contract for services, and these contracts are reviewed regularly to make sure that they are delivering the best results and are providing value for money. Commissioners also regularly repeat the Needs Assessment process to make sure that services that are commissioned are still relevant to local needs.


If you have disabilities you may be able to claim some money from the Government to pay for your housing or support. There are a number of places you can go for advice and information.

You can speak to a Disability Employment Adviser at your local Jobcentre Plus to see what benefits you are able to claim – you can find out more by calling them on 0345 604 3719.

The Benefits Enquiry Line can tell you what benefits you may be able to receive and give you general information – for new claims you can call free on 0800 055 6688.

Information on other benefits

You may be interested in more information about other benefits that may be available to assist young people and families with children who have special educations needs and disability. 

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – is help for parents/carers with the extra costs of looking after a child who is under 16 and has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability. 
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – this is gradually replacing DLA for people aged 16 to 64, even for those with an indefinite or lifetime DLA award. 
  • Child Tax Credits - you could get Child Tax Credit for each child you’re responsible for if they are under 16 or under 20 and in approved education or training. 
  • Working Tax Credits - you could get Working Tax Credit if either you are aged from 16 to 24 and have a child or a qualifying disability, or you are 25 or over, with or without children. 

There are a range of other benefits that families may be able to access depending on their circumstances, and these include:

  • Income support - is a means-tested benefit to help individuals or families on a low income and with savings below £16,000
  • Employment and support allowance - a benefit for people aged 16 to 64 whose health problems mean that they are unable to work
  • Housing benefit - for those who pay rent and are on a low income
  • Council Tax support - is for those who are liable for council tax and on a low income - help varies from area to area depending on the local scheme in your area
  • Council Tax disability reduction - if you need extra space in your house because of your child's disability.

For more information, you can check the website or the Families Information Service.