Personal budgets for children with EHCP aged 0–25

Sometimes families need to access additional support for their child. This might include: 

  • additional support to ensure that a child’s education and learning needs are met;
  • additional support where a child has a complex, long-term health and/or life-limiting condition;
  • additional support where  a child needs additional and individual support at home: where the family need a short break from caring.

Personal budgets and direct payments are about offering you and your child choice and control in how your child is supported to meet their identified needs and outcomes following an assessment.  

For guidance on Direct Payments and living with Covid-19 see the documents section on the right of this page.

Page contents: 

Personal budgets  

A personal budget is an amount of money that is allocated either by the council or by the local health commissioners at the Integrated Care Board (ICB).  It helps to pay for services and support that your child needs as identified after an assessment.  

Personal budgets change the way in how services can work with families. Instead of you or your child being provided with a service, a budget is identified and work takes place to plan how this can best be used to meet your child or family’s assessed needs.  

The following personal budgets are available in South Gloucestershire to eligible children after an assessment has been made: 

  • personal education budget – if your child has identified needs through an education health and care plan (EHCP) 

  • social care personal budget – available if your child has complex needs and entitled/assessed to care and support  

  • personal health budget – if your child is assessed and entitled to NHS continuing care funding  

Education personal budget  

If you have a child with a special educational need or disability (SEND) your child may be entitled to a personal education budget through your child’s education health and care plan (EHCP).  

A personal education budget can be requested or discussed once the council have confirmed that your child will be getting an EHCP after carrying out an EHCP needs assessment or one can be requested during an EHCP annual review.  

This budget is funding that is given to meet your child’s educational needs that are detailed in their EHCP.  

For example your child may receive a special educational need personal budget to: 

  • add to the learning support your child already gets 

  • pay for specialist input   

  • fund work experience or work-based learning opportunities 

The personal budget set out in the EHC plan can be provided for all or some of the special educational, health and care provision. However, there are different criteria for each section element.  

Part F of the EHC plan shows the special educational need provision. Normally, this funding is provided from element 3 - known as the high needs block that the Local authority receives. This will fund the special educational provision which is to meet your child’s needs in their education setting. 

A request for a personal education budget will be considered on an individual basis. You can discuss this with your child’s case officer and the SEND Panel will make the final decision.   

You are not able to use a personal education budget to pay for: 

  • anything that is not identified in the EHCP 

  • health and social care provision that will not achieve the educational outcomes in the EHCP 

  • any provision that an education setting would normally provide a student 

  • a school or post 16 placement.  

Social care personal budget 

A social care personal budget will look at needs that have been assessed as needing extra support at home or in their community. 

A social care assessment would be carried by a social worker who will assess your child and they will decide what their needs are and whether a personal budget can meet those needs. If your child is eligible the social care provision will be recorded in in Parts H1 & H2 of the EHCP. 

Examples of social care provision may be:  

  • employing someone to support your child for example a personal assistant  

  • buying equipment  

  • paying for a service from a care provider 

  • having a short break/activity.  

You are not able to use a social care budget to pay for:  

  • things that are not directly related to your child's care and support 

  • anything that is provided free by another service, such as the NHS 

  • anything illegal (including paying people ‘cash in hand’) 

  • paying debts, ordinary household bills, food, and rent or mortgage 

  • things that do not represent value for money.   

A child in need assessment would take place to determine if a personal social care budget will be needed.  

NHS UK have some further reading that explains about personal social care budgets.   

To ask for an assessment you would contact the access and response team (ART)  

When your child turns 18 they may need to contribute towards their care. Our article paying for your own care helps explain this more. 

Health personal budget  

A personal health budget is an amount of money allocated to support the identified healthcare and wellbeing needs of an individual who has been assessed and is eligible for children’s continuing care (CCC).  This  is planned and agreed between the family and the local Integrated Care Board (ICB). Further information on personal health budgets is available on the ICB website.  

For children (birth to 25) with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) who are also CCC eligible, the personal health budget is likely to form part of their personal budget for their education, health and care plan (EHCP). This may be discussed at the EHCP annual review.  

Any details about health provision will be recorded in part G of the EHCP. 

