Setting an Indicative Budget
This procedure will explain what an indicative budget is, how to set one and what to do if the budget that is set is not sufficient to meet the person's/carer's eligible needs.
Note: This procedure is used by all social work teams.
An indicative budget is a figurative amount calculated immediately following the assessment. It estimates the amount of money it may take to meet eligible needs and is based on information gathered during any assessment process.
The indicative budget is not the same as the personal budget, which is a final budget agreed following any Care and Support/Support planning process.
An indicative budget is important because it supports the person/carer (and anyone supporting them with Care and Support/Support planning) to:
- Understand the amount of financial resource that may be available to them (and also what is not available);
- Explore options to meet needs that are within the available financial resource.
Knowing how much financial resource is available manages expectations and reduces the risk of dissatisfaction when the final personal budget is agreed.
An indicative budget should be set:
- After eligible needs have been established and agreed; but
- Before any Care and Support/Support planning process begins.
You should never begin the Care and Support/Support planning process without knowing the indicative budget.
Indicative budgets should be set in line with local processes and requirements.
The process of setting an indicative budget should be timely, transparent and ensure a sufficient amount to meet the identified eligible needs.
See: The Personal Budget to read what the Care Act says about setting indicative and personal budgets, including more about what is meant by the terms timely, transparent and sufficient.
It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with and use any available local processes and guidance for setting an indicative personal budget.
The indicative budget must be shared with the following people as soon as it is known and before any Care and Support planning process begins:
- The person/carer whose needs are to be met;
- Any advocate involved; and
- Anyone else involved in the Care and Support/Support planning process.
You should also make available any information to explain how the indicative budget amount was reached.
If it is available the outcome of any financial assessment process being carried out should also be provided at this stage. Understanding the implications for their personal finances can influence the options that a person/carer chooses to explore during Care and Support/Support planning.
The indicative budget is only an estimation of the amount it may cost to meet eligible needs and the final personal budget that is agreed after Care and Support/Support planning may be slightly higher or lower than this amount.
However, despite being estimated, the indicative budget should still be sufficient to support effective Care and Support/Support planning and meet the eligible needs that have been identified.
If you are of the view that the indicative budget is not sufficient to support effective Care and Support/Support planning you should:
- Review the formal record of needs to ensure that you have not made any recording errors; and
- Review the process that you followed to set the indicative budget to ensure that you followed all the required steps.
If you continue to have concerns about the sufficiency of the indicative budget you should speak to your line manager to agree further action required and next steps.
Any process for reviewing an indicative budget should also be timely and transparent.
Sometimes a person/carer (or their representative) may feel that the indicative personal budget they have been given is not sufficient to meet their needs. If you are in agreement with this you should follow the steps outlined above.
However, if you feel that the budget is sufficient to commence Care and Support/Support planning you should:
- Explain that the indicative budget is an estimation based upon the eligible needs agreed during the assessment process;
- Provide information about the process used to set indicative budgets;
- Encourage them to proceed with the Care and Support/Support planning process and explore the full range of options to meet needs that are available (which will include alternatives to Local Authority provision); and
- Assure them that where there is evidence that the indicative budget is not sufficient (following Care and Support/Support Planning) this will be reflected in any final personal budget that is agreed.
Despite reassurances the person/carer may continue to be dissatisfied with the indicative personal budget amount and in this case you must make them aware of their right to complain.
Last Updated: April 6, 2022