1. Introduction

2. Definitions

3. Scope

4. Benefits

5. Financial Responsibility

6. Terms and Conditions

7. Procedure

8. Managing the Secondment

9. Early Termination

10. External Outward Secondment

11. External Inward Secondment

12. Documentation

13. Futher Information

14. Associated Policies and Procedures

15. Equality and Diversity Statement


1.       Introduction

1.1       SOAS (‘the School’) recognises the role that learning and development plays in achieving its objectives. Secondments are one of the many different ways which can support staff development. Secondments should be designed to enable secondees to enhance or develop skills and their understanding of particular areas of work that are relevant to their current or future role. Skills and expertise gained can then be transferred back to their substantive role. Secondments may also develop valuable relationships between the School and other organisations. This document gives practical guidance on the successful implementation of secondment agreements.

1.2       All secondments should be advertised internally, unless particular skills are required which are not available within the School.

1.3       The procedure sets out the practical guidance on the successful implementation of the secondment agreement.


2.        Definitions

2.1        A secondment is either the temporary transfer of an employee to another post within the same department;


2.2        The temporary transfer of an employee to or from another department, team or organisation to carry out specific duties for a fixed period of time.


3.        Scope

3.1        Secondments will normally be for a maximum of one year.

3.2        A secondment is an opportunity for an employee to voluntarily undertake a different role to that of their substantive post. There are three types of secondment:

  • Internal Secondment: An employee working temporarily in a different role within  SOAS;
  • External Outward Secondment: An employee working temporarily in a different organisation whilst retaining their substantive post within SOAS;
  • External Inward Secondment: A SOAS post that is filled temporarily by an employee of another organisation who remains employed by that organisation.

3.3        Secondments are appropriate:

  • to deliver a new project or to provide additional support to a project;
  • to enable skills transfer to another area/department of SOAS;
  • to provide a development opportunity to carry out a specific assignment;
  • to assist in the development of skills in new areas

3.4       Where secondments are to attract external applicants, the provisions of the recruitment selection policy will apply.

3.5        For external opportunities, see section 10 of this policy.



4.       Benefits

4.1       For the School

  • developing an employee’s knowledge and skills
  • raising performance through cross-department co-operation and communication
  • delivering projects/assignments

4.2       For the individual

  • for wider experience and acquisition of new skills
  • for personal development
  • to provide experience for employees who are underrepresented in certain areas of SOAS

4.3       For an external host organisation

  • gives access to new expertise that may not otherwise be available
  • provides extra resource
  • brings an external perspective to the organisation

5.       Financial Responsibility

5.1       The host department providing the secondment opportunity will be responsible for the secondee’s salary and any allowances for the duration of the secondment.

5.2       Managers should consult with the HR Business Partner and Finance Business Partner to agree any funding arrangements during the period of the secondment and how the funding should be accounted for.

5.3       Where additional funding is required or an additional post is required due to the secondment the normal Executive Board approval to recruit route will apply.


6.       Terms and Conditions

6.1       The secondment period will not normally exceed one year.

6.2       The length of the secondment period must be specified at the outset.

6.3       The employee’s terms and conditions of service, including continuous service, are maintained, including any terms and conditions of the employing organisation if this is an external secondment (please see paragraph 13).

6.4       If any party, including the secondee, wishes to terminate the secondment agreement prior to the agreed end date this should be discussed as soon as possible with all the parties concerned. Following discussion, if it is agreed that the period of secondment should be terminated earlier than the original agreed end date, a revised end date should be agreed, in line with the notice arrangements laid out in the contract.

6.5       At the end of the secondment, individuals will return to their substantive post. In the event of a reorganisation during the secondment, the secondee will be consulted by their substantive department in line with the normal provisions of the School’s Organisational Change Policy.

6.6       Individuals must be kept aware of any changes in their substantive work area.

6.7       Where a seconded post is at a higher grade, salary payment will normally be at the level of the seconded post for the duration of the secondment or based upon the development opportunity and agreed with the secondee on a personal basis


7.       Procedure

7.1       The line manager should normally consider if a position could be offered as a secondment before advertising.

7.2       The period of secondment must be specified in the advertising materials to ensure that both the secondee, and the substantive and receiving line managers are aware.

7.3       External or internal adverts for secondment opportunities should stipulate that anyone wishing to apply as a secondee should discuss the possible secondment with their existing line manager before applying. A decision can then be made about whether an employee’s existing role can be covered during the secondment and plans for how their duties will be covered can be considered.

7.4       If an employee raises the possibility of applying for a secondment, their manager should carefully consider the request. While enabling employees to take secondments is encouraged, it is acknowledged that it will not always be possible. For example if there is urgent work which cannot be covered, or the postholder has specialist technical knowledge that would be difficult to replace for a limited period, then it may not be possible to release an employee for secondment and hold their substantive role. The manager should discuss the rationale for the decision with the staff member.

7.5       Where a post is identified as an internal secondment opportunity, it should be advertised on the School’s Internal Vacancy page. Posts identified as possible external secondment opportunities should be advertised externally in the normal way.

7.6       The normal Selection procedures should be followed, i.e. short-listing should take place and interviews conducted.

