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Secondment is the temporary transfer or temporary “loan” of an employee to other duties, responsibilities or projects with an agreed end date. When the agreed secondment period comes to an end the employee will resume their substantive post within their original employing department or agree a further period of secondment.

Every effort will be made to grant a request however there may be occasions where despite satisfying the criteria, an employee cannot be granted a secondment. In circumstances where a secondment cannot be supported, the line manager should discuss with you other opportunities which are available to achieve personal and professional development objectives. Line managers should refer to other relevant policies, such as, the Corporate Learning and Development Policy.

It is essential that all parties are clear about their obligations, expectations and accountabilities before the secondment commences.


There are many benefits arising from secondment opportunities, these include:

  • enabling transfer of employees to areas requiring short-term or temporary resource;
  • directing expertise where it is most needed;
  • supporting “joined up” working and service improvement through cross Authority or partnership work experience of the seconded employees;
  • supporting employee development and flexibility of employment;
  • strengthening a culture of flexibility;
  • developing and sharing skills and knowledge within and across our organisation.

Secondments may be full time or part time and can take place on a job share basis. Please refer to the Authority’s Job Share Policy for further details.

  • Internal secondments: Sideways moves -this relates to a secondment from an established post to a post on the same grade in the same or a different directorate; 
  • Internal Secondments: Promotions – this relates to a secondment to a higher grade and/or offering an opportunity to develop at a higher level;
  • External/outgoing secondments: to partner organisations - where the Authority will remain the employer and therefore the secondee will continue to be subject to the Authority’s policies and procedures;
  • External/Incoming secondments: from partner organisations - where the Authority is the host not the employer.

Employees are required to have completed one year’s satisfactory service. A permanent employee who makes an application for a fixed term or temporary post internally will automatically be considered on a secondment basis.

A secondment by its nature is temporary, and is recommended for at least 6 months and should not in normal circumstances exceed 18 months duration.

Managers may consider extending the period of secondment provided that there are operational reasons for doing so and to ensure that the organisation continues to best use the skills and experience available to it. Managers should also consider whether it is more appropriate for the post to become a permanent position rather than an extension to the secondment.

If it is agreed that an extension of the secondment is more appropriate this should be agreed between all parties and the secondment agreement updated to reflect the new end date. The manager of the Secondee in the host department must discuss the proposed extension of secondment with the manager of the original parent department and seek advice from a HR Advisor on the contractual implications of agreeing an extension to a secondment, prior to confirming an extension of the secondment with you.

If there is a business case for the post that the secondee occupies to be appointed to on a permanent basis the appointment should normally be managed through the Authority’s Recruitment and Selection procedure, ensuring the post is advertised, applicants shortlisted and interviewed if they meet the criteria for the post.

If you apply and are successfully appointed to the post, you will be required to give notice to your substantive post as detailed in the terms and conditions of employment. If you are not successful then the host Department is required to give notice to you to return to your substantive post within the Authority.

There may however be exceptional instances when a post which has been advertised as a secondment opportunity may for operational reasons need to become a permanent position. In such circumstances the Authority reserves the right, having regard to the necessary skills and experience for the role, to appoint the seconded employee to the post without a further recruitment process being undertaken and following agreement with the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management and Performance) or nominated HR Advisor.

You should discuss and seek permission to apply for a secondment at the earliest opportunity from your line manager before applying for the post. Approval will be required from your line manager to ensure you can be released from your current post on a secondment basis.

Where your line manager turns down a secondment application, you can request a review of the decision. This must be undertaken at the earliest opportunity following the decision by your line manager. You should make a written request to review the decision to the appropriate Head of Service and set out the grounds for the review within 7 calendar days upon receipt of the written notice of the decision. The Head of Service will carry out a review of the decision within 14 calendar days of receipt of your request to review. The decision of the Head of Service will be final, and you will be notified in writing within 7 calendar days of the completion of the review.

When a secondment has been agreed your line manager will meet with the line manager from the host department/organisation to discuss the management arrangements, e.g. when you can be released from your post to commence the secondment, day to day supervision, appraisal etc. A recommended time period of up to 4 weeks is given for your release.

You should have a personal development plan agreed at the outset by the parent and host department used to support your development in line with the business needs of the parent and host department. This will be in line with the Authority’s Helping People to Perform Appraisal process.

