HM Fire Service Inspectorate secondment policy

Sets out arrangements for short-term staff secondments.

The core staffing within HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland is one Chief Inspector, four Assistant Inspectors, one Inspection Support Manager and two corporate administration staff.

Secondments have benefits for the secondee, the donor organisation and the Inspectorate. Two of these are:

  • the sharing of people and good practice – enabling the Inspectorate to offer to other organisations, broadening of experience, personal development and skills enhancement and
  • partnership working with stakeholders - foster mutual understanding and co-operation through effective partnership working

Secondments are normally for a period of 12 to 18 months which is aligned to the Inspectorate’s planned workload with a maximum of two SFRS staff at any one time. It is not our intention to second the same people or person on a number of occasions, however, this policy does not preclude that from happening as long as any individual’s secondment period does not exceed 24 months and there has been a 12 month break in between. 

Secondment opportunities are advertised through the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Currently only uniformed staff at Group and Area Commander level are eligible to apply. Before applying, applicants should seek their line manager’s agreement that they could be released.

Staff are normally seconded on their existing terms and conditions. Aligning a salary level to its Civil Service equivalent may allow an additional responsibility payment to be made as an incentive for the secondment. However, this will be dependent on specific circumstances and cannot be guaranteed. 

In relation to secondments from the SFRS, the Chief Inspector and the Chief Officer are conscious that secondments might expose staff to a conflict of interest during their secondment period or on return to the Service. To counter that risk, the role of the seconded person is limited to fact finding and data gathering and the Chief Inspector takes sole responsibility for the conclusions or comments made in a given report. At the beginning of any secondment, this issue is discussed with staff and the Chief Inspector may raise a particular issue with the Head of Human Resource and Organisational Development at any time. In addition, a routine debrief will take place at the end of each secondment which, amongst other things, consider whether there are concerns over reintegration into the Service. 

This policy is an agreement between the Inspectorate and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and can be varied at any time.

HMFSI: December 2020

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