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Personal Budgets & Direct Payments

What is a Personal Budget?

A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision. Personal Budgets are optional for the child’s parent or the young person but local authorities are under a duty to consider a personal budget when requested. Personal budgets are typically provided where universal or targeted provision is not available to meet the child or young person’s needs. 

The child’s parent or the young person can either request the personal budget as a direct payment (while still choosing how their care needs are met and by whom) or leave the Council with the responsibility to buy the services on their behalf.  People can also choose to go with a combination of the two.  As a result, personal budgets provide a potentially good option for people who do not want to take on the responsibilities of a direct payment. 

If you have an Education, Health and Care Plan and wish to find out more, please contact

What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are payments given to individuals to pay for care/support services which they have been assessed as needing; the intention is to give them greater choice and control in their care services. The payments must only be spent on the services identified in their support plan. 

Please see Direct Payments - Torbay Council for further information on direct payments.

Social Care - Personal Budgets

Social Care in Children’s and Adults’ services offers personal budgets in Torbay for a range of short break services, including leisure activities, sitters, personal assistants, domiciliary care, domestic services, overnight stays and equipment.

Please see our Short Breaks webpage for more information, including eligability criteria for Short Breaks funded by Social Care.

Health - Personal Budgets

A personal health budget is an amount of money allocated to support the identified healthcare and wellbeing needs of an child who has been assessed by health and is eligible for Children’s Continuing Care (CCC).

Children’s Health often contributes to personal budgets in the form direct payments which are set up and managed by the Children’s Disability Service. Services include personal assistants and domiciliary care to support medical needs and to arrange transport.

Education - Personal Budgets

Personal budgets for Education have only been an option since April 2014.  Elements of the ‘top up’ funding that schools/education settings receive for a child with SEN may be able to be made available as a personal budget to allow parents to secure alternative support services. 

This cannot usually be used to pay for services where the local authority has a block contract in place with a service provider and cannot be used to pay for a school place.

Requests for a personal budget can only be made:

  • at the draft EHCP stage following an EHC needs assessment has been agreed to result in an EHCP being issued
  • at an annual review of an EHCP

For further information, please refer to:

In exceptional circumstances, there may be scope to agree release of further SEN funding from a school/education setting budget, but only with the agreement of the Head Teacher/Principal who would consider the impact on services for the majority of SEN pupils/students. 

All cases will be considered individually and it is important to note that what may be an appropriate use of funding to support a child/young person to meet their agreed outcomes, as outlined in the Education, Health and Care Plan, may not be suitable for another child/young person with a different set of needs.

Young people/parents who wish to consider having a personal budget to arrange SEN support services should contact their Special Educational Needs (SEN) Caseworker, to discuss this further.

All families of children or young people are told about the option for a Personal Budget when an EHC needs assessment is being caried out. If they express an interest in having a personal budget their SEN Caseworker will explore the option of accessing parts of the element 3 ‘top up’ funding as a personal budget and to discuss with their child’s schools any possibilities for the school or college releasing funding to also be used as a personal budget’, to meet the needs of the child/young person.