Introduction: community, policy and ideology
Community care in social policy is dual-edged, not least because of its ambivalence as a concept. Approaches towards it have changed historically, according to their ideological underpinnings, that is, the predom inating social values and institutional frameworks of the time. Currently, the issue of community care is high on the social and political agenda of UK and other governments. Indeed, with the ceding of certain public sector activities such as community care provision to the private and independent sectors it has become effectively a means for running down the welfare state. Govern m ent community care legislation has refashioned the contours of health and social care provision since the 1980s. Hence, the resultant changes dem and close analysis not simply in the legalistic sense, but in order to assess the impacts upon a range of social groups.