8.        Managing the Secondment

8.1       Roles and responsibilities

The host line manager is responsible for:

  • Inducting the secondee in line with SOAS’ Induction process;
  • Agreeing a work plan and development plan;
  • Training and support;
  • Establishing regular one to one meetings;
  • Normal line management duties - authorising annual leave, monitoring sickness, etc;
  • Evaluating and monitoring performance;
  • Providing a debriefing session at the end of secondment and supporting the secondee’s return to their substantive post.

8.2        The substantive line manager is responsible for:

  • Confirming that the secondee  has  received  a briefing before the secondment starts;
  • Arranging cover for the substantive post;
  • Taking part in meetings to discuss progress and issues as appropriate;
  • Keeping the secondee informed of any developments in their team and department and ensure they are consulted on any changes which affect their post;
  • Conducting a meeting with the secondee before they return to their substantive post to discuss skills and learning gained during the secondment and to plan how these can be implemented in the duties of the substantive post.
  • Planning a re-induction period for the returning secondee. This will incorporate discussing any changes to the post during the intervening period as well as the contribution the returning employee can make to the service to capitalise on the learning from the secondment. This should be discussed as part of the first one to one session and followed up during the ongoing management processes.
  • Ensuring the secondee is kept up to date with information relevant to SOAS and their substantive role and briefed and supported, when they return to their substantive post.

8.3        The arrangement should be reviewed every three months to ensure that parties involved are satisfied with the arrangements.


9.       Early Termination

9.1       A Secondment may come to an end early where:

  • both parties mutually agree the secondment should end;
  • the secondee or the host manager can give notice as stipulated in the secondment confirmation letter.

9.2      Whatever the reason for an early termination of a secondment, the following procedure should be followed:

  • The reason for terminating the secondment should be given in writing.
  • The line manager for the substantive post should be notified as soon as possible as this may have repercussions on the cover arrangements for the secondment. Where another employee has been covering the post vacated by the secondee also via a secondment arrangement, it may mean the early termination of that secondment. Managers should examine all the options.
  • Arrangements should be made to assist the secondee back into their substantive post as outlined under paragraph 7 above.


10.     External Outward Secondment

10.1     The substantive manager should seek advice from the relevant HR Business Partner and discuss the details of the secondment with the external organisation. The employee will retain the terms and conditions of their SOAS contract and continuity of service.

10.2     The School will normally continue to pay the employee for the duration of their secondment and SOAS will recharge the external organisation for any salary and occurred costs.

10.3     The arrangements for recharge should build in the salary on costs and any increments/pay awards that will fall during the period of secondment.

10.4     Any increments and pay awards due will be made as normal.

10.5     It is important that any key issues are discussed and agreed in advance of the secondment. Areas for consideration may include whether there is a higher salary being paid, and how the performance review process will be managed.

10.6     When the individual returns to SOAS they will revert to the salary of their substantive post prior to the secondment pending any reward or incremental progression.

10.7     While on secondment the employee will continue to accrue continuous service as an employee of SOAS.

10.8     Whilst on external outward secondment, day-to-day management will be delegated to the seconding organisation. The relevant policies and procedures of SOAS such as grievance and disciplinary procedures will continue to apply to the secondee and will be managed by the substantive line manager, as appropriate. However, whilst on the premises of the external organisation the secondee must have regard for the relevant policies and procedures of that organisation which will apply during the period of the secondment e.g. health and safety. In these circumstances it is the responsibility of the external organisation to make the secondee aware of the relevant policies and procedures.

10.9     A secondment agreement must be completed and signed by all parties. It is required that the SOAS document is used (see Appendix A).


11.     External Inward Secondment

11.1     Departments should take into account that the secondment fee will normally be subject to VAT which will increase the costs of inward secondments. The timing and method of reclaiming costs should be determined with the external organisation prior to the secondment being agreed.

11.2   In the case of an external inward secondment, day-to-day management will be delegated to the relevant SOAS line manager. The relevant policies and procedures of the seconding organisation such as grievance and disciplinary procedures will continue to apply to the secondee. The SOAS line manager should take advice from SOAS Human Resources in However, whilst on the premises of SOAS, the secondee must have regard for the relevant policies and procedures of the School which will apply during the period of the secondment e.g. health and safety. In these circumstances it is the responsibility of the line manager at SOAS to make the secondee aware of the relevant policies and procedures.

11.3     If an external secondment agreement is adopted, then SOAS may seek legal advice before the documents are signed.


12.      Documentation

12.1     Once the secondment arrangement has been agreed, HR will issue a secondment letter to the secondee with a copy sent to the host manager and substantive manager. This will set out details of the secondment, the start and end dates, the agreement for returning to the original job and any change in salary.

12.2     All external secondment agreements should be signed by a SOAS Head of Service and Human Resources.


13.      Further Information

13.1     For further information on secondment arrangements please contact HR.


14.       Associated Policies and Procedures:
  • Acting Up
  • Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedure

15.       Equality and Diversity Statement

15.1       This policy has been developed in accordance with the terms of the SOAS Equality Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and its Equality Impact Assessment procedure. This will help ensure that the School meets it obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

15.2      An Equality Impact Assessment has been conducted on this policy and any identified actions have been completed.

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