Personal Budgets is an amount of resource, money, or services that can be allocated to you or a carer to help meet assessed needs and agreed outcomes. This page has information that will help children, young people and their families make best use of Personal Budgets.
What are Personal Budgets?
A personal budget is an amount of resource, money, or services that will be allocated to a young person, parents or carers to meet assessed needs and agreed outcomes. They are for young people under 18 and were introduced with the SEND Reforms.
Personal Budgets don't give you more money to spend on meeting your outcomes, but it does give you more control on how the money is spent to meet his/ her outcome. Personal Budgets amounts are calculated from the amount of services provided to you or your child/young person (for example any short breaks services you use or any direct payment you might have). A Direct Payment is a form of Personal Budget.
Personal Budgets are another way of allowing you to maximise your choice and control over how your agreed outcomes are achieved. They offer:
- An opportunity to meet your assessed outcomes in a person-centred and creative way.
- A way of making the additional help you receive from us more specific to the way that you want to lead your life, and showing you the cost of these services.
- A way of sharing decision making with you and your family and increasing choice and control
- An opportunity to reach your full potential/independence.
Who can have a Personal Budget?
We have been offering a PB to anyone who is new and is eligible for a statutory EHCP from 1st September 2014, and will be transferring anyone with a SEN statement to an EHCP by April 2018. However, in the meantime we are also offering a PB to anyone eligible for support with social care, home to school travel and continuing health care (through Personal Health Budget).
Anyone requesting support from the Council or the NHS will need to have an assessment, and will need to pass our eligibility criteria.
A Personal Budget can be typically used for anything, so long as:
- It meets your assessed needs and outcomes
- It is legal
- It has been agreed to within the EHCP
How do I request a Personal Budget?
We are currently only offering PBs to children and young people in receipt of social care support, or assistance with home to school travel.
- If you want to request a PB for social care support then please speak to your social worker if you have one, or telephone (0117) 903 8250.
- If your request is about home to school travel, then please email email@example.com or telephone (0117) 903 7672.
How will you decide how much is in my Personal Budget is?
In order to receive a personal budget you need to meet our eligibility criteria. Depending on your needs, you may be eligible for different things, For example not every child who is eligible for additional help in school will be eligible for continuing care, or assistance with home to school travel. Your eligibility, and the outcomes required from a personal budget, will be agreed with you as part of the assessment process.
We want to make sure our support is distributed in the fairest and most equitable way. Therefore, we are creating a resource allocation system to make sure our money is spent in the most equitable way.
The Resource Allocation System involves:
- A Needs Assessment
- Outcome planning and Education, Health and Care Plans
- Bristol Universal Identifiers and Banding
Bristol Universal Descriptors
In Bristol we are developing some Bristol Universal Descriptors (BUDS). This is a way of us comparing a needs assessment to a range of descriptions. We will decide which most nearly reflects the needs and outcomes of the child/young person and family in question. This will give an indication of the approximate amounts of budget, or the resource, needed to meet that need/outcome. This is called a banding.
Self Directed Support Questionnaire
We use a Self Directed Support Questionnaire (SDS) to assess a persons’ needs. This format allows for both the service user/carer and the practitioner to assess need in a wide range of areas:
- Personal Care
- Eating and Drinking
- Running and maintaining my home
- Making decisions and organising my life
- Keeping Myself Safe
- Being Part of my community
- Having work, learning and other activity opportunities
- My role as a parent/carer
- How my actions may affect myself and others
When this information is entered into the assessment, it generates a financial figure called the indicative budget which indicates the approximate cost of the level of support that would be needed to meet the young person’s social care needs.
The assessment process also includes an assessment of a person’s eligibility for Community Care services. This is a matrix framework that all local authorities have to follow and is designed to ensure that resources are aimed at people in ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ need.
Where will Personal Budgets come from?
Personal Budgets can include money from the Council’s Education budget, or Social Care budget, or Health (through a Personal Health budget).
We have not developed a specific policy on the use of Personal Budgets yet. We want to base the development of any such policy on experience, rather than what we think might happen, and how we think people might want to use them. We plan to write and consult on our policy by April 2015. However, in the meantime we intend to make personal budgets available on the following basis.
We want to make use of Personal Budgets as flexible as possible. A Personal Budget can be typically used for anything, so long as:
- It meets your assessed needs and outcomes
- It is legal
- It has been agreed to within the EHCP
How can a Personal Budget be spent?
Personal Budgets can be used to:
- Commission services (these are services that we arrange for you)
- Provide a Direct Payment
- Make a payment to a Trust/Third Party to arrange services
- A combination of all three
Where we commission services for you in the future, we want to increase your choice and control with these services as well. Therefore, we will be working to ensure that these types of services offer the maximum choice and control as well. We are aware that direct payments are not for everyone.
What is a Direct Payment?
A Direct Payment is what it says on the tin – it is a payment to an individual, parent/carer, or third party to meet a child’s assessed needs and agreed outcomes. A Direct Payment is governed by an agreement which sets out how the payment(s) will be made and how the money must be used. Personal Budgets and Direct Payments are subject to review, and can change.
To see the Bristol City Council Direct Payments Policy click here.
What support is available to help me manage my Personal Budget and Direct Payment?
The person assessing your needs will be the first person that will be able to help you manage your personal budget. They will help you at the assessment stage to identify what services might best help you reach your agreed outcomes. They may also suggest that you look at or trial some services first.
If you decide to take your personal budget, or part of it, as a direct payment, we will initially offer you support in managing the direct payment through the Direct Payments Support Service, which is part of the Disabled Children Service. The Direct Payments Support Service will help you with things such as:
- Identifying services that may help you meet your outcome, and helping you to establish a contract.
- Information and help in recruiting staff, if that is what is needed.
- Help in establishing a good record system, and advice on what records you need to keep, such as tax, national insurance, or insurance.
We will be keeping the support we offer to manage personal budgets and direct payments under review, and we may develop more support services over time, as we increase the use of personal budgets. We will advertise any changes here.
How will you check what I use my Personal Budget or Direct Payment for?
Anyone receiving a PB as a direct payment will be asked to sign an agreement, detailing what the payments are for, how they are expected to meet your outcomes (which we will discuss and agree with you first), and how the payments will be made. The same will apply where you are using a trust.
Anyone receiving a direct payment (unless it is a one-off payment) is required to open a separate bank account to administer direct payments made to them, and to keep records of what they receive and spend. We will check these records on a periodic basis, which we will agree with you when we first make the direct payments agreement with you. This is usually at your review.
The direct payments agreement may give you flexibility on how you can spend the money over time, such as recreational activities to gain confidence and to provide a short break for your parent/carer. However, how you spend it will be up to you. You may decide to go to a youth club, go swimming, or even try yoga. The choice is yours.
We do not usually reclaim money, where there has been a genuine mistake. However, we do reserve the right to reclaim money where it is not being used, or where we believe that there has been some deliberate or reoccurring misuse which we find is unacceptable. In this case, we may withdraw your direct payment altogether.
This page has information for residents in the City of Bristol. Find out about what other Local Authorities do.
Last Update 1 December 2016 by Findability Team.
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