If you are a fixed term or temporary employee and are successful in obtaining a secondment opportunity and the fixed-term or temporary contract is due to expire before the end of the secondment, the following applies:

  • The line manager from the parent department is responsible for arranging to meet with you in advance of the required contractual notice to explain the reasons and commence the process for ending the temporary/fixed term contract;
  • The same manager is responsible for discussing your contract status with the line manager in the host department and is responsible for transferring you into the seconded post for a fixed term period until the end of the agreed secondment period.

Financial considerations should be discussed by your current line manager and the line manager of the host department/organisation in advance as part of the approval process and agreed before the secondment begins, i.e. who is going to fund the salary, on-costs and replacement cover whilst you are on secondment?  

There are a number of options depending on the type of secondment, the potential benefits to you, the parent/host department and/or the Authority.

Host department funds: In this case the host department/organisation is the greatest beneficiary from the secondment and is therefore responsible for paying your salary and on-costs. This may occur where there is no likely business benefit to be gained by the department releasing you to the host department/organisation.

Parent and host department part fund: The parent department will pay an agreed portion of your salary and on-costs. This is likely to be the case where the secondment will benefit both the parent department and the host department/organisation.

Parent department funds: The parent department will continue to pay your salary and on-costs. This is likely to occur in cases where the secondment will be of substantial benefit to you and the Authority.

Additional financial considerations: If you are seconded into a post evaluated at a higher grade you will receive the appropriate salary for the duration of the secondment. Additional expenses incurred to meet the requirements of the role, e.g. travel allowances, subsistence etc, will be borne by the host department/organisation.

Managers are advised to seek advice from the appropriate Group Accountant.

The day to day line management responsibility is held with the line manager in the host department/employer. Where you are seconded to an external organisation, your overall management remains the responsibility of the Authority.

If issues of discipline, capability, sickness absence, behavioural standards or grievance occur during the secondment period it is the line manager from the parent department’s responsibility to instigate the appropriate Authority procedure. The host department/organisation must ensure that issues of concern are discussed with you and your parent department at the earliest opportunity.

It is important that the line managers from the parent and host department meet with you on a regular basis to review the secondment during the secondment period. This will enable clear communication, the agreement of objectives during the secondment, the support to be offered to you and to ensure any concerns can be addressed at the earliest opportunity so parties benefit from the secondment experience.

If a restructure or redundancy situation arises that impact on your substantive post, it is the line manager from the parent department’s responsibility to ensure you are communicated and consulted on the implications in line with the Authority’s Restructuring or Redundancy Policy, as appropriate.

It is the responsibility of the line manager from the parent department to plan for the reorientation of the secondee when s/he returns to their substantive post. It is recommended that a Helping People to Perform appraisal meeting is arranged to evaluate the learning experience gained during the secondment and explore how new any new skills and experience can be best utilised in his/her substantive role.

Line managers should consider the following:

  • Ensure an appropriate re-induction is carried out to cover any changes in policies and procedures;
  • Review the employees role profile to ensure it accurately reflects the requirements on return from secondment, e.g. changes in working practices;
  • Explain changes to individual and team work priorities and projects;
  • Ensure the appropriate transfer forms are completed so the appropriate salary is paid to the employee on return to the parent department.
  • Once the secondment has been agreed People Management HR Support team will issue you with a variation to contract.
  • Annual leave will be authorised by the host department/organisation but will be subject to annual leave entitlement laid down in your terms and conditions of employment.
  • At the end of the secondment you have a right to return to your substantive post.
  • Hours of work will be as stated in your contract of employment.
  • You are expected to work within the host department/organisations health and safety policies, procedures and guidance.
  • You will be paid through the Authority payroll and pension contributions deducted, as appropriate.
  • The employment policies of the Authority continue to apply to you when on secondment with an external organisation, including the Sickness Absence Policy, Disciplinary Policy, Behavioural Standards guidance and Grievance Policy.
  • Continuous service will continue to accrue during the secondment period.
  • You, the parent department and/or host department/organisation can terminate the secondment. A notice period of 4 weeks is to be given to all parties in writing.
  • Any breaches of terms and conditions of the secondment policy may invoke disciplinary procedures or may lead to termination of the secondment.
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Page updated: 30/09/2020 15:14:29