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EHCP: Funding and Personal Budget

Six adults and three children all sat down around a table.

Funding in Mainstream Schools

Mainstream schools offer funding. This is to support children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The following funding is available:

Funding in Special Schools

The following funding is available for special schools:

Funding Post-16

The Local Authority can provide High Needs Funding to post 16 providers. This is if any students who have an EHCP will need a high level of support to access provision.

Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) have more information about funding of students aged 16-25 with SEND, on their site:

Education Personal Budget

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

Parents of children under 16, and young people aged 16 to 25, can ask for an education personal budget. This is once the Local Authority has confirmed that it will prepare a draft EHCP or during a statutory review of an existing EHCP.

Personal budgets can give you more choice. For example, you can ask for someone other than the school to provide some of the education in the EHCP.

We may agree a personal budget if:

Where agreed, this must be set at a level that helps in securing the special educational provision. This is what is set out in the EHCP. 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 to meet your child’s needs. 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. This can be either a named individual or an organisation, to manage on your behalf. This offers more control over how services are provided for your child. It also means you won't have 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. This includes about how much funding is available to meet your child’s needs. It also allows more discussion with you about how we should spend that money. However, the amount of control you have over how this will meet your child’s needs, 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 for your child, while they also provide you money to buy other support. You can buy the other support using direct payments.

In East Sussex, we usually pay personal budgets through an “Arrangement”. This is where we hold the funds. Parents and young people are still involved in identifying the provider. We will enter into an agreement with the provider and pay the provider. This will be on the production of monthly invoices. This way, East Sussex County Council becomes the employer and assumes that responsibility.

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

The Local Authority may refuse a personal budget for special education provision. This is if they believe 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. This means the service will provide this therapy to children in its area. An example is the commissioning of Children’s Integrated Therapy and Equipment Services (CITES). CITES provide therapy services in all East Sussex schools. 

In this scenario we may refuse a personal budget, assuming CITES can deliver the therapy as part of our service level agreement.

If Your Request Is Refused

The Local Authority (LA) will notify you in writing if they refuse your request for a personal budget. You will have the right to request a formal review of its decision. 

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

Decisions in relation to the health element of an EHCP 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 have interest 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 Assessment and Planning (A&P) by:

Additional Help and Support


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

Visit the Amaze SENDIASS web page.

East Sussex Local Offer directory of services

You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space. The directory lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services cover many topics, including:

Visit the East Sussex Local Offer directory.

NHS - Health A to Z

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. These pages provide information and advice on how to get extra support:

Visit the NHS Health A to Z web page.

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

We explain some of the terms used on this website 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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