Almost a fifth of all employees work in the public sector. Employees working in the civil service, NHS, local government, education, the police and fire services also represent a large and growing body of students taking degree courses at universities. Exploring this important and rapidly changing area, this book outlines the main developments in the public sector since 1979, including topical issues such as the rise of new public management, decentralisation and contracting out. Themes which currently affect public sector employees are examined, including: * decentralization * contracting out * fragmentation and the growth of individualism in the employment contract. This stimulating, up-to-date and intellectually rigorous text is thematic, rather than sector specific, and reflects the way this subject is taught in a range of courses. It will complement alternative texts in this area and will be a valuable resource for students of public policy, public sector management, human resource management, employee and industrial relations.