Personal Budgets and Direct Payments for Children and Young People with EHC Plans
A Personal Budget is an amount of money identified by the Local Authority to deliver provision set out in a child or young person’s EHC Plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision.
A child’s parent or the young person has a right to request a Personal Budget, when the Local Authority has completed an EHC Needs Assessment and confirmed that it will prepare an EHC Plan. A request can also be made for a Personal Budget during a statutory review of an existing EHC Plan.
At Watkins Solicitors, we have worked with a number of families to secure a Personal Budget so that as parents, they are able to arrange the provision agreed in Section F of the EHC Plan. In our experience, Local Authorities have agreed Personal Budgets for a range of provisions specified in an EHC Plan, including specialist teaching, IT equipment and resources, specialist tuition, access to mentoring and many other provisions, even including sport and exercise activities.
If any of the special educational provision to be arranged through a Personal Budget is to be delivered on the premises of an early years setting, school or college, then the Local Authority must secure the agreement of that institution. Local Authorities must consider each request for a Personal Budget on its individual merits and must ensure that the budget allocated is sufficient to deliver the specified provision.
If the Local Authority refuses a request for a Personal Budget, they must set out their reasons in writing and inform the child’s parents or the young person of their right to request a formal review of the decision.
Local Authorities must provide information on Personal Budgets as part of the local offer, which should be available on their website.
If you are interested in learning more about Personal Budgets, then please do not hesitate to contact us, as this is an area that we are exploring fully to ensure that there is increased participation of children, young people and their parents in decision making in relation to special educational provision and how it is delivered. So far, we have advised parents to secure a range of creative provisions through a Personal Budget and we believe this will continue to expand.