Personal budgets for children with SEND

A personal budget is the amount of money required to meet the needs of a child or young person with an education, health and care (EHC) plan.  It can help give you more control over what the money is spent on and who spends it. It might include things like a personal transport budget.

Parents can request a personal budget or the young person themselves if they're 16 years old or more.

You can request a personal budget:

  • when the EHC assessment is taking place
  • when the EHC plan is being reviewed
  • during a re-assessment.

When you request a personal budget your SEN case officer will discuss the details with you. We have to involve you in planning the budget and will consider your views before finalising the plan.

You can choose one or more of the below:

  • direct payments – where you pay for and manage services yourselves.
  • an arrangement – we, the school or college holds the money for you but you decide how to spend it. This is called a notional budget.
  • third party arrangements – where you choose an individual or organisation to manage the money for you.

The budget can only be spent on the support written in the EHC plan. Some people may have separate personal budgets for healthcare or social services.

Direct payments

You use a direct payment to pay for and manage services yourself, rather than us making the arrangements. This gives you more control over how you receive support.

We can pay the money onto a Kent Card or you can pay for things from your bank account.

We will only provide a direct payment if you want one. You don’t have to have one.

Requesting direct payments

You can ask for a direct payment by writing to us, we will usually decide within 10 working days. Your caseworker will let you know if it will take longer than 10 working days.

If the direct payment will replace the current arrangement in the school or college, you will need the headteacher or principal’s consent.

We may refuse your request for a direct payment if we have already made arrangements for services to be provided.

Appealing a decision about direct payments

You can ask us to review our decision by writing to the SEN area manager overseeing the case.

You need to write within 5 days of the date of the decision letter and include:

  • the reason for the review
  • what you hope will happen (the outcome)
  • further information to support your request.

We will review the decision and try to reply within 10 working days. The outcome of the review is final as you can only ask for a review once.

You can’t appeal to the SEND tribunal about direct payments.

If you have any questions please contact your area special educational needs team or caseworker.