Personalised Budgets – an update from the HSE on the demonstration projects

The HSE is looking for up to 180 adults with a disability to participate in the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects over the coming two years, DSI heard at a conference around the pilot scheme this week.

Aisling Hunt, Personalised Budgets Project Manager, appeared at a conference hosted by the Disability Federation of Ireland and outlined the full scope of the upcoming demonstration projects.

The HSE is looking for participants who access day services, residential services, respite services, rehabilitative training and personal assistance across the country.

How is the HSE going to test the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects:

The HSE is looking to test three difference models;

  • a person managed fund
  • a co-managed fund with a service provider and
  • a broker managed fund.


The Project will run in two phases.  Phase 1 will open for expressions of interest in late August and will commence from October 2019. Phase 2 will commence from April 2020. The HSE is seeking 90 participants in both phases.


Who can apply to participate in Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects:

As we previously outlined to our members here, only adults with a disability that are currently in receipt of HSE-funded disability services, either directly provided by the HSE or through ​disability service providers can apply.

Young people leaving school in 2019 and 2020 that have a commitment to a funded day service can also apply.

Who cannot participate at this time?

  • Children with a disability
  • Older Persons Services
  • Individuals not in receipt of HSE disability funded services, either directly provided by the HSE or through the non-statutory sector
  • Adults currently in receipt of HSE funded services where the associated funding cannot be unbundled


How long is the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects going to run for?

The project will run for two years. It is anticipated that each successful applicant will participate in the demonstration projects for at least 12 months.


What can participants spend their money on:

  • Participants can only spend their direct payment on specific personal supports funded by the HSE. These supports will be agreed and identified in each participants’ Personal Support Plan.
  • Participants cannot use the direct payment to pay for informal care from a spouse, partner or close relative.
  • Participants cannot use their direct payment to pay for therapeutic services which are available from the HSE in the community.
  • Participants cannot use their direct payment to pay for supports that would normally be provided by another Government Department or Statutory Agency e.g. transport.
  • Participants will be asked to keep records on what they spend their personalised budget on and how it matches what was agreed in their personal support plan.


Some DSI concerns:

While there are some good elements to the demonstration projects, we remain extremely disappointed that the pilot is restricted to people that are currently in receipt of HSE-funded disability services, either directly provided by the HSE or through ​disability service providers.

At the conference, it was revealed that no additional funding has been allocated to the pilot scheme.  Even if the HSE’s own assessment tool that will be utilised as part of the demonstration project finds that a person requires additional funding to meet their current needs, no further funding will be allocated to the person. The pilot scheme has to operate within existing resources.  In no other sector, would a pilot project get underway without the allocation of additional funding. ​It is difficult to see how the pilot can be properly evaluated if participants do not receive the allocation of funding identified by assessment and instead are allocated a reduced amount based on existing budgets.

We also remain concerned that a small number of people are testing a large variation of models, most of which have been tested within Ireland or overseas.

While the HSE seem well intentioned, we fear that the new demonstration projects could be another way for the Government to kick the can down the road in terms of implementing Personalised Budgets. The two years of pilot projects, potentially followed by years of evaluations could mean we are looking at some years before all of the people who would like to take charge of their own lives and live as independently as possible are given a legitimate opportunity to do so.

That being the case, the demonstration projects will get underway in the coming months and we hope that some of our members around the country would like to participate. 


If you would like to be considered?

If any of our members would like to be considered to participate in the Project, please contact the Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects Office and additional information regarding participation will be forwarded to you.

The closing date for expressions of interest for Phase 1 is October 16th 2019. No applications for Phase 1 will be considered after this date. Phase 2 will commence in April 2020.


Postal Address

Personalised Budgets Demonstration Projects Office

Community Strategy and Planning

Health Service Executive

Block D, Parkgate Business Centre

Parkgate Street

Dublin D08 YFF1


Via email to –


Via telephone – 01 6352885

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