The Contract System of Employment for Senior Government Officials

Experiences from the Pacific

image of The Contract System of Employment for Senior Government Officials

This publication reviews the effects of the reforms implemented under the ‘new public management’ programme on the roles and conditions of service of permanent secretaries in the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. These countries introduced the contract system of employment, and their experiences highlight the importance of acknowledging context in considering the implications of the contract system, and the challenges of implementation.




Any new practice or system introduced into the public service is being implemented because it adds value to effective and efficient public service delivery. The decision by many island countries to use the contract system in employing permanent secretaries emanates from good intentions – the principal objective to change the culture of public service to a performance driven work place managed by ethical and professional people. However, given the complexities surrounding contract employment, some tend to believe the initiative has been instituted too early without thorough analysis of possible contingencies to ensure the process is fair and so that the appointee(s) are managed in a fair and professional manner.


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