Model Secondment Policy
1 Policy Statement
1.1 [Name of organisation] strives to be an exemplary employer, with staff who are flexible and adaptable to the service, both locally and nationally. [Name of organisation] is, and will continue to be a constantly changing organisation. As services change, the skills needed to deliver services also change. As a learning organisation, [name of organisation] recognises the value of secondment for both employee and organisational development.
1.2 By placing employees in different work situations, secondment offers the opportunity for individuals to develop new skills or enhance existing skills, enabling [name of organisation] to develop and retain experienced, skilled and valued employees.
1.3 Furthermore, by developing and sharing skills within and across NHSScotland and partner organisations, it is recognised that secondment helps such organisations to modernise and adjust to service changes, to the overall benefit of NHSScotland.
1.4 This policy has been developed in partnership with local trade union/professional organisation representatives. It reflects the best practice identified in, and meets the minimum standards set out in, the Secondment Partnership Information Network (PIN) Policy.
2.1 This policy applies to all employees within [name of organisation] who apply for or subsequently undertake a secondment for a defined period to another role either within [name of organisation] or within another Host Organisation.
2.2 While there is no automatic right to secondment, all employees within [name of organisation] should have equal access to this policy in compliance with relevant legislation and no application for secondment will be unreasonably refused.
3 Principles & Values
3.1 [Name of organisation] will ensure that clear arrangements are in place for accessing secondment. Secondment opportunities may arise through a variety of circumstances, but should ordinarily be advertised in line with the normal recruitment process.
3.2 All employees will have equal access to this policy in compliance with relevant legislation.
3.3 No application for secondment will be unreasonably refused.
3.4 [Name of organisation] will ensure that clear arrangements are in place in advance of any secondment commencing, including completion of an appropriate secondment agreement, ensuring that all stakeholders are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities under the secondment.
3.5 In order to facilitate the secondment process, central coordination is essential, and a designated coordinator will be identified within [name of organisation].
3.6 [Name of organisation] will ensure that an evaluation of learning is undertaken following the completion of secondments to ensure that newly developed knowledge or skills can be identified and used to the benefit of the service.
3.7 [Name of organisation] will, in partnership, monitor applications for and use of secondment on an ongoing basis with a view to ensuring the fair and consistent application of this policy. [Name of organisation] will also ensure that this policy is subject to regular review, in partnership, in order that it remains fit for purpose and to enable the organisation to demonstrate adherence to the Secondment PIN Policy.
This policy defines secondment as follows:
"The temporary loan of an employee to another organisation, or to a different part/post of the same organisation, for a specific purpose and for a specific time, to the mutual benefit of employees and NHSScotland generally."
4.2 Types of secondment:
- Internal secondment (i.e. within the same NHS Board/Special Health Board);
- Internal secondment within NHSScotland (i.e. to another NHS Board); or
- External secondment (e.g. to Scottish Government, local authority, trade unions, professional organisations and the voluntary sector).
4.3 Suitable secondment opportunities
Secondment appointments may be made on a part-time or full-time basis and can be used in a variety of circumstances, as illustrated below. The examples below should not limit the creativity of employees and/or managers in identifying suitable secondment opportunities:
- Facilitate partnership working9;
- Develop individuals or groups of individuals, personally and professionally;
- Provide training/experience and/or skills within another area;
- Increase self-confidence/competence;
- Share expert resources between and within organisations;
- Address the absence of a substantive post holder (e.g. maternity leave or long-term sickness absence);
- Facilitate or enhance a particular project or research;
- Enable an employee, in agreed circumstances, to remain with their employer and retain specific benefits (e.g. remuneration and pension); or
- Assist in succession planning.
Managers should always give consideration as to whether vacancies which arise may be offered on a secondment basis, particularly where such vacancies are fixed-term in nature and therefore such an approach would widen the scope of potential applicants.
An employee of [name of organisation] who is seconded to a different role either within [name of organisation] or with a Host Organisation (which may or may not be another NHSScotland Board).
4.5 Accountable Manager
The Accountable Manager within [name of organisation] may be the substantive line manager of the Secondee or may be at a higher level where the substantive line manager is not the budget holder. The Accountable Manager may assign certain of the responsibilities detailed within this policy to the line manager (where this is a different individual). However, the Accountable Manager will have overall responsibility for ensuring that such responsibilities are carried out appropriately.
The Accountable Manager within [name of organisation] will retain responsibility for the ongoing management of the Secondee's contract of employment during the period of the secondment in line with the secondment agreement.
4.6 Host Manager
The Host Manager is the manager who will be responsible for management of the secondment role itself. The Host Manager may be from within [name of organisation] or within a separate Host Organisation, depending on whether the secondment is to a role within the [name of organisation] or not.
4.7 Host Organisation
'Host Organisation' is the term used within this policy to identify the organisation to which a Secondee has been seconded, where this secondment is to a different organisation than [name of organisation]. The Host Organisation may or may not be another NHSScotland Board.
