<p>By separating purchasing from the traditional provider role, the new community care policy has brought about a fundamental change in the planning role of health and local authorities. The policy implies changed assumptions about what constitutes need and requires an improved understanding of local needs. The policy has not only placed a duty on local authorities to assess the needs of the population in support of their Community Care Plans, but has also brought about several changes which have by their nature encouraged many local authorities to undertake a more detailed needs assessment. <p><p><p>The PSSRU, in conjunction with Surrey Social Service Department, has been developing a needs based planning model<p><p>which will assist in the equitable and efficient deployment of community care resources for elderly and physically disabled people. The model is customised to reflect local priorities and assumptions. The model synthesises local client needs assessment data with national data to provide a method of predicting numbers of the population in these target groups which can then be translated into potential resource requirements. <p><p><p>This paper provides a background to the development of the project by discussing the place of needs based planning in<p><p>population needs assessment and local authority strategic planning. The final section discusses the progress and<p><p>development of the methodology in Surrey
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