Personal budgets and direct payments

 A personal budget is an amount of money that can be allocated to you directly so that you can control aspects of your child’s support and care. It lets you have more choice in how to spend the money on the services you need.

What does a personal budget cover?

You can use a personal budget to pay for services or resources other than those offered by schools, the NHS or Brighton & Hove City Council. The amount that can be made available as a personal budget is based on what you need to achieve the outcomes defined in your Education Health and Care (EHC) plan.

Your personal budget could include funding for services in

  • education
  • social care
  • health

We’ll make decisions on what we can pay for as we receive each request. Your case worker or independent support worker can advise you on your options for using a personal budget.

When to ask for a personal budget

You can ask for a personal budget when the council has agreed after assessing someone's need it will prepare a draft EHC plan or when your EHC plan is being reviewed.

Accessing a personal budget for education

Any family or young person that wishes to apply for an educational personal budget must have an Education, Health and Care plan. Find out if you’re eligible for an EHC plan.

Personal Budgets are normally only available if it is recommended and agreed that the most appropriate way for someone to receive the help and support they need is outside a mainstream or special school or if specialist help or equipment is needed which is not usually provided by the council or health services.  It would be unusual for a child or young person to be able to access a personal budget if they are in a special school as they often provide a broader level of specialist support to fully meet the needs identified. We consider all requests carefully and on an individual basis.

Managing your personal budget: direct payments

If you’re eligible to receive a personal budget, there are four ways that you can receive the funds:

  • direct payments made into your account - you then buy and manage services yourself
  • an arrangement with us (Brighton & Hove City Council) or your school to hold the money for you, but you decide how to spend it (sometimes called ‘notional arrangements’)
  • you choose someone else to manage the money for you (called a third-party arrangement)
  • a combination of the three options above.

How you decide to receive the personal budget should be discussed with your casework officer during the assessment or at the next annual review.

Full guidance about education personal budgets in Brighton and Hove [PDF 247kB].

How we reach decisions on personal budgets

We consider all requests for personal budgets carefully. At the moment we consider the three elements (education, social care and health) of personal budgets separately. However, we’re working towards linking all three.

Representatives from the Parent Carers’ Council (PaCC) are a part of the groups that consider the planning and policy of personal budgets. PaCC is a local group of parents and carers of children and young people.

When making a decision, the panel may decide not to agree a to personal budget if to do so would have a negative impact on other service users, for example, if a request for a personal budget to fund a private speech and language therapist would reduce the amount of funds available to existing service users.

If it’s not possible to provide you with a personal budget, we’ll explain in writing why we can’t do it. If you disagree with the decision, you can ask for the decision to be reviewed. To ask us for a review you’ll need to write to us at:

SEN Team
2nd Floor
Hove Town Hall


Find out our opening times as well as other contact details.

Speak to your case worker or independent supporter about this.

You may also be interested in

A document called A Family Guide to Personalisation, Personal Budgets and Education Health and Care (PDF 1MB) from the Department of Education explains:

  • direct payments
  • what you can spend your budget
  • what you can’t spend your personal budget.

Local organisation Amaze offers information, advice and support to parents and carers of children with a special educational need and/or a disability. The Amaze website includes a section on Money Matters.

Our family factsheet provides information about the financial help that families may be entitled to and organisations that can advise you and help you manage your money. See pages 14, 15 and 16 for information on the benefits available (PDF 370KB) to parents and children with a disability or special needs


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