If your child is over 18 with complex health needs, they may be eligible for NHS funding is called continuing healthcare  

NHS UK have some further reading that explains about personal health budgets.   

People Hub have produced some information sheets on how to manage health budgets  

If you think your child should be assessed for NHS continuing care, talk to your social worker or doctor about this. A referral to the Children’s Complex care team at the ICB need to come from a health, education or social care professional who works with your child and knows their health and care needs. 

To request a personal health budget, you would normally discuss this with a health practitioner that your child sees on a regular basis. They would know how to start the process if required, or you can contact the Integrated Care Board (ICB)

How personal budgets may be provided    

A personal budget can be provided in the following ways:  

A notional budget 

You will be informed how much money is available in the budget and be involved in discussions about how to identify the different ways to spend that money to meet the outcomes. The council or health commissioner will arrange services on your behalf, no money is given to you or your child directly.   

Direct payment to you or your child  

You may decide to take all or some of your child’s personal budget in the form of direct payment. Direct payments are a cash payment from the personal budget which is made directly to you or an adult who is legally responsible for your child up to the age of 25 with special educational needs or disabilities or direct to your child if they are aged 16-25. The money will be given to you or your child to purchase and manage services. This is usually done using a direct payment card.  

Direct payment arrangement to a third party 

Payments can be given to a third party for examples to a broker, provider or nominee on behalf of you or your child, who helps you to buy the services chosen. A charity or other organisation is given the money and helps you spend it. The third-party organisation buys the services identified and takes responsibility for all financial arrangements.  

Combination budget

A personal budget can also be given using a combination of the above. This is called a combination budget. 

How to get a personal budget 

You will be given a personal budget to spend if your child is assessed and it is agreed by the council or health commissioners that your child is eligible for help with education, health, and social care support. The level of personal budget will depend on the assessments and the needs identified. 

You can request an assessment from the council for education and social care through the council’s access and response team.  

To request a personal health budget, you would normally discuss this with a health practitioner that your child sees on a regular basis. They would know how to start the process if required.     

Reducing or stopping personal budgets   

The council and health commissioners have to review how personal budgets are used against the needs of your child. They can reduce or stop direct payments with reasonable notice. However, you can challenge this and they must reconsider their decision. Your health or social care key link will be able to explain to you how you would do this.   

In some circumstances, the council or health commissioners may ask for a repayment. This may because: 

  • the needs of your child have changed   

  • the direct payments have not been used in part or full on the agreed provision 

  • there has been theft, fraud, or other offence in relation to the payments  

  • if a child has died. 

Payments can stop if your child or their nominee are no longer someone who payments should be paid to. This could be for one or more of the following reasons.  

  • They are unable to manage the payments, even with assistance  

  • They lack capacity under the Mental Health Act 2005.  

  • They are subject to a rehabilitation order, or being treated for drug or alcohol abuse  

  • It becomes apparent that the payments are not being used to secure agreed provision, or the provision can no longer be paid by direct payments  

  • If the direct payments are having an adverse effect on service delivery or are no longer an efficient use of resources  

  • If over 16 and the child doesn’t confirm consent to receive payments  

  • If a person has failed to comply with the conditions of use.    

Further information  

The following organisations have produced further information about personal budgets that can be found on their websites:   

South Gloucestershire Council  Personal Budget Guidance 

SEND and You – Personal Budgets for children with SEND in South Gloucestershire (leaflet 7 under South Glos section) 

Contact a national charity for families with disabled children has information on Personal budget and direct payments.   

IPSEA  has produced some information on their website about  Personal Budgets and Direct Payments if you have an EHCP  

The NHS website has some information about the Mental Capacity Act

Contact details

Duty Telephone Line: 01454 865137


For all enquiries about an EHC needs assessment, annual reviews and provision for pupils with EHC plans please contact Jennie Mackenzie, Team Manager for the EHCP team:

For all enquiries about school placements please contact Jane Whitworth, Commissioning Manager for Inclusion and SEND:

For general enquiries regarding SEND, including SEN Support Services, please contact Will Pritchard, Strategic Lead for inclusion and SEND: