1. What is a Secondment? 2
Tracking Secondments 5
Definition 2
Contact with Substantive Service 5
Identifying a Secondment
Opportunity 2
5. Returning from Secondment 6
6. Changing the Duration of a
Secondment 6
Terms of Employment 2
2. Application for Secondment 2
7. Secondments Outwith Fife
Council 6
Temporary Posts 3
Exchange of Employees Scheme 3
Terms and Conditions of
Employment 6
3. Before Secondment 3
Responsibility for Salary 7
Reaching Agreement 3
Pension 7
Payment for Secondment 4
Responsibilities for Health and Safety
Written Confirmation 4
8. Manager Checklist for
Considering a Secondment
Request 8
Induction and Training 4
Backfilling of the Substantive Post 5
9. Quick Reference Guide –
Managing Secondments 10
4. During Secondment 5
Supervision or Contribution
Management 5
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
What is a Secondment?
A secondment is where an employee temporarily transfers to another job for a
defined period of time for a specific purpose, to the mutual benefit of all parties. A
secondment job can be full-time, part-time or job share.
Given the need for induction and training, it is unlikely a secondment of less than
four months would be effective. Instead managers should consider offering acting up
duties. For more information see advice on additional payments when undertaking
higher duties from FISH.
Identifying a Secondment Opportunity
If a single suitable employee with the right skills has been identified for a defined
project or piece of work, the secondment may be agreed. There will be no need to
advertise. If a more than one employee is suitable, managers may wish to use a
selection process.
Alternatively, employees can request to undertake a secondment as part of their
development for Contribution Management. Approval will be subject to the needs of
the Service.
Terms of Employment
Pay will usually be at the grade of the secondment post. A Service may agree to pay
the difference in salary where this is lower than the employee’s current grade.
If the secondment is for two years or less the employee will normally return to his
or her substantive post. If the secondment is for more than two years but less than
four years the employee will return to the same type of work but this may be
within a different section. The employee will usually return at the substantive pay
level including appropriate increments.
When a secondee cannot return to their substantive post, the substantive manager
will explain the reasons why this is not possible (Managing Change, Service provision
etc.) In these circumstances, managers should first consult HR Direct to ensure that
all alternatives have been considered.
Note: if a Teacher undertakes a secondment for more than 2 years, he or she is
entitled to preservation of that salary and conditions even if he or she returns to his
or her substantive (lower) post.
Employees’ continuity of service will not be affected as long as the secondment is
internal and Fife Council remains the (contractual) employing organisation.
Application for Secondment
If a manager has identified an employee with the suitable skill-set, the secondment
should be discussed in detail with the employee. Ideally, the employee should be
given reasonable time to consider the opportunity before deciding whether to
accept it.
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
An employee requesting a secondment must obtain approval from his or her
manager before applying. The manager will discuss with the employee whether it is
possible for him or her to be released.
Requests will not be unreasonably refused. If a request is refused the employee
should be told the reason for refusal. Alternative development opportunities may be
suggested. If an employee believes the reasons for refusal are unreasonable he or
she can discuss this with the manager’s manager.
Temporary Posts
A temporary post can be considered as a secondment opportunity if it meets one or
both of the necessary criteria i.e. meeting an organisational or development need.
An employee should request to be released from his or her substantive post in
order to apply for the temporary vacancy. If permission is not given but the
employee decides to take the job this is not a secondment. The employee must
resign and will then be treated as a temporary employee. This may result in the
employee being fairly dismissed from employment with the Council at the end of the
temporary contract.
Depending on the reason for the temporary contract the employee may be entitled
to redundancy pay. Redundancy pay will be based on the employee’s original start
date with the Council. The Service employing the person will incur all of the costs.
For more information see TE11 Temporary Employment Guidelines and current
legislation, for example, the Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable
Treatment) Regulations 2002.
Exchange of Employees Scheme
This scheme allows for employees to temporarily second to another organisation
(within the UK or abroad). Secondment should be to a similar Section or Service
whenever possible. The secondment would be for a defined period of time and up to
three months in total.
Employees have the option to swap jobs with a European colleague or take a work
placement on a shadowing basis with no exchange taking place. Once the employee
has identified a suitable exchange opportunity, their line manager should contact HR
Direct for specific advice.
Before Secondment
Before authorising, managers must fully assess the feasibility of releasing an employee
to undertake a secondment.
Section 8 contains an example checklist for managers who are considering a
secondment request.
