Social care services support children and families in the community through a wide range of social work, child protection, early years, fostering and adoption and other services. Older people, people with learning difficulties, those with mental ill health and disabled people are supported by social work, home. Social care services aim to safeguard and support people of all ages to make the most of their opportunities. People who use social care services, whatever their age, tell us they want to live independently, work, have friends, have a good education, be part of a family and to have choice and control in their lives. Many people use services because they are required to. Whatever the circumstances, people should be treated with dignity. In England, 1.7 million people use social care services delivered by 25,000 providers in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Around 1.6 million people work in social care, alongside an estimated five million unpaid carers. Social care accounted for £17.5 billion of public expenditure in 2004/05. As in other public services, the Government wishes to introduce more personalised care and to increase choice for those who use social care. This report examines the implications of the policy for social care services as they are delivered today.