5 Roles & Responsibilities
- To ensure that authorisation has been provided by their Accountable Manager prior to accepting a secondment opportunity;
- To adhere to their obligations as set out in the secondment agreement, including keeping in touch with their Accountable Manager to allow for exchange of information and how they perceive the secondment to be working out for them; and
- To participate in an evaluation of learning following completion of the secondment to ensure that newly developed knowledge or skills can be identified and used to the benefit of the service.
5.2 Accountable Manager
- To consider all secondment requests and only refuse a request if there are clear, demonstrable business reasons why it is not practicable. Reasons for refusal should be communicated to the employee in writing and a record of refusal and its reasons sent to the coordinator;
- To liaise with HR to ensure that the employee is fully aware of the circumstances as outlined in [name of organisation's] local policy developed in line with the Fixed Term Contracts PIN Policy, in circumstances where a secondment is refused and the employee seeks to undertake the opportunity on a fixed term contact basis;
- To ensure that, prior to commencement of a secondment, the appropriate secondment agreement has been completed, and the following points have been taken into account:
- Clear reasons identified for the secondment (including identification of the benefits for the individual and the organisation);
- Replacement costs and arrangements for cover (if necessary);
- Clear agreement on the start and finish dates (secondments vary in length, usually between three months and two years, depending upon the circumstances. However the period of secondment must be agreed and clearly defined in the secondment agreement);
- In circumstances where the employee's substantive role may not be available for their return, then this must be understood and agreed by the Accountable Manager and the Secondee prior to the commencement of the secondment, or at the time of any subsequent proposed extension. In such cases, or where the substantive post is subsequently subject to change during the secondment, relevant organisational change provisions will apply. In all cases the Accountable Manager should seek guidance from HR;
- That the employee fully understands any terms and conditions implications;
- Training needs during and following a period of secondment;
- Arrangements for appraisal/PDP&R completion during the secondment;
- Relevant statutory requirements for maintenance of professional registration;
- Arrangements to keep in touch with the Secondee on a regular basis and to consult them on any proposed changes to their substantive post during the term of the secondment; and
- Clear arrangements for return of the Secondee to their substantive post or a suitable alternative (where it is agreed, as above, that they will not return to their substantive post), or as otherwise determined under 9.9 below.
- To fulfil their agreed obligations under the secondment agreement, including:
- Keeping in touch with the Secondee during the secondment; and
- Informing the Host Organisation (or the relevant line manager where the secondment remains within [name of organisation]) where there is a need to terminate the secondment earlier than agreed.
- To keep in touch with the coordinator on a regular basis to inform them of any changes or terminations to the secondment;
- To ensure that a return to work interview takes place with the Secondee; and
- To ensure that an evaluation of learning is undertaken following completion of the secondment in order that newly developed knowledge or skills can be identified and used to the benefit of the service.
5.3 Host Manager
- To fulfil their agreed obligations under the secondment agreement, including:
- Liaising with the Secondee's Accountable Manager in order to have input to any appraisal outcomes/ performance issues; and
- Liaising with the Secondee's Accountable Manager on any proposal to change, terminate or extend the secondment.
5.4 Coordinator - Monitoring Arrangements
Essential to the success of the policy is the need for central coordination, which will be administered by a designated coordinator. The coordinator will be responsible for the following:
- Creating and maintaining a record of Secondees. This record will include, as a minimum, details of the Secondee, their substantive post and Accountable Manager, and also details of the secondment;
- Developing relationships with the Accountable Managers of Secondees to ensure consistency of approach;
- Keeping a record of the number of employees accessing secondment arrangements, the evaluation of learning, and the subsequent retention of Secondees within NHSScotland following the completion of secondment; and
- Keeping a record of refused applications for secondment.
6 Secondment Agreements
6.1 Secondment agreements must be completed and authorised by the necessary parties in advance of the secondment commencing, as detailed below.
6.1.1 In the case of a secondment to a Host Organisation:
- A secondment agreement between [name of organisation] and the Host Organisation should be completed and signed by both parties (the Agreement); and
- A secondment agreement between [name of organisation] and the Secondee should be completed and signed by both parties (the Schedule).
6.1.2 In the case of secondment which remains within [name of organisation]:
- A secondment agreement between the Accountable Manager, the Host Manager and the Secondee should be completed and signed by all parties.
- There are fewer legal issues to consider with secondments which remain within [name of organisation]. However, there may be changes to the employee's terms and conditions of employment for the duration of the secondment (e.g. changes in their usual place of work and duties during the secondment).
7 Keeping in Touch
7.1 Keeping in touch with Secondees throughout the period of secondment is essential. Arrangements for this should be clearly documented within the secondment agreement. The responsibility for this will be mutual, where both the Secondee and their Accountable Manager will be responsible for keeping in touch. The Accountable Manager will act as the contact point and keep the Secondee up to date with developments with regard to their substantive role (and with [name of organisation] where the secondment is to a Host Organisation).
