Contract appointments and performance in the public service of Uganda
Okuku, Augustine Maloba
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In 1998 and 2000 all Permanent Secretaries and officers of the IGG respectively were appointed on contract terms. Since then, many reports Administrative Reform Secretariat reports have reported improvements in the general performance of the public service. However, what was not known was whether the reported improved performance of these public servants has been as a result of their contract appointments. The research therefore aimed at studying contract appointments for public servants, examining the challenges and suggesting strategies for improved performance. The study was based on a total sample of 71 respondents - 51 systematically selected while the 12 key informants and the 8 members of the focus group discussions purposively selected who generated both primary and secondary data. Primary data was obtained using semi-structured self-administered questionnaires and interview guides while secondary data was obtained through documentary review of the Ministry of Public Service and performance related literature obtained from Makerere University and Uganda Management libraries and on the internet. Analysis of the data, which was largely qualitative, revealed that contract appointments do not lead to performance improvement to the contrary they are demotivators which should be abolished. Remuneration is the most important motivating factor for improved performance in addition to job security. Having contract appointments alongside permanent and pensionable terms for PS' coupled with patchwork methods of Public service reforms implementation was bad public policy management. Other motivational factors which lead to improved performance includes job security, improved funding, clear schedules of duty, staff training and provision of appropriate tools and equipment, good leadership, guidance and supervision. The lack of these motivational factors was named as challenges to improved performance. The implication of the findings is that unless motivation/pay reform issues are addressed, the issue of improved performance shall remain like chasing the proverbial goose. The study therefore recommends speedy implementation of the Pay Reform and Results Oriented Management components of the Public Service Reform Programme and abolition of contract appointments.