Personal Budget: this is the general term for funding required to meet the person’s needs. A personal budget can either be managed on the person’s behalf by the Council, paid to the individual (or their representative) as a Direct Payment, or paid to a named service provider as an Individual Service Fund for that provider to manage on the person’s behalf.
Direct Payment: the monetary sum identified in the Personal Budget, which is paid directly into the bank account of the person for them to use to arrange care and support to meet their eligible needs. Alternatively, the funds can be accessed through a pre-payment card (similar to a credit card). Direct Payments require the person to account for spend by reference to the person’s care plan.
Individual Service Fund: the monetary sum identified in the Personal Budget, which is paid to the person’s nominated service provider. The provider uses the ISF as directed by the person, both to pay itself for services it provides to the person and to arrange for other care and support by other providers.
Individual Payments’: not a technical term (i.e. not in any statute or statutory guidance) but is often used to describe either a Personal Budget or a Direct Payment.
Most importantly, no-one will (or can) be forced to take a Direct Payment or an Individual Service Fund. That is a matter of personal choice. Everyone, however, will have a personal budget. Where any individual chooses not to have that as a Direct Payment or Individual Service Fund, it will be managed on their behalf by the Council or an agent of the Council. The individual may exercise as much or as little control as s/he wishes of their personal budgets. For those who do not want to be involved at all, the process will be invisible (apart from an initial letter informing them what their personal budget amount is) and they will simply receive the agreed services.