Annual Reviews and Personal Budgets

Information for Parents and Carers

Do not edit this one
What if I am unhappy with the support my child is receiving with an EHCP?

An EHCP is a legal document. This means that it must be followed by the school or college that is named in it and your child must receive the support that’s written in it. If you have concerns that your child isn’t receiving any of the provision in their EHCP, or they’re still struggling despite receiving that support, then you should talk to school about it.

If the Annual Review is due soon, then you can discuss any concerns you have in that meeting. If the Annual Review is not due for a while, then you can ask school to arrange an ‘emergency’ or ‘interim’ review.

What is an Annual Review?

EHCPs must be reviewed at least every 12 months in an Annual Review. The purpose of the Annual Review is to ensure that the contents of the EHCP are still relevant and the provision is helping your child to make progress.

The Annual Review provides an opportunity for you, your child, their school, any other professionals that may be supporting them from education, health or social care and the Local Authority to look closely at the EHCP and discuss anything which may no longer be appropriate or need updating, such as the outcomes or the placement which is named in it.

There are 5 steps in the Annual Review process, including:

1. Invitations are sent out and invitees are asked to give their views at least 2 weeks ahead of the meeting.

2. The Annual Review meeting is held and you are given the opportunity to discuss whether you are happy with the plan or whether there are things that needed to be changed.

3. The Local Authority (LA) or school writes and sends out a report of what was discussed during the meeting within 2 weeks of it taking place.

4. The EHCP Officer sends you a letter within 4 weeks of the meeting, to confirm whether the LA has decided to:

  • Keep the plan as it is
  • Amend the plan
  • Cease the plan, if they feel your child has made enough progress that it is no longer needed

If the LA agrees that amendments are needed, the EHCP Officer sends you a draft copy of the EHCP with a notice of proposed amendments with the decision letter (also within 4 weeks).

With the draft EHCP and decision letter, you receive a form asking whether you agree with the amendments and if you want to request a particular school at that time. You are given 15 days to respond.

5. A final amended EHCP is sent to you within a maximum of 12 weeks from the date of the meeting.

If you disagree with any of the content or the placement named in the EHCP when you receive the final copy, you will have a right of appeal.

How can I prepare for the Annual Review meeting?

You should be asked to give your views at least 2 weeks ahead of the meeting. It can be helpful to read through the EHCP and highlight any parts of it which you would like to talk about.

If you’re unsure, the types of things you may want to think about are:

  • What do you think is going well and what could be going better?
  • Are the outcomes in your child’s EHCP still relevant or have they already been achieved?
  • If the outcomes haven’t been achieved yet, what changes could be made to help that happen?
  • Are the descriptions of your child’s needs still accurate, or have any new needs been identified since the EHCP was written?
  • Is the education setting named in the EHCP still suitable for your child?
What is a Personal Budget?

A Personal Budget for SEN is money set aside to fund support as part of an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) for a child or young person with special educational needs. It can include funds from Education, Health and Social Care.

Parents or the young person must always be involved in planning the Personal Budget.

Sometimes the Local Authority, school or college will look after the Personal Budget for the parents or young person. This is called an Arrangement or a Notional Budget.

Sometimes the parents or the young person may manage all or part of themselves. The money to do this will come from a Direct Payment.

Sometimes someone else will manage the Personal Budget for the parents or young person. This is called a Third Party Arrangement.Sometimes the parent or young

person will have a mixture of some or all of these arrangements.

Who can have a Personal Budget?

Parents of a child with an EHC plan, or a young person who has an EHC plan, can ask for a Personal Budget. A young person with an EHC plan can ask for their own Personal Budget after the end of the school year in which they become 16.

You can also ask for a Personal Budget if your child has been assessed as needing an EHC plan, but this has not yet been finalised. However, you do not have to have a Personal Budget.

Sometimes the Local Authority may not agree to a Personal Budget. If that happens, the Local Authority should tell you why.

You can find Derby City Council’s policy on Personal Budgets here.

What can a Personal Budget be used for?

A Personal Budget can be used only on the support set out in an EHC Plan. This can include funding for the special educational, health and social care support that will help to achieve the outcomes set out in the Plan.

A Personal Budget does not cover payment for a place at the school or college, or the general provision for children or young people, including those who need SEN Support. A Personal Budget does include any top up funding (known as Element 3 funding) that is for provision specified in an EHC plan. It can also include support that is managed by the school or college – but only if the Head teacher or Principal agree.

You can find out more about what can be included in a Personal Budget in Sections 9.110 to 9.118 of the SEND Code of Practice.

What is the difference between a Personal Budget and a Direct Payment?

A Personal Budget shows you what money there is to make some of the provision specified in an EHC Plan, and who provides it. The parent or young person does not actually manage the funds directly.

With a Direct Payment, the parent or young person is given the money for some services and manages the funds themselves. The parent or young person is responsible for buying the service and paying for it.A Personal Budget can include a

Direct Payment if it is agreed that this is the best way to manage part of the Personal Budget.

Direct payments can be used for special educational provision only if the school or college agree.

It is also possible to have a Third Party Arrangement to manage a Direct Payment.

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