challenge the managerial form in which they are currently embedded. But the political tensions within the modernization agenda are partially masked by the legacy of NPM and the organizational and management theories on which it draws. The discourses and practices of NPM apparently neutralize and displace the conflicts between different agendas (social, political, economic) and between the requirements of different stakeholders (government, citizens, users, 'communities'). A modern public service, then, is likely to be one in which a series of conflicts must be managed, contradictory imperatives balanced, and new and old agendas reconciled. Whether the models offered by the tools and technologies of NPM can enable public service organizations to fulfil these roles is another question.