If your child has had an assessment from social care and is eligible for support, rather than being allocated services from us, you can choose the services you feel will best meet the needs of your child (and meet the agreed outcomes) through a personal budget.
A personal budget is an amount of money that we believe will meet the social care needs of your child. It can be a Direct Payment (cash) or services. Direct Payment gives you more flexibility and choice to arrange and purchase services to meet your child's needs.
Receiving a Direct Payment
If you choose a Direct Payment you will be allocated a sum of money based on your child's assessed needs. This can be used to buy services that meet the needs and agreed outcomes set out in their care/support plan.
The Self Directed Support Price Guide outlines Cambridgeshire County Council services or ones we have commissioned from other organisations and indicates how much these services cost; it is not an exhaustive list of activities and services that are available in the community.
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There are certain things that you can and cannot buy with a Direct Payment. Our booklet, Direct Payments - Frequently Asked Questions, will give you a quick and easy understanding of what your Direct Payment can be used for.
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As part of managing a Direct Payment you will be expected to provide monitoring to us of your spend for example receipts, bank statements etc. To help you manage your Direct Payment we provide free access to information, support and advice from Purple.
Employing a personal assistant
If you decide to employ a personal assistant (PA) to look after your child you may become an employer and as such need to be aware of issues of tax, National Insurance and insurance. Purple offers payroll and supported accounts meaning that you can choose to take as much or as little responsibility in the process (there is a charge for this service). They also have a free Cambridgeshire PA finder, where you can search for personal assistants who are looking for work in your area.
The Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB) provides safeguarding training.
Our Community Support Service organises training and e-learning for personal assistants and link workers; details are available in the training brochure
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Receiving a commissioned service
If you decide not to receive a Direct Payment and would prefer to receive a service from us, you may be referred to our Community Support Service (CSS). CSS supports children and young people who have moderate to severe learning disabilities, physical disabilities, sensory impairments and complex health needs.
Feedback on how personal budgets are working and the difference they make
We have been working with In Control, a national charity working to promote personalisation, to develop a way to find out how personal budgets are working and what difference they make to peoples lives. This has been part of a national pilot project funded by the Department for Education (DfE) for the last two years and has resulted in a questionnaire called the Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool, or POET for short.
Families in Cambridgeshire have participated by helping to develop the ‘right’ questions to ask and by testing out the questionnaires over the past 2 years. It has really helped to develop a national way of finding out how personal budgets are working which will benefit everyone but has also given us a really good picture of how things are working in Cambridgeshire. The DfE has now funded the project for a third year and has also recommended POET as a way for all local authorities to find out what families, carers and young people think about Education Health and Care Plans and Personal Budgets.