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Contract Employment. The Commonwealth Ministers Forum on Public Sector Development, Barbados 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Contract Employment. The Commonwealth Ministers Forum on Public Sector Development, Barbados 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Contract Employment

2 The Commonwealth Ministers Forum on Public Sector Development, Barbados 2008.

3 Studies were carried out in: African region-Botswana, Ghana,Uganda and Zambia. Caribbean region –Belize, Jamaica, Guyana and St.Lucia. The Pacific – Cook Island, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

4 With the introduction of the New Public Management(NPM), traditional practice of long term employment within the Public Service had been replaced by contract of employment. NPM practice into the Public Service was pioneered by New Zealand and Australia.

5 A process for co-ordinating Departmental contributions to those objectives and making related resourcing decision (Strategic dialogue) A set of critical medium term commitments (Key Result Areas-KRAs) which anchored Departments strategic contribution to the policy objectives, through incorporation in the Chief Executives performance agreement. A selective set of generalised cross-portfolio policy objectives set by Cabinet (Strategic Results Areas-SRAs) 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat5

6 A requirement that Chief Executives regularly reported on progress being made on those commitments to their Ministers and to the State Services Commissions; and An expectation that Chief Executives would take responsibility for making and taking care of the connections between their commitment and those of other Chief executives,while also ensuring that their own commitments flowed down through their Departments managerial chain. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat6

7 To explore the success and failure of the contract system in improving performance To contribute to a Commonwealth-wide understanding of the effectiveness of Senior Executive Service contract system on improving public service delivery in the regions. To determine the strategic direction of Commonwealth interventions in strengthening the Public Sector and improving service Delivery. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat7

8 1.Management approaches used by the public officials operating under the contract system 2.Return on high investments made by the Governments in implementing the system 3.Performance Measure and reward under the system 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat8

9 4.Potential of leadership of senior public servants under contract 5.Whether this system impinges on independence and influence of the public servant 6.Nature of mediation relationships and 7.Lessons learnt under this contract system. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat9

10 Samoa introduced contract system in November 1990. Followed by Cook Island, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu in the mid-late 1990s Tonga in 2004. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat10

11 Samoa and Cooke Island had devolved these functions. The finance and HR required for the discharge of Ministries responsibilities are delegated with limited authorities in other countries. Conclusion: the Permanent Secretaries and CEOs are prevented from being effective and efficient managers because essential resources.i.e. Finance and HR are managed centrally. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat11

12 Delay in the Process of recruitment and selection, and reappointments. Multitude of players responsible for specific stages of the process. Administrative functions were handled by the Public Service Commission in all the countries. The Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet were also involved. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat12

13 Cooke Island: PS Commissioner in consultation with the responsible Minister. Final decision required Cabinet sanctioning. Papua New Guinea: Department of Personnel Management(a separate agency from the PSC), the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council share the responsibility of advertising when a Permanent secretaries vacancy arises. Under previous arrangement of long tenure employment, the only active player concerning the Permanent Secretaries appointments was the Public Service Commission. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat13

14 The absence of any linkages between the annual approved budget and deliverables agreed to in the performance agreement between the Ministers and CEOs The absence of corresponding performance assessment framework to enable the process and A lack of commitment by the Ministers and Chairpersons of PSC to conduct the assessment in most cases. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat14

15 Exceptions: Samoa: Linkage ensured since the introduction of the output based budget. Most of the comments received indicated that CEOs have been terminated based on the assessment made by the political heads and most of the CEOs tend to be too preoccupied with nurturing their relationships with their Ministers rather than managing their Ministries. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat15

16 Contract employment provided opportunities to demonstrate leadership qualities. Though women have shown more commitment and proved to be good strategic thinkers and planners, few women are holding CEO positions largely due to cultural values. Low number of women have completed tertiary education as compared to men in these countries which has been one contributory factor for having less women. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat16

17 It is a misconception that the contractual employment has eroded the independence of the Public Service and influence of CEOs on managing and leading their Ministries. However, there are many instances where the CEOs have compromised their independence to satisfy the Ministers for their own selfish interest. Most of the appointments to contract positions are based on who the Ministers are comfortable with. The negative aspect of this s the failure to ensure CEOs are advisers at arms length to elected officials so as to ensure their integrity and neutrality. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat17

18 Conflict mediation and resolution have by far been the most controversial and sensitive component with disgruntled employees pursuing actively their grievances in courts of law. In all the above cases, the contract person questioned: - the management of the process - validity of the contract in relation to the legislation or -disputed the involvement of Ministers in the decisions which were being challenged. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat18

19 What we can conclude is that, the termination clause in employment contract are not clearly spelt out thereby allowing both parties to re-negotiate settlement out of court when once faced with issues of conflict or dispute. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat19

20 This system has to a certain degree allowed Public Service to attract, sustain and retain the scarce pool of skilled professionals in the islands and contributed to Public Services overall growth and development. Recent developments have provided island countries with the opportunity to reassess its contract arrangements; contract agreement in relation to annual plans and budget, performance assessment procedures, conflict resolution processes and the responsibilities of those involved. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat20

21 Performance of Permanent Secretaries/ CEOs/ DGs/ HoMs is difficult to measure because resources required to enable the efficient management of their Ministries/Departments are still being controlled centrally by the PSC and Treasury or the Ministry of Finance. A robust and committed effort to encourage performance assessment cannot be realised because key players are not familiar with the system. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat21

22 Having too many players involved in the process resulting in inefficiency and ineffective management of contracts. i.e., Cabinet, Ministers, PSC,DPM(PNG) and Secretary to Prime Minister and Cabinet, thereby creating delays and confusion regarding demarcation of roles. The issue of accountability is clouded(who do CEOs report to, Head of States, PM, Cabinet, Minister responsible, Chairman of PSC, Financial Secretary etc) Difficulty in performing agreed tasks in the contract when the approved budget does not provide the necessary resources. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat22

23 Absence of real commitment and robustness in monitoring and evaluation of annual performance. No distinct linkage between contract deliverables and the Corporate Plan, Annual Plan and the Budget. Conflict resolution and disciplinary procedures for substandard and under performance- not managed effectively because of socio-cultural values and reasons Constant reshuffling of Permanent Secretaries(PNG and Vanuatu) by Cabinet despite their satisfactory performance. All vacant positions not being advertised openly 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat23

24 Belize and Guyana adopted it. In Jamaica, 4 out of 14 P.Secs were placed on contracts. St.Lucia – withdrew from this system at the end of 2006 with change of administration after the national elections. The contracts given to the P.Secs are not performance contracts. No formal evaluations conducted on performance. Only jamaica had a semi-formal evaluation system.

25 All four countries had instituted contracts of employment and contract like arrangements in the form of performance agreements. To benefit from performance improvements associated with these arrangements, countries must back up their performance agreements with performance management and performance measurement instruments which could be evaluated at regular intervals.

26 The majority of the interviewed personnel felt that contract of employment was a good system to change the culture of Public Service to a performance driven work place managed by ethical and professional people. However, given the complexities surrounding the system, they tend to believe that the initiative has been introduced without a thorough analysis of possible contingency to ensure the process is fair and so that the appointees are managed in a fair and professional manner. 04/06/2014Commonwealth Secretariat26


28 Where are we located? Marlborough House, Pall Mall London SW1Y 5HX, United Kingdom Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 6385/86 Fax: +44 (0)20 7839 9081 E-mail: Website:

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