The Contract System of Employment for Senior Government Officials

Experiences from the Caribbean

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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 and directors in Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and St Lucia. 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.




Several Commonwealth countries have implemented different forms of the contract system of employment for permanent secretaries and other top government officials. This study looked at the experiences of four Caribbean countries, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and St Lucia, in implementing contract systems of employment and other contractual arrangements for senior public service officers, specifically permanent secretaries, at the turn of the century. Primary research was conducted using multiple methods including fieldwork and observation, survey, elite interviews, examination of public policy documents and review of secondary literature and qualitative methods of analysis. The findings show that policy changes, broadly based on the tenets of New Public Management (NPM), were made to the old public administration systems associated with the inherited Westminster–Whitehall model in these countries...


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