Internal Secondments Policy
A PDF version of this policy can be found at - Internal Secondments Policy
- Secondments are temporary reassignments agreed by a colleague (the secondee), the unit in which their substantive role is based and the ‘host’ unit in which the secondee will be temporarily based.
- The University recognises that secondment opportunities can help meet short-term resourcing needs whilst enabling colleagues to engage in personal development opportunities and at the same time share their own knowledge, skills and experience with others.
- Secondment arrangements should be advertised and recruited to in an open and fair manner.
- Colleagues on secondment typically retain the right to return to their substantive post on the equivalent terms and conditions that they would have retained or acquired had they not undertaken the period of secondment.
1.1 The University recognises the benefits of constructive secondment arrangements which can help meet short-term resourcing needs whilst enabling colleagues to engage in personal development opportunities to grow their skills, experience and abilities and simultaneously share their own knowledge, skills and skills experience with others. Such arrangements are key in supporting our University Strategy and aligning with our Glasgow Professional Behavioural Framework.
1.2 This policy sets out the spirit in which secondment arrangements should be considered and managed across the University.
2.1 A secondment is the temporary reassignment of an individual (the secondee) from their substantive role/unit to a different role in a host unit (which in some cases can be the same as their substantive unit), with the agreement of all parties. A secondment does not cover shorter-term additional responsibilities (‘acting up’) where colleagues are providing cover within their own team.
2.2 Like other employment arrangements, secondments may be on a full or part-time basis.
2.3 Secondments should typically be no longer than 1 year in duration. Longer periods may be supported with the agreement of all parties however it may not be possible to support an individual’s return to their substantive role in such circumstances (as per 4.11).
2.4 Secondments can suit a range of different types of work, including but not limited to specific one-off tasks of limited duration or short-term appointments to cover work (e.g. maternity, long-term absence).
2.5 Secondments are only applicable if the substantive role is expected to exist on completion of the secondment (e.g. an appointment would not be classed as a secondment if the substantive role is of a fixed-term nature with an end date during the proposed secondment period). Where an individual is successfully appointed to another role in such circumstances, this would constitute a move to a different fixed-term or funding end-date role, with no suggestion of ongoing employment beyond the new end date. Any entitlement to redundancy pay would persist, subject to the nature of the fixed-term contract (i.e. if the reason for it subsequently ending is a redundancy).
3.1 This policy applies to all employees of the University of Glasgow.
3.2 This policy only covers secondments that are internal to the University.
3.3 Where an individual is considering (or being considered for) a secondment whilst, on a probation period, advice should be sought from the relevant local People and Organisational Development Team. It is expected that such occurrences would be rare and only where the individual concerned is projected to successfully complete their probation period.
3.4 Where an applicant’s substantive role is due to end during the proposed secondment period (e.g. through being fixed-term) it is important that they understand the potential implications of changing role (e.g. in many cases it is likely that their substantive role would not be available to return to thus leaving them at risk of redundancy at the end of the secondment).
4.1 Secondments should typically be no longer than 1 year in duration. Longer periods may be supported with the agreement of all parties however it may not be possible to support an individual's return to their substantive role in such circumstances (as per 4.10).
4.2 Prospective secondees should always seek approval from their substantive unit/line manager before applying for another role on a secondment basis.
4.3 Substantive units/line managers should not unreasonably refuse requests from prospective secondees and any refusal should be fully justified. Typical reasons for refusal may include an inability to secure adequate cover or where any outgoing secondment would have a significant negative impact on unit/team performance.
4.4 Secondment arrangements should be advertised and recruited in an open and fair manner. It may be appropriate to restrict the advertisement/notification of a secondment opportunity to staff of a particular kind or in a particular area depending on any relevant specialism or expertise.
4.5 Any secondment is subject to mutual agreement between the substantive unit, the secondee and the host unit. A written confirmation of the arrangements (the Secondment Agreement) will be issued by People and Organisational Development in every case.
4.6 It would be normal to expect individuals to work their standard notice period before moving to a seconded position, however, an earlier transition may be possible if all parties are in agreement.
4.7 Colleagues on secondment will report to an appropriate line manager in their host unit/department.
4.8 Secondments should be ended in accordance with the provisions outlined in section 5.4 below whilst also observing the relevant notice period applicable to the grade of the secondment.
