Two big questions in public management during the last fifteen years – the role of markets and performance in the public sector – have attracted the most controversy in an unprecedented era of public sector reform. Both have recent origins in new public management (NPM), although their lineage is much longer, and reflects private sector ideas. Both are interlinked for some purposes as in many inter-agency relationships – but long-term trends now appear to support the ascendancy of performance ideas as a dominant force in public management.