Skip to main content

Personal Budgets Explained

The aim of Personal Budgets is to increase an individual’s independence and choice by giving them control over the way services they receive are delivered.

A Personal Budget is a sum of money that a family can use to spend in a way that they choose in order to meet the needs and outcomes identified through an assessment. It will mean that they choose not to use the services commissioned by the council or CCG, but instead will use the money to purchase something different.

Depending on which services the child or young person is eligible for will depend on how the amount is calculated. Different people will have differing amounts depending on their needs.
In Islington, Personal Budgets are available for:

  • Children and young people with disabilities
  • Children and young people with an EHCP
  • Those accessing targeted short breaks
  • Children and young people with Continuing Care needs
  • Those accessing home to school transport (SEND)
  • Children and young people with palliative care needs and receiving respite
  • Children and young people with a wheelchair

Personal Budgets are linked to an assessment of need. The assessment will look at the holistic needs of the child and their family. From the assessment, it may be decided that support is needed from one or more teams/agencies.

Before a Personal Budget can be agreed, the Council and CCG must agree that additional funding is required to support a young person over and above what is already available through universal services.

If that is the case, then a Personal Budget is one option for how a family receives support. Personal Budgets may not be suitable for everybody, and it is up to the family to decide what is best for them and their situation.

Choice and Control

Choice and Control is part of a national programme called Integrated Personal Commissioning which is supporting areas across the country to develop personalised healthcare and better integration of services across health, social care, education and the voluntary and community sector.

The programme aims to ensure that services are tailored to people’s individual needs, building on learning from personal budgets in social care and personal health budgets in health.

In Islington children’s services we are currently focussing on children and young people who are looked after or care leavers who have, or are at risk of developing, mental health needs.

Children and young people will be identified through social workers and other professionals.

Choice and Control is about putting the young person at the centre of their care and support planning, and encouraging them to take the lead in thinking about what would help to improve their social and emotional wellbeing. It is about being creative, and thinking outside of ‘traditional’ services offers.

Through Choice and Control, it may be that the young person is eligible for a Personal Budget, so that they can access what they have identified to help them achieve their goals and outcomes.

What is a Direct Payment?

A Direct Payment is one way of delivering a Personal Budget.
If a person gets a Direct Payment then they will get the money that has been agreed for the care and support paid either into a separate bank account, or onto a pre-paid card issued by the Local Authority.

A person cannot have a Direct Payment if they:

  • Are subject to a drug or alcohol treatment programme
  • Have a gambling addiction
  • Have a youth rehabilitation order
  • Have been assessed as lacking capacity following a Mental Capacity Assessment

If someone is unable to have a Direct Payment they can still have a Personal Budget. Other ways of managing Personal Budgets are:

  • Third Party Managed Budget – an organisation will manage the money on the person’s behalf, but they will still have control over what their support looks like and how the money is spent
  • Notional Budget – the Local Authority or CCG manage the money on the person’s behalf

Refusing a Personal Budget

The Local Authority or CCG may refuse to give someone a Personal Budget if:

  1. It goes against the rules about what a Personal Budget can be spent on
  2. It does not meet an agreed outcome
  3. It does not provide good value for money/it is more than what the Local Authority or NHS would have spent on services for a person
  4. There is significant risk that it will cause harm (and that risk cannot be managed)

What can a Personal Buget be spent on?

Your Personal Budget can be spent on anything that meets the goals that have been agreed between you and relevant professionals who are supporting you. These goals will be set out in your support/care plan or EHCP.

Personal Budgets cannot be spent on:

  • Anything illegal
  • Alcohol or tobacco
  • Paying off debts
  • Paying for household bills
  • A range of health services including:
    • Primary care services (e.g. GP)
    • Urgent and emergency care
    • Prescriptions and vaccinations
    • Dentistry
    • Surgery
    • Anything that NICE has said cannot be prescribed on the NHS (for example homeopathy and herbal treatments)

Funding for Personal Budgets in SEND

Mainstream schools receive funding for children with SEN in three ways:

  • 'Base' (or pupil) funding - this pays for classrooms and buildings.
  • A 'notional' SEN budget allocated by formula - this normally pays for additional teachers or teaching assistants, specialist programmes and specialist services commissioned by the school.
  • Any individual ('top-up') funding allocated through a statement / Education, Health and Care Plan.

Any Personal Budget for SEND would likely be funded by the ‘top up’ funding. Schools can decide to support a Personal Budget through the use of the ‘base’ or ‘notional’ funding, but they are under no obligation to do this, as it could destabalise existing contracts and services.

Personal Health Budgets

From the 1st October 2014 parents/carers have had the right to have a personal budget for their child if they’re eligible for continuing care funding.

Parents/carers of children and young people with palliative care needs and in receipt of respite services from the Whittington Health Life Force Team have the right to ask for a personal budget.

For more information specifically related to this, please go to the CCG website.

Social Care Personal Budgets

The amount of money will be calculated following a Social Work assessment.
Directly provided services can offer support after school, at weekends and during the school holidays via our Short Breaks providers.

Overnight short breaks can be provided where the need for this has been identified via the child and family assessment.

The Personalisation Team

The Personalisation Team work alongside families and professionals using person-centred approaches to help develop and implement individualised support plans for children and young people to meet assessed needs.

Support provided by Personalisation Officers includes:

  • Information and support to manage personal budgets
  • Information about resources and support services and developing person centred plans
  • Information and support about direct payments
  • Advice and support to recruit and manage workers
  • Support with monitoring information