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Direct Payments and Personal Budgets

You'll be given a personal budget to spend if your local council decide you're eligible for help with any social care and support you need. You can request an assessment from the Council to establish your needs. 

The money in your personal budget can be paid to you, to help you make more decisions about how it's spent. This is known as a direct payment. 

What is a personal budget?

Your personal budget is the amount of money your local council will pay towards any social care and support you need. 

The amount of money in your personal budget is decided by your local council after a needs assessment to work out:

  •  What kind of care and support you need
  •  How much it will cost
  •  How much you're able to afford yourself 

Carers and personal budgets 

If you're a Carer, you may be entitled to receive a personal budget after having a Carer's assessment to see what might help make your life easier. 

A Carer's assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one. 

Choosing how to receive your personal budget

You can ask the council to either: 

  •  Manage your personal budget for you 
  •  Pay the money to another organisation - such as a care provider
  •  Pay the money directly to you or someone you choose - this is known as a direct payment. 

You can also choose a combination of these options. For example, the council could arrange some of your care but send you the rest of the money. This is often called a 'mixed package' or 'mix and match'. 

If the council manages your money 

The money in your personal budget will be spent for you by the council. They will arrange all of your care and support based on your agreed care plan. 

They still need to check you're happy with the care they're arranging for you.

If your money is paid to another organisation

The organisation you choose, such as your care provider, will speak to the council and arrange the payments. 

Sometimes other organisations charge you extra money to arrange payments from the council. 

Personal Budgets at Hartlepool Borough Council

Personal Budgets are a key part of person centered care and support. A personal budget is the mechanism that in conjunction with a plan enables the child/adult and their advocate, if they have one, to exercise greater choice and control obver how their care support needs are met. It is crucial the process for establishing a personal budget is transparent and robust so that people can easily understand how their personal budget has been calculated and feel confident that the allocation is correct to meet their care and support needs. 

Who can receive a Personal Budget?

  • Parents of a child / young person with a disability 
  • Older people (aged 65 or over) 
  • People with disabilities who are aged over 16
  • Unpaid Carers aged 16 and over, including those with parental responsibility for a child with a disabilty. 

Managing a Personal Budget

There are different ways in which a personal budget can be managed; 

  • The family / individual can choose to take the personal budget as a direct payment and manage it themselves (with options for support to do this available) 
  • The family / individual can ask the local authority to manage it on their behalf
  • The family / individual can choose to have a mix of the options, part direct payment and part organised by he Local Authority. 

In Hartlepool there is a support / brokerage service who can manage the personal budget on the families behalf. 

In all instances, there should be a common approach to personal budgets that:

  • Everyone including families understands;
  • Any funding identified as part of a potential personal budget can be taken as a direct payment, and 
  • The allocation of a potential personal budget will relate to the amount of  support the individual needs to achieve identified outcomes. 

For more information please speak to your Social Worker if you have one, or go to

Personal Budgets - Education

Requests for educational personal budgets are assessed on an individual basis by the SEN Local Authority Team. Requests in the first instance will be reviewed by the Children's Commissioning Manager and the SEN Team Manager. 

Not all requests for personal budgets can be approved and the Local Authority will provide specific details in writing on an individual case by case basis for any personal budget requests that are turned down. 

The schools Notional Budget commonly known as "Element 2" funding will only be available as part of a personal budget following discussion and full agreement of the Head Teacher. Any agreement for a personal budget for 'top up funding' which subsequently results in a direct payment must be agreed from the Head Teacher for any of the services to be delivered on their premises. 

Personal Budgets - Health

A Personal Health Budget is an amount of money to support a person's identified health and wellbeing needs. This is planned and agreed between the individual, their representative, or, in the case of a child, their families or Carers and the local NHS Team.

It is not new money, but is money that would normally have been spent by the NHS on a person's care, spent more flexibly to meet their identified needs. 

The use of Personal Health Budgets is one way in which the NHS can tailor services and support for people to enable them to have choice, control and flexibility over their care. 

Who can receive a personal budget?

  • Parents of a child/young person with a disability
  • Older people (aged 65 or over)
  • People with disabilities who are aged over 16
  • Unpaid Carers aged 16 and over, including those with parental responsibility for a child with a disability

Tel: 01429 284284

Email: [email protected]

The Children's Hub
Hartlepool Borough Council
Civic Centre
Victoria Road
TS24 8AY

Monday to Thursday 8.30am - 5.00pm and Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm (answerphone available outside of office hours)

For further information please speak to your Social Worker (if you have one) or visit

Core Assets Children's Services - Independent Support 

Please be aware that the Core Assets Independent Support Programme ended on the 31st July 2018. From August 2018 onwards, parents, children and young people will continue to be able to access information, advice and support on statutory assessment and annual reviews from your local SENDIASS.

Tel: 01429 284876

Email: [email protected]


Monday - Thursday 8.30am - 5.00pm and Friday 08.30am - 4.30pm 

Local Information for people with learning disabilities Hartlepool

Information and contacts you might find helpful

We think it is really important that people know how to get the information they need. This information has been made to help you have the information you need to speak up for yourself and contact someone who will help you. 

Some of the things we thought people might need information on is; 

  •  Getting a service, or support you need
  •  Getting a Personal Budget to buy your own support 
  •  Advocacy support
  •  Having a say on local services and how they can be better
  •  Talk to your local Council, NHS PALS Service or Care Provider

Top tips to think about getting information

  • Asking for information can be difficult, you can ask for help from someone  you trust
  • You need to know where to get the informaton you want, this booklet should help with that 
  • There are main places to get information, your local Council, NHS or Community and Voluntary Service
  • You could write down with a family friend or Carer the information you require and why 
  • Ask a family member, friend or Carer to speak to someone by telephoning the contact 
  • Ask a family member, friend or Carer to explain what information  you need
  • Ask for the information to be in a way you understand, i.e. can this be made in done in easy read
  • Write down the name of the person you have spoken to 
  • If you are unhappy you can then take it further, like speaking to the boss of the person or your local Councillor

 Top tips for getting the right support

  • There are many organisations who offer support
  • You need to think about the type of support you need
  • Write down with a friend or Carer the support you need and what you want your life to be like
  • Your local advocacy service might be able to helpyou think about good providers
  • If you find it hard to explain what support you need, you could ask someone to help you 

Top tips for telling someone you are unhappy about a service 

  • It is important that you tell someone if you are unhappy about a service, do not keep this information to yourself
  • Complain to the local authority in your area or care provider as soon as possible if you do not feel happy
  • Write down and draw pictures if it helps you to remember what happened
  • Put your complaint in writing, you may need help from a friend, family, Carer or advocate to do this
  • Tell them you are complaining, get the person's name and ask for a reply to you, it is good to have the reply in writing
  • Try to keep all of your information together

Top tips on making your complaint go further

If you have complained and are still unhappy you might want to talk to someone else about it - here are a list of places that could help

  •  Your Local Authority 
  •  Citizens Advice Bureau
  •  Disability Rights Commission
  •  Disability Law Service
  •  Local Government Ombudsman
  •  Advocacy Services
  •  NHS England
  •  Care Quality Commission
  •  PALS (Patient Advice Liaison Service)
  •  Your Member of Parliament - MP
  •  Your Local Councillor