Reaching Agreement
The substantive manager must discuss the development objectives and contact
arrangements with the employee and secondment manager. The secondment
agreement must be approved by all three parties and should include:
Clear reasons for the secondment
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
Start and end dates
Clear arrangements for maintaining communication with the substantive
Training requirements
Replacement arrangements
Statutory obligations
Expected benefits of the secondment
Monitoring arrangements
For certain groups of staff statutory requirements for maintenance of professional
registration (e.g. SSSC) must be explicit in the agreement.
Payment for Secondment
Normally, the Service that receives the secondee will pay his or her salary during the
secondment period. For a secondment outwith the Council payment may be
processed differently. This is outlined in section 7 – Secondments Outwith Fife
Written Confirmation
The secondment manager is responsible for providing written confirmation of the
secondment as a temporary contractual change. This must be sent to the secondee
before starting the secondment. A copy should be sent to the secondee’s
substantive manager.
The substantive manager is responsible for issuing an amendment letter. This
compliments the confirmation letter. It must include:
Secondment end date
Maximum period of release
Implications (if any) on the employee’s terms and conditions of employment
Time-scales for notice of recall or change to secondment agreement
Arrangements for maintaining contact between substantive manager and
For more information see TE53 Secondment Letter Templates.
Both managers must also alert their relevant Service payroll administration team to
ensure Delphi Payroll records are amended.
Induction and Training
An induction appropriate to the job and the experience of the secondee should be
For more information see IN11 Induction Guidelines.
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
Backfilling of the Substantive Post
Options to cover for the seconded employee include:
Redistribution of workloads throughout the remaining team
Backfill with a secondment
Backfill by recruiting on a temporary basis
If a replacement is recruited, this must be done on a temporary basis so that there is
no increase in establishment.
It must be confirmed in writing to the employee who is backfilling the secondment
that the work is temporary until the secondee returns to his or her substantive post.
The temporary contract should ideally be for a defined period. If this is not possible
the contract must explicitly state that employment will end when the secondee
returns to his or her substantive post. There should be a provision to end the
contract early if required. This would be needed if the secondment ended early.
During Secondment
Supervision or Contribution Management
A copy of a secondee’s most recent supervision or Contribution Management
agreement should be made available to the secondment manager to support
continuing development throughout the period of secondment. A copy of the final
secondment Contribution Management agreement should be sent to the employee’s
substantive or new manager at the end of the secondment.
Tracking Secondments
Because individual managers change roles over time, Services must keep track of all
secondments using Delphi or a dedicated database to ensure they do not continue
indefinitely. Reports should be run periodically to ensure secondments are regularly
reviewed and do not run over the termination date as this may have a significant
impact upon the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.
Contact with Substantive Service
It is important to ensure that the secondee maintains contact with, and receives
information from, his or her substantive team / Service. This is the joint
responsibility of the secondee and his or her substantive manager. It may include:
Providing team and, or, Service meeting minutes
Keeping the employee on relevant group mailing lists (post and email)
Information regarding team or substantive role changes
Arranging regular informal meetings
Remembering to invite them to work related social events
It is also vital to ensure that a secondee should be considered as part of any
Managing Change process within his or her substantive Service / section.
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
Returning from Secondment
Ideally, planning should commence no later than four weeks before the date of
secondee’s return. His or her role, location, work priorities and future Contribution
Management objectives should be considered.
If the secondment has been longer than two years or significant change has occurred
during it, re-training and, or, re-induction may be required.
To assist with personal and business learning the secondee should meet his or her
secondment line manager to evaluate and review the learning points from the
secondment. (It may be useful to use the framework of an exit interview.)
For more information see RS15 Exit Interviews Procedure and RS62 Exit Interview
Model Forms.
The employee should meet his or her substantive, or new, line manager to review
the key learning from the secondment and discuss how this can be used in his or her
permanent post. For more information see Contribution Management
Changing the Duration of a Secondment
If any party wants to change the length of the secondment (including early
termination) this should be discussed between all relevant parties and ideally agreed
four weeks before the original end date of the secondment. It may not be possible to
agree such requests due to service delivery or other reasons.
If the secondee becomes pregnant during the secondment, it is advised that a
meeting be arranged between all parties. The meeting will provide an opportunity to
discuss whether the secondment will continue while the employee is on maternity
leave (depending on the duration of the secondment). Managers should contact HR
Direct for advice before the meeting.
Any temporary employee covering for the secondee must be given the proper
notice of early termination of the contract.
Secondments Outwith Fife Council
This section addresses issues specific to the secondment of employees into or from
organisations outwith Fife Council.
Before an employee undertakes a secondment outwith Fife Council, a contractual
agreement must be negotiated detailing arrangements between both organisations.
