- Around 14 per cent of the population are thought to have significant disabilities; there is a rising aging population in the UK suggesting that this percentage will continue to increase over the next 20 years, and changes in demographics and the rise of female employment suggest that current levels of informal care will be difficult to maintain. These combined factors point to the need for an urgent review of policy to address the issues of dependence in the 21st century. For policy makers and service providers, the King's Fund recommends the establishment of the Forum for Autonomy, Choice and Innovation to establish new partnerships and approaches and to develop better methods of gathering and analysing the evidence they need to use their resources to best effect. The Forum's three initial programmes will gather evidence on: consumer dependence (its nature, scale and patterns), responses to dependence (the availability and effectiveness of equipment, products, services and policies for restoring autonomy) and human and economic effects of dependence (the penalties for the stakeholders when consumers remain dependent instead of regaining their autonomy). The establishment of the Forum, underpinned by an I.T. system that would network the stakeholders and gather information to provide a cumulative evidence-base, would benefit all aspects of service provision.