4.9 Colleagues on secondment must be included in any consultation and/or communications in relation to actual or potential organisational change in their substantive unit in line with the University’s Management of Organisational Change Policy. This includes ensuring secondees are made aware of any advertised development opportunities/vacancies.
4.10 In the event that any changes are to be proposed to the secondment arrangement, all parties (the secondee, the host unit and the substantive unit) should meet to discuss and agree to these changes.
4.11 Secondees retain the right, on completion of their secondment, to return to their substantive post on the equivalent terms and conditions that they would have retained or acquired (e.g. pay increments) had they not undertaken the period of secondment, subject to paras 3.4 and 4.1.
4.12 Colleagues on or after secondment should be mindful of any confidentiality or data sensitivity issues. It may not be appropriate to share details or information (e.g. with the substantive line manager) encountered as part of the secondment. Guidance should be sought from the host line manager initially where there is any doubt.
5. Secondment Process
Process Diagram - Internal Secondments Process
5.1 Identifying a Secondment Opportunity
Recruiting managers may choose to advertise/recruit to a role as being open to a secondment opportunity. This may be influenced by the nature of the role, the duration of the work, the skills and experience required etc. The role should be advertised and recruited in an open and fair way following the normal recruitment process however in some cases it may be appropriate to restrict the advertisement or promotion of a secondment to a particular area depending on any required specialism or expertise.
Alternatively, a candidate may identify themselves that they wish to apply for an advertised role on a secondment basis. Prospective secondees should always secure the prior approval of their line manager before applying for a role on a secondment basis.
5.2 Setting up the Secondment
Once the selection procedure has concluded, a Secondment Agreement will be issued by People and Organisational Development for all parties to confirm the details of the secondment.
A confirmation of secondment will also be issued to the secondee to confirm any relevant changes to individual terms and conditions (e.g. salary, working hours) for the period of the secondment.
The secondment should then commence, as planned, on the indicated start date aligned to any notice period requirements as per para 4.6. Prior to this, the secondee and substantive line manager should discuss and plan for any associated handover to ensure a smooth transition out of the substantive role.
5.3 Managing a Secondment
The line manager in the host unit will act as the main line manager for the duration of the secondment with regard to day-to-day management (including objectives, work allocation, annual leave, personal development support, performance management and appraisal etc).
Feedback should be provided to the substantive line manager as appropriate throughout the secondment, for example, to update on any developmental milestones/significant achievements etc that are relevant to the secondee's substantive role. It may also be appropriate to share absence updates, including for example any medical advice received which may also require consideration in relation to the secondee's substantive role (e.g. relating to workplace adjustments or any potential ongoing absences which the substantive manager should be aware of in order to be able to provide appropriate support).
Should any difficulties arise, or any formal processes be considered, advice should be sought from the relevant People and Organisational Development Team. Whilst the host line manager retains overall responsibility for people management matters such as performance, attendance and discipline during the secondment period, it may be appropriate to involve the substantive line manager (or to arrange a tripartite meeting of the secondee, substantive manager and host manager to discuss any matters of concern) and this should be determined on a case-by-case basis. The secondee may be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or work colleague at any such meeting.
5.4 Ending or Extending a Secondment
When a secondment is nearing its natural end, the substantive manager, host manager and secondee should hold a review meeting to reflect on the secondment and any successes (or challenges) with a view to aiding the transition back into the substantive role and to ensure any ongoing personal development is identified and maximised. This should typically be within the final three months of the secondment.
People and Organisational Development will notify the secondee no later than one month before the anticipated end date. The secondee will then typically return to their substantive role on the agreed date.
A re-induction should take place on return to the substantive role to share any developments, introduce to new colleagues and/or train on any new processes, systems or procedures which may have changed through the duration of the secondment. Discussions should also take place to explore opportunities to share any new knowledge or skills with colleagues in the host unit in order to maximise the benefits of any period of secondments. A review of performance objectives should also take place at this stage.
