This article focuses on the development and current situation of services for people with learning disabilities in England. Deinstitutionalisation started in the 1960s, when a series of scandals in hospitals were brought to public attention. In response, the 1971 government White Paper Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped was published, and the first community-based services were introduced. Further policy papers attempted to modernise social services in the following period. The 2001 White paper Valuing People is the most recent policy framework specific to people with intellectual disabilities. It identifies rights, independence, choice and inclusion as the four leading principles for services and support, and will be of primary importance for future development. However, at present implementation is in the very early stages. Not least, the intense implementation of market mechanisms by the Thatcher Government in the 1980s and 1990s has led to a situation that is hard to grasp, the organisation of care and support varying from authority to authority.