Introduction to Personalisation and Personal Budgets in Cheshire East

What is Personalisation?

Personalisation means seeing people as individuals who have strengths and preferences and putting them at the centre of their own care and support. The traditional service-led approach has often meant that people have not been able to shape the kind of support they need. Personalised approaches such as involving people in planning their support, adopting person-centred planning approaches, and the option of personal budgets enable people to identify their own needs and make choices about how and when they are supported to live their lives.

Personalisation should also involve the use of an integrated, community-based approach for everyone. This involves building community capacity and local strategic commissioning so that people have a good choice of support regardless of age or disability, including support provided by user-led, community and voluntary organisations. It means ensuring that people can access universal services such as transport, leisure, education, housing and health, as well as employment opportunities. All systems, processes, staff and services need to put people at the centre of shaping their support package.

Personalisation also means ensuring that people have access to information, advocacy and advice to make informed decisions about their care and support, along with finding new collaborative ways of working (sometimes known as “co-production”) that support people to actively engage in the design, delivery and evaluation of local services.

Personal Budgets

A Personal Budget is a notional amount of money allocated to an individual that should be enough to meet their identified needs. There are a number of ways in which an individual can be involved in managing a Personal Budget: -

  • Direct payments - where individuals receive the cash to contract, buy and manage services themselves. This will be an amount of money managed by the family and which is spent as agreed in a Plan.
  • Notional budgets - an arrangement whereby the local authority (or health clinical commissioning group, school or college) holds the funds and commissions the support specified in the plan
  • Third party arrangements - where funds are paid to and managed by an individual or organisation on behalf of the individual (i.e. a third party) and the third party commissions the support specified in the plan
  • A combination of the above

What is the difference between Personal Budgets and Direct Payments?

As explained above, a personal budget can be managed in a number of ways. A direct payment is simply one way of managing a personal budget. Direct Payments refer to an identified amount of money that is paid directly to the individual to purchase services that meet their assessed needs outside of what is delivered by already provided services. Direct payments must be used for things detailed in the accompanying, relevant plan. Direct payments are subject to different regulations and for all sectors (Health, Education and Care) there are regulations which dictate some items that direct payments cannot be used for under any circumstances. It may not be possible to receive some or all elements of a personal budget as a direct payment. In some instances a direct payment may not be granted where resources can be more efficiently used or where funding has already been committed to contracts as part of local commissioning arrangements.

Contact a Family have produced a useful guide for parents on personal budgets in England (externally linked PDF) , explaining how personal budgets work in education, health and care.

Local arrangements

Locally, there are a number of options for personalisation and personal budgets across education, health and care in Cheshire East. The different potential options are outlined on the pages in this section which explain ‘What’ each potential budget is and under what circumstances the budget is available. Note that each option is subject to its own eligibility criteria and assessment process. Also included are examples of ‘How’ these budgets can be managed and used, and options on ‘Where’ you can find more information on each.