If a secondment is required to be ended early by the host unit, advice should be sought from the relevant local People and Organisational Development team in the first instance. It is expected that such cases would typically be restricted to matters of ongoing under-performance, following a reasonable period of time and provision of support to facilitate improvement. The relevant notice periods should also be observed.
If a secondment requires to be ended early by the substantive unit this should be by strict exception and for business-critical reasons following full consultation with all parties. Advice should be sought from the relevant local People and Organisational Development team in the first instance. In any case, the contractual notice period would normally be honoured unless any exception is agreed with the host unit line manager.
If the secondee wishes to end the secondment early, advice should be sought from the relevant local People and Organisational Development team in the first instance. It is expected that such instances would be exceptional and dialogue should take place with the relevant parties to explore any identified issues or circumstances in order to support the completion of the secondment. The relevant notice periods should also be observed.
Where consideration is being given to extending a secondment, the host manager should discuss this at the earliest opportunity with the secondee, the substantive unit and the relevant People and Organisational Development team to consider available options. It is important that as much notice as possible is given to the substantive unit in such circumstances. Where the substantive unit cannot support a longer period of secondment, the secondee must consider either returning to their substantive role or resigning from that role and moving into that temporary position (ensuring that they are aware of the contractual implications of doing so).
Where an extension is approved, People & Organisational Development should be notified and a revised Secondment Agreement will be issued along with a confirmation of the secondment extension.
6. Roles and Responsibilities
6.1 The Secondee
- Discuss intentions to apply for a secondment early on with the line manager of their substantive post and explore the potential benefits and/or impacts of this.
- Check/be aware of any impact on salary/pension as appropriate, depending on the terms and conditions of the secondment.
- Work with their host unit to agree performance expectations in the normal way, whilst also exploring and where possible agreeing personal development opportunities or activities.
- Participate in a review of the secondment, along with both the substantive and host managers, as per the process steps above.
- Engage with any re-induction activity on return to the substantive role/unit.
6.2 The Substantive Unit/Manager
- Support constructive discussions with team members who are considering a secondment, jointly exploring any opportunities and challenges and supporting positive career moves where possible. Secondments should be supported by default and justification should be provided if support is not to be granted.
- Ensure adequate coverage is in place to cover a secondee’s substantive role for the duration of any agreed secondment, where required.
- Work with the secondee, prior to the secondment commencing, to ensure appropriate handover arrangements are in place.
- Maintain appropriate contact with the secondee to ensure they remain appraised of any related developments back in their substantive unit.
- Ensure appropriate consultation takes place with a secondee if any changes may impact upon the secondee’s substantive role (e.g. organisational change).
- Participate in a review of the secondment, along with the secondee and host manager, as per the process steps above.
- Plan and deliver an appropriate re-induction to the substantive unit.
6.3 The Host Unit/Manager
- Identify appropriate roles for secondment opportunities and advertise/recruit appropriately.
- Ensure open communication with both the secondee and their substantive line manager at all stages of the secondment process.
- Link with People and Organisational Development to ensure an appropriate Secondment Agreement is issued to confirm the terms and conditions of the secondment.
- Set out clear performance expectations for the duration of the secondment and ensure adequate reviews (including the Performance & Development Review Process) and support are provided to ensure the benefits of the secondment are maximised.
- Support any reasonable development required to ensure the successful completion of the secondment.
- Carry out all people management responsibilities, including managing any performance, disciplinary or attendance matters that may arise and link with the substantive/unit manager as appropriate.
- Participate in a review of the secondment, along with the secondee and host manager, as per the process steps above.
6.4 People & Organisational Development
- People and OD Teams will support the administration of secondments, including the issuing of the Secondment Agreement form and relevant associated confirmation letters.
- People & OD will also offer to advise in response to any related enquiries that emerge throughout the secondment process.
- Typically, central Recruitment and Onboarding teams will administer the creation and commencement of secondment posts. The relevant local People & OD team to the host unit will support any mid-secondment administration (e.g. ending or extending secondments), liaising with the relevant People & OD team for the substantive unit as appropriate (where this is a different team).
7.1 This non-contractual policy was developed in full consultation with the Campus Trade Unions and will be reviewed periodically as required.
Policy Review Group (October 2022)
13 March 2023
People & OD – Employee Relations
Equality Impact Assessment
24 February 2023