I was recently awarded a TH Marshall Fellowship at the London School of Economics and spent four months in Berlin, supported by the Volkswagen Foundation. Hosted by the Katholische Hochschule für Sozialwesen Berlin, a higher education institute for applied social science, I spent half of each week in the local office of a Berlin-wide project providing case management for older people (www.koordinierungsstellen-rundumsalter. de), researching case management within the context of the structures and processes of the German care system. This task led me to look for points of similarity and difference with the British system of community care that has shaped my professional life since the implementation of the NHS (National Health Service) and Community Care Act 1990. Since devolution, the community care policy in the UK differs between England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, particularly in relation to the provision of free long-term care.