A personal budget is the notional amount of money that would be needed to cover the cost of making the special educational provision specified in an EHC plan. This is different from a direct payment which is an actual amount of money that you would receive so that you could commission some or all of the provision identified in the personal budget yourself.
Once a child or young person has an EHC plan, the local authority (LA) must ensure the support set out in the plan is made for the child or young person. the LA will do this by providing the necessary funding to the school or college attended by the child or young person, in order for them to deliver the educational support needed. However, it is also possible for the LA to consider making a payment to the parent, the young person or another nominated person, so that they can organise the provision themselves. This is called a direct payment.
In order for the parent or young person to request a direct payment, the LA must first identify a personal budget.
Your LA is obliged to consider identifying a personal budget for educational provision only if you request it when they issue a draft EHC plan following an EHC needs assessment or when they are reviewing an EHC plan.
In certain circumstances, the LA can refuse to identify a personal budget. They may do so when the special educational provision is being provided as part of a larger budget (for example, a contract with the NHS to provide all speech and language therapy or occupational therapy) and the LA can’t separate out or ‘disaggregate’ the personal budget from that overall larger budget.
Information about the availability of personal budgets must be contained in the LA’s local offer.