This chapter sets out the policy and research contexts for the study. It first summarises the individual budget pilot projects and locates these within the wider context of policy initiatives aimed at giving disabled and older people greater choice and control over their support arrangements. It then summarises the somewhat separate development of policies and practice aimed at identifying and meeting the needs of informal and family carers. The third section of the chapter briefly reviews research evidence, from the UK and elsewhere, on the impact on carers of policies intended to increase choice and control for disabled and older people. These three themes together provide the context and shape the aims of this study into the impact and outcomes of individual budgets on carers.