Identifying and supporting SEND

Personal Budgets and direct payments

A Personal Budget is an amount of money that we identify to help deliver the provision within an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. It is for the parent or young person to help secure this provision.

Instead of us providing services, we identify a budget to help meet assessed needs. It allows control and choice over the support and care needs of a child or young person.

Making a request

A Personal Budget is optional. Parents or a young person can request one, but only when:

  • we have confirmed that we are preparing a draft EHC plan, or
  • we are reviewing or re-assessing the EHC plan

When considering your request, we will ensure that your Personal Budget:

  • does not include money paid as part of a larger budget that we cannot separate
  • would not harm services already provided for all children and young people with EHC plans
  • would not be an efficient use of resources

What happens next?

We will consider all requests for a Personal Budget on their merits. We will work with families and young people to access provision through this route where possible. 

In some circumstances, we may not agree to your request. For example:

  • if it is for provision delivered as part of an NHS contract to provide all speech and language therapy or occupational therapy
  • if the cost of provision is part of a larger budget paid to the educational setting

If we do not agree to your request, we will write to you. Your letter will include details of how to ask for a review of our decision.

The SEND Tribunal does not hear appeals about Personal Budgets. It will hear appeals about the special educational provision to which a Personal Budget may apply. 

If you disagree with the special educational provision to be secured through a personal budget, you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability) if you wish.


You can receive a Personal Budget payment via any combination of:

  • direct payment – you receive money to contract, purchase and manage the relevant services yourself. Either your local authority or health service will monitor spend and accountability.
  • an arrangement – your local authority, school or college holds funds and commissions the relevant support. Either your local authority or health service will arrange services on the family's behalf.
  • third-party arrangements – a third-party organisation, trust or nominated person holds the money. They support parents and young people to purchase the relevant services.

Using a Personal Budget

You cannot use a Personal Budget to fund a school placement, neither partly nor wholly. 

Where any provision proposed to be replaced by a direct payment takes place in an educational setting, we need the consent of the headteacher or equivalent. If they do not consent, we cannot make a direct payment.

If a Personal Budget is agreed upon, we can refuse to make direct payments to anyone who:

  • appears unable to manage the payments, even with assistance
  • we believe would not use the payments in an appropriate way
  • lacks capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • is subject to a rehabilitation order or being treated for drug or alcohol abuse

If direct payments are agreed upon, we will send a letter to you or the person you have nominated. It will state:

  • the name of the child it relates to
  • the goods or services to purchase
  • the proposed amount of money
  • any conditions on how the money can be spent
  • the dates for payments into the bank account we approve

You or your nominee must write back to us to say that you agree to:

  • receive the direct payments
  • use the money only for the agreed provision
  • comply with any specified conditions
  • notify us of any change in circumstances
  • use the bank account we approve
  • ensure that only you, or your approved nominees, can access the bank account
  • record money paid in and out of the account

You can nominate someone else to receive direct payments on your behalf. If so, you must tell us in writing so that they can use them to make the agreed provision. 

Your nominee should also write to us to confirm that they are responsible. You must let us know if you intend to use direct payments to buy services from close relatives. We must confirm with you that this is an effective way to meet needs.

Advice and assistance

You can contact a SEND caseworker for more information or discuss your options for Personal Budgets. You can find their contact details on letters about the EHC plan. 

You can also contact SEND business support:

The Penderels Trust supports adults and children who receive a direct payment in Lincolnshire:

Liaise is Lincolnshire's SEND Information, Advice and Support Service:

If you would like to explore the option of direct payment for services through social care, contact your social worker.