An example contract is available in TE53 Secondment Letter Templates. The
agreement must be confirmed and accepted in writing.
Terms and Conditions of Employment
To ensure a secondee’s best fit into another organisation it is desirable that he or
she take up the secondment organisation’s terms and conditions as far as practicable.
It is important to review the terms and conditions of both organisations and issue an
amended statement of particulars detailing any changes to terms and conditions
during the period of the secondment e.g. place of work, salary, leave arrangements,
sickness reporting etc.
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
To ensure continuity of service Fife Council must remain the secondee’s employing
organisation. There are also contractual elements where Fife Council conditions
must apply e.g. disciplinary procedure.
Responsibility for Salary
The substantive employing organisation should remain the paying agency for tax and
pension purposes. It will invoice the receiving organisation for the reimbursement of
salary and other direct employment costs during the secondment. According to
HMRC rules, VAT may or may not need to be added. Therefore before drawing up a
contractual agreement, managers should contact the Accounting Control Team in
Finance and Resources.
In exceptional circumstances the secondee may be paid directly through the payroll
of the secondment organisation, e.g. where pay scales are more suitable to the salary
of the secondment post.
If an employee is in the Fife Council Pension Scheme and continues to be paid
through our payroll, the secondee can remain a member of the pension scheme
during the secondment.
If an employee is to be paid directly by the external organisation his or her
continued membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme depends on
whether it is an admitted body under the pension regulations. If not, the secondee
would not be eligible to pay into the Local Government Pension Scheme during the
secondment. Secondees should check their personal circumstances directly with the
Pensions Section.
For more information and a list of admitted bodies see RS55 Employment in Local
Government Modification Order (Associated Employers).
Responsibilities for Health and Safety
The secondment employer will be responsible for the Employers Liability Insurance
and have a duty of care under the relevant Health and Safety legislation for the
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
Manager Checklist for Considering a Secondment Request
The following questions provide a checklist to allow managers to make an informed
decision and record the information required for future correspondence.
Included in
What is the reason for the
What are the benefits to the employee
for undertaking the secondment?
What are the benefits to the Service/
Is the secondment within or outwith
the Council?
- Is there an existing Secondment
- Who pays secondee’s salary?
- Are there pension implications?
- How will supervisory and
disciplinary matters be dealt with?
- Health & Safety responsibilities
Suitable employee identified?
Request received from employee?
If Request Is Granted
What are the financial implications on
the team?
- Who pays?
- What budget?
During the secondment, how will the
main duties & responsibilities of the
secondee be covered?
- Redistribution of work?
- Recruiting a replacement?
What are the terms & conditions of
the secondment post?
- How do they differ to the
employees current T&Cs?
What are the start and end dates of
the secondment?
What arrangements are in place
should any party wish to terminate or
change the secondment?
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
Included in
If Request Is Granted (continued)
What are the training requirements of
the secondee?
How will I keep in contact with the
- Contribution Management
How will I keep track of the
secondment to ensure it does not
continue indefinitely?
Does the secondee need to maintain
Professional Registration during his or
her secondment?
What are our statutory obligations?
If Request Is Refused
Reasons for Refusal
- What will the impact be on the
Are there any alternative options
whereby the employee could attain
the benefits without having to be
Correspondence Checklist
Correspondence Sent
Letter to employee
Letter to secondment Manager
Letter & contract to external secondment
Letter to Service Admin team for Delphi
Payroll amendments
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
Quick Reference Guide – Managing Secondments
The following table summarises issues to be considered before, during and after
The Secondment
The Secondment
The Secondment
Identify reasons for
Training requirements
Evaluation of secondment
Assess secondment is
most appropriate method
of filling the post
Monitoring arrangements
Reintroduction into
substantive workplace
Assess implication on
employee/ team/ Service
delivery and anticipated
Maintaining contact with
substantive manager /
team regarding proposed
changes or developments
to substantive post
Training and re-training
Can Service delivery be
maintained without
replacing the employee?
Maintaining professional
Networking opportunities
(e.g. reallocation of work)
Negotiate Secondment
Agreement if involving
external organisation.
Contribution Management –
utilising knowledge, skills &
experience gained from
secondment into substantive
Consider replacement
arrangements & financial
Negotiate and agree
specifics of secondment
with all parties, confirm in
writing & update Delphi.
Training requirements
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008
The Secondment
The Secondment
The Secondment
Statutory obligations
Keeping in touch
Confirm secondment in
Produced by Fife Council Human Resources Section
26 May 2008: Issue Number 3.0
Managing People
Fife Council May 2008