7.2 Account must be taken of individual requirements, including:
- Maintaining professional registration;
- Consulting on restructuring or proposed departmental change; and
- Retraining requirements on return to the substantive post.
7.3 Examples of keeping in touch might include:
- Mailing lists - remaining on the list for team communications; and
- Attendance at regular team meetings.
7.4 For longer-term secondments, account must be taken of the potential for skills lost, skills gained, changing work practice, changing cultures and new technology. Successful keeping in touch will minimise the impact of these matters.
8 Appraisal/PDP&R Arrangements
8.1 Appraisal/PDP&R arrangements must be explicit within the secondment agreement, taking into account individual occupational groups' terms and conditions.
8.2 Performance Management for Executive and Senior Manager Pay
In addition to the above, there is a specific requirement in relation to performance management arrangements for executives and senior managers with regard to pay, which must be followed in accordance with the relevant Circular(s) in operation at the time of the Secondment.
8.3 It is the responsibility of [name of organisation's] Remuneration Committee to ensure that, for Executive and Senior Management Cohorts, performance objectives are set and agreed in a systematic manner with proper records maintained. In addition, it is the responsibility of [name of organisation's] Remuneration Committee to ensure that the performance of all such Secondees is formally assessed at the end of the performance period. In order for [name of organisation's] Remuneration Committee to discharge its responsibilities, it is essential that the Seconding Organisation ensures that the performance management process has been applied for the Secondee, and it is the responsibility of the Host Organisation to inform the Seconding Organisation of the outcome.
8.4 If the Secondee is a member of the Executive Cohort, their performance appraisal will be treated as provisional until the National Performance Management Committee (NPMC) has considered and reported on the overall pattern of performance for all staff in the cohort.
9 Terms & Conditions of Employment
9.1 In circumstances where [name of organisation] seeks to second an employee, that Secondee is entitled to maintain their terms and conditions of employment except where mutually agreed otherwise.
9.2 In circumstances where an employee seeks a secondment opportunity, the advertised terms and conditions will apply. The employee should be made aware of any changes this may mean for their pay or terms and conditions.
9.3 Where the terms and conditions for the secondment opportunity are more generous than those applying to the Secondee's substantive post the terms and conditions of the secondment post will apply for the secondment period. For secondments outside the Seconding Organisation, any alterations to the employment contract, including to pay or other terms and conditions of employment, need to be fully discussed and agreed, and detailed in the secondment agreement.
9.4 Where secondment is to a post of a higher grade, at the end of the secondment the Secondee will go back to the post on the terms and conditions that would have applied had they not been on secondment. Credit will be given for time spent at a higher grade in the event of any subsequent promotion, where appropriate.
9.5 Time spent on secondment with another employer within or outwith the NHS will not affect continuity of employment and associated terms and conditions.
9.6 For some Secondees, the statutory requirements for maintenance of professional registration must be explicit within the secondment agreement. For example, secondments outwith the NHS may require a return to NHS duties for short periods during the term of the secondment to ensure continuing professional registration.
9.7 Secondment opportunities should generally be allowed to run their course, in line with the terms of each individual secondment agreement. However, the Accountable Manager within [name of organisation] reserves the right to recall Secondees prematurely if required in exceptional circumstances. Termination of the secondment, prior to expiry at its agreed end date, will normally be subject to an agreed period of notice, as stipulated in the secondment agreement. Any extension to the secondment proposed must be by mutual agreement of all parties.
9.8 Linked to the above, the secondment agreement must stipulate what will happen in the event of, for example, longterm absence or persistent short-term absence, or conduct or capability matters, particularly in the case of secondment to a Host Organisation. The Host Organisation will not be responsible for management of the Secondee's contract of employment, but it will wish to have access to a mechanism by which it can advise on any potential need for [name of organisation] to institute formal procedures if necessary. Alternatively, the Host Organisation may wish to specify 'trigger events' which would allow early termination of the secondment agreement with [name of organisation].
9.9 Secondees should be aware that, in some circumstances, the post which the Secondee left (where it was agreed that the Secondee would return to their substantive post) may be subject to organisational change. In those circumstances [name of organisation's] local policies on Organisational Change and Redeployment will apply.
10.1 To support the fair and consistent application of this policy, [name of organisation] will ensure full awareness and understanding of the issues relating to secondment amongst management by incorporating training on this policy within line management development programmes and ensure that all managers have participated in such a programme.
11 Monitoring & Measuring Success
11.1 [Name of organisation] will, in partnership, monitor applications for, and use of, secondment on an ongoing basis with a view to ensuring the fair and consistent application of this policy. The information to be gathered in this respect will include, but will not be exclusively limited to, the data collected by the designated coordinator. This information will be used as part of the review of the policy.
12 Review of Policy
12.1 This policy will be reviewed, in partnership, by [name of organisation] on [state] basis to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and to enable [name of organisation] to demonstrate adherence to the Secondment PIN Policy.
Email: Darren Paterson
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