These are newly introduced elements of EHCPs. Local Authorities can now be requested to identify a ‘personal budget’ for a child or young person that an EHCP is maintained for. A personal budget is an amount of money identified by a Local Authority to deliver provision set out in the EHCP where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision. Information about the availability of personal budgets must be contained in the Local Authority’s local offer.

In certain circumstances, the Local Authority can refuse to identify a personal budget, namely when the special educational provision is being provided as part of an overall budget and the Local Authority say that they can’t disaggregate the personal budget from overall budget. An example is where a Local Authority has a contract with an NHS therapy service to deliver all provision for a region.

Parents or young people can then request that a Local Authority consider making a direct payment to them so that they can arrange the delivery of provision themselves. This will be an actual payment of money instead of the Local Authority arranging for the provision to be delivered.

Where the provision proposed to be replaced by a direct payment takes place in a school or college setting, the consent of the Head Teacher or Principal of the named school or other institution is required.