Education personal budgets

A personal budget can be used to arrange and pay for some of the support agreed in a child or young person’s education, health and care plan (ECHP).

Open Applying for an education personal budget configuration options

Children and young people with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) will attend a school or college where their needs can usually be met by the resources that the school or college have available as part of their Local Offer.

However, additional funding over and above the school or college place could be made available if an assessment has identified that the learning support needs can't be met within the school or college place funding.

We can use our High Needs funding to commission services from schools and colleges, including special schools.

In practice, this will mean that the funding from our High Needs budget for the SEN element of a personal budget will vary, depending on:

  • how services are commissioned locally
  • what schools and colleges are expected to provide as part of the Local Offer.

Therefore, the scope of a personal budget will vary depending on school preference.

For example, as part of their core provision, special schools and colleges make some specialist provision available that is not normally available at mainstream schools and colleges.

The particular choice of a special school, with integrated specialist provision, might reduce the scope for a personal budget.

Applying for an education personal budget

The following will be considered when applying for an education personal budget:

  • Proposed activities and services meet the agreed needs and outcomes of the child or young person.
  • Proposed activities and services do not put at risk or undermine any existing contracts for services purchased either by ourselves, the school, or Lambeth NHS. This means that in putting in place an intervention through a personal budget, other services must not become financially unviable.
  • Services provided through a personal budget, if for a service already provided, must not result in an additional cost to us or Lambeth NHS.
  • Whether the headteacher of the school where the child or young person attends, agrees (this is only if the service or activity will take place within the school).

If you or your child are applying for an EHCP for the first time, you should be informed about a personal budget by your EHCP coordinator.

To discuss this further, contact the SEN team.

How you'll get the money

You can get the money as a:

  • direct payment
  • managed budget, where we hold the money and buy your care for you
  • third-party direct payment to a friend or relative, or an organisation that runs a payment service
  • third-party direct payment to a care provider, such as a home care agency – this is called a ‘provider-managed account’
  • a mix of direct payment managed budget and third-party direct payment.

A personal budget can be used to arrange and pay for some of the support agreed in a child or young person’s education, health and care plan.

Who can get personal budget configuration

Personal budgets:

  • are a pot of money which can be used to help support a child or young person with social care, health or educational needs
  • are based on an assessment of what help is needed, which is included as part of your child's or young person's education, health and care plan (EHCP).

The amount you get can changes as your child’s or young person's needs change.

A personal budget will only be considered if the:

  • proposed activities and services meet the agreed needs and outcomes of the child or young person
  • proposed activities and services do not put at risk or undermine any existing contracts for services purchased either by ourselves, the school, or Lambeth NHS (this means that in putting in place an intervention through a personal budget, other services must not become financially unviable)
  • services provided through a personal budget, if for a service already provided, must not result in an additional cost to us or Lambeth NHS
  • headteacher of the school where the child or young person attends, agrees (this is only if the service or activity will take place within the school).

Who can get a personal budget

You can request a personal budget if your child has an education, health and care plan, or if you are a young person with an EHCP.

If you or your child are applying for an EHCP for the first time, you should be offered a personal budget by your EHCP coordinator.

To discuss this further, contact the SEN team.

If you or your child has a statement of special educational needs that have been converted, and you would like to discuss the option for a personal budget, talk to your statement officer.

How you'll get the money

You can get the money as a:

  • direct payment
  • managed budget, where we hold the money and buy your care for you
  • third-party direct payment to a friend or relative, or an organisation that runs a payment service
  • third-party direct payment to a care provider, such as a home care agency (this is called a ‘provider-managed account’)
  • a mix of direct payment managed budget and third-party direct payment.

Direct payments are one way of managing the money you get for your child's care and needs.

You can choose to get money to buy the help you need instead of having it organised by us. This personal budget is given to you in the form of payments paid directly into a bank account.

You can also get direct payments in your own right if you are a disabled young person aged 16 and over, and if you are able to manage your payments alone or with help.

You'll need to open a separate bank account for the direct payments. This must be kept separate from your personal bank account and you must provide bank statements to us when we ask for them.

You can add your own money to this account if you want to buy additional services.

We will pay your direct payment into this bank account every 28 days.

Who can get direct payments

To get direct payments, you must:

  • live in Lambeth with the disabled child or young person
  • have an assessment of your needs and the child or young person’s needs, completed by a social care worker
  • be able to manage a direct payment with or without help
  • be parent or carer of a disabled child or young person.

Alternatively, you must:

  • be a disabled young person aged 16 and over, living in Lambeth 
  • have had an assessment of your needs done by a social care worker
  • be able to manage direct payments on your own or with help.

How you can use direct payments

You can use your direct payments for:

  • personal care
  • overnight or daytime short breaks
  • support to access leisure or community activities
  • a combination of these.

You can't use your direct payments for:

  • buying services from us or any other local authority
  • employing someone who lives with you
  • paying for health care services, including equipment that the NHS provides, such as vaccination or immunisation, health screening, NHS health checks, or, services that are provided by your GP, prescriptions and dental charges
  • equipment and adaptations available through the Disabled Facilities Grant
  • long-term residential care
  • residential education
  • any services that are not part of your child’s assessed needs
  • household expenses
  • paying for childcare so that a parent or carer can work.

How to get a direct payment

If your child has a personal budget and you’d like to change to direct payments, speak to your child’s social worker.

Your responsibilities as an employer

If you use your direct payments to employ a personal assistant (PA) to meet the needs of your child, you’ll have certain responsibilities for anyone you employ.

You’ll be given advice from a children’s direct payment adviser with this.

This will include:

  • accessing advice on tax and national insurance
  • help with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
  • help with other issues to help you manage your responsibilities as an employer.

If the person employed will be working in a school environment to support the young person, then there must be a service level agreement in place with the school.

This needs to include:

  • any induction or training the school requires the person to undertake, for example, health and safety and first aid
  • any security measures that the person will need to adhere to, for example, if a pass is required to get around the building
  • a brief outline of duties and responsibilities of that person
  • point of contact in the school for the person in cases of emergency
  • confirmation that a DBS check has been completed and the DBS number
  • a contingency plan for if the person supporting the young person is off sick or doesn't turn up.

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