Many of the difficulties of implementing the new community care policy arise from the fact that local authorities are being asked to make substantial changes on a large number of fronts. However, studies to date have tended to concentrate on only single areas of change. This article aims to provide a wide-ranging discussion of the new policy and its implementation, drawing on empirical research for illustration.
The article suggests first that it is important to situate the difficulties local authorities are experiencing in implementing the changes in the context of the unresolved tensions contained within the objectives of the reforms. The problems these issues raise for implementation are then examined in relation to two main areas: care management and assessment, and enabling, drawing on a two-year monitoring project (from mid-1992 to mid-1994) in one shire county, one inner London borough and three outer London boroughs. The article concludes by speculating on what the changes will mean for the future of social service provision.