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EHCP: Funding and Personal Budget

Six parents with three children all sat on chairs around a desk.

Funding in Mainstream Schools

The following funding is available for mainstream schools to support children and young people with SEND:

Funding in Special Schools

The following funding is available for special schools:

Funding Post-16

The Local Authority allocates High Needs Funding to post 16 providers if any students who have an EHCP will require a high level of support to access provision. Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) have more information regarding funding of students aged 16-25 with SEND:

Education Personal Budget

A personal budget is an amount of money that is available to spend on support for your child, to meet their assessed needs.

Parents of children under 16, and young people aged 16 to 25, can ask for an education personal budget once the Local Authority has confirmed that it will prepare a draft Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, or during a statutory review of an existing EHC Plan.

Personal budgets can give you more choice. For example, you can ask for some of the education in the EHC plan to be provided by someone other than the school.

We may agree a personal budget if:

Where agreed, this must be set at a level that helps in securing the special educational provision set out in the EHC plan. This money will come from your Local Authority’s education department.

How You Will Receive Your Personal Budget if Your Request Is Granted

There are four different ways a personal budget can be managed:

Direct payment

This is where you received the money yourself so you can buy the support that your child needs. Using direct payments means you will have a lot more control and choice over how your child’s needs are met. However, it also involves more responsibility for you in managing these services. You may decide to use direct payments to buy a service from a provider, such as a therapist, or to use a sensory room. Alternatively, you may decide to employ a personal assistant to support your child. This means you would have all the legal responsibilities of an employer.

Third party arrangement

This is where funds to buy the support your child needs are paid to someone else, either a named individual or an organisation, to manage on your behalf. This offers more control over how services are provided for your child, without you having to organise and manage those services.

By an arrangement

This is where the Local Authority continues to hold all the funds and makes all the support arrangements. Having an arranged personal budget means more transparency about how much funding is available to meet your child’s needs. It also allows more discussion with you about how that money should be spent. However, the amount of control you have over how your child’s needs are met is likely to be more limited than the other options outlined.

A combination of the above

It is possible to have a combination of the above. The Local Authority may continue organising some of the services your child needs, while the money to buy other support is given to you. You can buy the other support using direct payments.

In East Sussex, personal budgets are paid mainly through an “Arrangement” where we hold the funds. Parents and young people are still involved in identifying the provider (e.g. SALT, OT, Counsellor).  We will enter into an agreement with the provider and pay the provider on the production of monthly invoices. This way ESCC becomes the employer and takes away that responsibility from you.

Reasons the Local Authority May Refuse Your Request for a Personal Budget

You will be refused a personal budget for special education provision if the Local Authority believes that one of the following is true:

For example, you may ask for a personal budget to buy a service from a particular speech and language therapist of your choice. However, the Local Authority may have already ‘block commissioned’ a particular service to provide this therapy to children in its area.  An example in ESCC is the commissioning of Children’s Integrated Therapy and Equipment Services (CITES) to provide therapy services in all its schools. 

In this scenario you may be refused a personal budget for the reasons outlined above, assuming the therapy required can be delivered as part of our service level agreement with CITES.

If Your Request Is Refused

If the Local Authority refuses your request for a personal budget, you will be notified in writing. You will have the right to request a formal review of its decision. 

The Local Authority is under a duty to consider any subsequent representation you make. Following review, the LA will notify you of the outcome in writing, and will set out reasons.

Decisions in relation to health element of an EHC plan (Personal Health Budget) remain the responsibility of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). They are under a similar duty to inform you in writing if they decline your request. They will also provide the opportunity for a formal review.

Further Information

If you are interested in a personal budget, speak to your Assessment and Planning Officer (APO).

You can find out more by reading the Personal Budget Guidance and the Personal Budget Policy documents:

If you need these documents in an alternative format, please contact ISEND Assessment & Planning (A&P) by calling 01273 336 740 or by emailing

Additional Help and Support


Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:

East Sussex Local Offer directory of services

You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space, that lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services include advice, guidance and support groups, activities and events and mental health and wellbeing support among many other topics:

NHS - Health A to Z

While the East Sussex Local Offer aims to provide as much information as possible, there may be some conditions that aren't covered in thorough detail. The NHS website has pages that list all conditions, with information and advice on how to get extra support:

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.

Visit the next page: EHCP Moving Into and Out of East Sussex

Visit the previous page: EHCP Elective Home Education

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