There has been much speculation about the introduction of the contract culture in the public services and its consequences for those involved (including service users). This book, which is based on original research, sets out to examine the impact of contracts in three areas of the publicservice: health, social services, and other government activities. These findings are set in the context of policy development for the public sector as a whole. Detailed case studies in selected areas reveal the varying different patterns that have emerged. A study of the attitudes of those involved illuminates the different perspectives of participants. In theconcluding chapters the authors review the policy implications of the study and identify likely future developments.