The research presented here began with an apparently simple question: would it be feasible to establish 'benchmarks' measuring the adequacy of community support services, and if so would devices of this kind be desirable? The experience of other countries was expected to provide practical information about how national standards have been set elsewhere and the way such standards have contributed to the planning process. In the event the question was not so simple, and the consideration of benchmarks led the researchers into examining fundamental issues in community service provision. Conceptual issues are the subject of Chapter Two, in a discussion of the complex relations between needs, resources and planning. Chapter Three examines the Home and Community Care program and the particular issues of service planning and monitoring it has raised. A review of overseas experience soon led the researchers to question the efficacy of centrally determined measures of adequacy and equity in service development. Chapter Four provides a systematic review of the planning modes in operation elsewhere. The authors conclude with a discussion of alternative strategies for the development of planning of community support services.