Personal Budget for Special Educational Needs

Jack's Story

What is a Personal Budget?

A Personal Budget for SEN is money identified to pay for support specified in an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) for a child or young person with special educational needs. It can include funds from the local authority for education and social care and from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for health.

How can I use a Personal Budget?

There are four ways you can use a personal budget:

  1. Sometimes the local authority, school or college will look after the Personal Budget for you. This is called an Arrangement or a Notional Budget.
  2. You might receive money directly to manage all or part of the Personal Budget yourself. This is called a Direct Payment.
  3. Sometimes you can opt to have someone else to manage the Personal Budget for you. This is called a Third Party Arrangement.
  4. It is possible to have a mixture of some or all of these arrangements.

Personal Budgets leaflet

Download the North Lincolnshire Council Personal Budgets leaflet [PDF, 275Kb]

Who can request a Personal Budget?

Parents of a child with an EHC plan, or a young person with an EHC plan, can request a Personal Budget.

You can request a Personal Budget during the drafting of an EHC plan, or when we have issued the plan and it is under review.

However, you do not need to have an EHC plan to get Personal Budgets for social and health care. Therefore, once you have an EHC plan, or one is being prepared, you can request budgets for all three areas of support.

But you must have an EHC plan to get a Personal Budget for special educational provision.

What does the SEND Code of Practice say?

However, you do not have to have a Personal Budget. The SEND Code of Practice says:

  • Local authorities must provide information on Personal Budgets as part of the Local Offer. This should include a policy on Personal Budgets that sets out a description of the services across education, health and social care that currently lend themselves to the use of Personal Budgets, how that funding will be made available, and clear and simple statements of eligibility criteria and the decision- making processes. 9.96Sometimes the local authority or the health authority may not agree to a Personal Budget. If the local authority refuses a personal budget for special educational provision, it must tell you why.
  • You cannot appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal over this refusal.
  • A young person with an EHC plan can ask for their own Personal Budget after the end of the school year in which they become 16.

What can I use a Personal Budget for?

You can only use Personal Budgets to fund the support set out in an EHC plan.

The local authority for education and care support must agree the Personal Budget. And the health authority must agree the Personal Budget for health provision.

What is included in a Personal Budget?

You can find out what can be included in a Personal Budget in the Local Offer. In addition, you can also ask SENDIASS for more information about this.

A Personal Budget for educational provision cannot cover payment for a place at the school or college. A Personal Budget can include any top up funding (known as Element 3 funding). It can also include support that is managed by the school or college – but only if the Headteacher or Principal agree.

You can find out more about what can be included in a Personal Budget in Sections 9.110 to 9.118 of the SEND Code of Practice.

Personal Budgets

A Personal Budget shows what money you have to provide services specified in an EHC plan. It also specifies who will provide services. Parents or young people do not manage the funds directly.

Direct payments

Parents and young people who receive a Direct Payment get money for services and they manage the funds themselves.

Personal Budgets can include Direct Payments if agreed this is the best way to manage part of the Personal Budget.

You can use Direct payments for special educational provision in a school or college only if the school or college agree. Local authorities can refuse a direct payment for special educational provision if it would make things worse for other children and young people with an EHC plan. Or if it would be an inefficient way to pay for services.

It is also possible to have a Third Party Arrangement to manage a Direct Payment.

How much you get will depend on what has been set out in the EHC plan. So it will vary from one person to another. If the local authority has agreed to make a Direct Payment it must be enough to pay for the service or services specified in the EHC plan.

Yes – some people have had Personal Budgets for health provision (a Personal Health Budget) and for social care provision e.g.  Short Breaks. They may have managed some or all of the provision using a Direct Payment. But this is the first time that Personal Budgets have become available for SEN provision.

Different kinds of Personal Budget

You can find out more about the different kinds of Personal Budget on the Kids website.

Ways in which a Personal Budget can be managed

There are four ways in which a personal budget can be managed:

  • Direct Payment (previously known as Cash Personal Budget)
  • Delegated Direct Payment
  • Individual Service Fund
  • Council Managed Personal Budget

In all four options, the parents or carer, or young person is accountable to the Local Authority or Health Service, who will also monitor the spend and to ensure that the identified outcomes in the EHC plan are achieved. Read more on the North Lincolnshire Council website.

