THE Government is hoping to reach some sort of definition of a ''local'' officer by 1995 so it can be decided whether expatriate contract officers will meet the future appointment requirements. Government sources said yesterday that the Government would have formal consultations with China on the definition of ''local'' and the future terms of appointment and service conditions as outlined in the civil service consultative document announced onMonday. Legislators from all sides said yesterday they supported the Government's plan to search for a common set of terms for local and overseas civil servants. But they worried whether the proposed special contract offers would spark another round of debate between locals and expatriates. In the consultative document, the Government proposed a more attractive set of contract terms for overseas candidates whose special expertise was not locally available. To date, the Government had only informally mentioned the consultative exercise to China. The subject is expected to be formally discussed in the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group (JLG). A source said the Government hoped to reach a consensus with China on the subject as soon as possible, although no deadline was set. As it takes time to work out a definition, the Government intends to grant expatriate contract officers an extra contract of about 21/2 years running from early 1994 as an interim measure. The source said it was the Government's intention that about one year before the new contracts were due to expire, the officers concerned should be able to tell whether they would meet the new requirements for appointment. ''To deal with that situation, we would hope to be able to reach some sort of definition of 'local' and sort out the long-term arrangements by 1995,'' said the source. Notwithstanding the strained relationship between China and Britain in the light of the row over Hong Kong's 1994/95 electoral arrangements, the source said he believed China would not be obstructive. There are about 4,000 contract officers in the 190,000-strong civil service - a third of them are retired and re-employed staff, a third are on local terms and the remainder are on expatriate terms. The source reiterated that the Government hoped legislators would not press ahead with the Private Member's Bill which seeks to block the Government's policy of allowing expatriate contract staff to switch to local terms. The policy has been vehemently attacked by local civil servants and legislators as a setback to localisation. To date, the Government has received 95 applications from expatriates for switching to local terms with one withdrawal and four cases rejected. The other applications are still outstanding.