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Personal budgets

Personal Budgets Panel

What is a personal budget?

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

The amount of money in your personal budget is decided by the 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 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 your care and support based on your agreed-upon care plan. They still need to check if 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.

Using your personal budget

Once you have a personal budget, you have two main options for managing it:

  • Direct payments: With direct payments, the council transfers the allocated funds directly to your bank account. You are then responsible for managing the money and arranging the care services or support you require.
  • Managed accounts: If managing the finances is a concern, you can choose a managed account. The council holds the budget on your behalf and makes payments to the service providers you select.

The benefits of direct payments

Direct payments give you more flexibility over how your care and support are arranged and provided.

For example, you could choose to hire care workers or personal assistants who:

  • are always the same people and available when you need them
  • speak the same language as you
  • have experience working with your care needs
  • are a specific person that has been recommended to you
  • can help you get to shops or social events

There are many ways you could choose to use the money. It's your choice, as long as you're spending your personal budget on things that meet your agreed-upon care plan.

You may need to provide evidence of how you've spent your money every 3 months.

When to consider other options

You may decide direct payments are not helpful if:

  • you're worried about managing money or the people you employ
  • you spend a lot of time in hospital
  • you would rather the council arrange your care

If you're not confident about keeping records or managing the people who care for you, the council should be able to provide support.

You could also consider having someone else manage your direct payments, for example, a friend or family member. You'll need to set up a trust for payments that are managed by someone else.

The Money Advice Service has information about setting up a trust.

If you're struggling to manage your money

Ask the council for advice by calling 01752 668000, or call the Money Advice Service on 0800 138 7777.

If you want someone else to receive the direct payment

You do have the option to speak to the council and agree for the money to be sent to someone who will spend it for you. For example:

  • a carer
  • a friend or family member
  • someone else who speaks up for you (an advocate)

You may need to write down how they will spend the money and which decisions they can make for you. This is known as a decision-making agreement.


Employing your own carer or personal assistant

If you decide to hire a carer or employing a personal assistant yourself, it's important to know the responsibilities you'll have as an employer.

Although support from the council should be available, you may need to arrange:

  • background checks or references
  • tax
  • National Insurance
  • pension contributions

Read more about employing someone to work in your home on GOV.UK.

If you don't want to become an employer

You could choose to hire care workers through an agency instead. This removes the legal obligations of being an employer, but it could:

  • cost you more money
  • remove some of the benefits, such as having the same person provide your care

Read more about getting help from a paid carer or personal assistant.


Who can help me?

If you have any questions regarding payment for your care, please contact the Client Financial Services Team by emailing or the Direct Payments Team via

If you prefer to speak with someone, please call 01752 668000.

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