Who can help?

SENDIASS can give you:

  • more information about Personal Budgets, including Direct Payments
  • advice on whether you may be able to get a Personal Budget and how you can apply for it
  • information and advice on local services, organisations, and resources that may be able to help
  • information, advice and support on what you can do if you are unhappy with the local authority’s decision on your Personal Budget.

National organisations that provide information

There are also a number of national organisations that provide information and advice about SEND. You can find a list of these on the SENDIASS page.

Independent support and advice is available to young people and parents / carers to manage personal budgets. Currently the council has a contract with Penderels Trust who can offer support with all four payment options for adults and Meeting New Horizons who offer support for children and young people.

How Jack used his Direct Payment

Watch our video to discover how Jack has used his Direct Payments for education and social care to provide support identified in his Education, Health and Care Plan.

Who can help with queries?

An EHC plan will always have an educational part to it. Your SEN Case Worker will be able to discuss any queries that you might have about the plan or a personal budget. If you are dissatisfied with their response, you can ask for the SEN Casework Team Leader to look at your case. Contact details of the SEN Team are available below:

The Special Educational Needs Team
Church Square House
30-40 High Street
North Lincolnshire
DN15 6NL
Telephone: 01724 297148

Giving feedback and making complaints

You can also make a complaint using the standard North Lincolnshire or health service complaints procedures. North Lincolnshire complaints policy is available and with details of how to make a complaint on the Resolving Disagreements, Mediation and Complaints page.

NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group welcome your feedback (positive or negative).  Your feedback about your experience of local NHS services helps them to improve services for patients.

If you are unhappy with the treatment or service you have received from NHS services, you have the right to make a complaint, have it looked into and receive a response. You can also raise your concerns immediately by speaking with the staff involved.

For health complaints you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) by phone, letter or e-mail:

Phone: 01652 251125

Address: Patient Relations, Health House, Grange Park Lane, Willerby, East Yorkshire, HU10 6DT

We will always seek to resolve your concerns as best we can (including through independent mediation and disagreement resolution where necessary).

Watch our video to discover how Jack has used his Direct Payments for education and social care to provide support identified in his Education, Health and Care Plan.

Funding for personal budgets comes from releasing the value of a child or young person’s additional support from the services they may otherwise have used.

The money available for personal budgets is money used for an individual child or young person without adversely affecting other children that use that provision.

Most children and young people (even those with special educational needs) attend school or college supported by the resources available to all within the provision. The Local Offer clearly identifies support available. However, there are some children and young people who need additional support identified in their EHC plan (without which they would unlikely to be able to achieve their outcomes).

This additional support is the basis for the funding of a personal budget.

The North Lincolnshire Personal Budgets Policy sets out how Education, Health and Social Care will mainstream personal budgets to help people have real choice and control. It shifts the balance of power from professionals to people who use services.

Read our Personal Budget Policy 2021 [PDF, 113Kb]

Meeting New Horizons is a Direct Payments and Personal Health Budgets Support Service. They offer a full wrap around service for the users of the Direct Payments system and individuals in receipt of Personal Health Budgets.

What do New Horizons offer?

In addition to the usual Payroll Preparation service Meeting New Horizons can offer:

  • Personal consultation with a liaison officer to explain all aspects of direct payments to ensure the service fully meets the needs of the family, either in the clients home or at a preferred meeting point
  • Advice on how best to use direct payments and personal health budgets: information on all options available to clients and potential costings of different care pathways
  • Guidance on recruitment and access to a library of essential documents, such as contracts, terms and conditions and holiday request forms
  • Support with current employment legislation and record keeping including the completion of timesheets and HMRC paperwork
  • Information on managing staff including sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, disciplinary and dismissal issues
  • Payroll processing delivered by a dedicated team member who is responsible for providing ongoing support and advice
  • Review meetings with a liaison officer to monitor the progress

Further information

For further information please contact the Payroll Team leader, Rachel Fischer on 01482 595530 or email

Further Information

Contact Us


Tel: 01724 297148

Last modified: June 11, 2024