Loans and secondments
Loans and secondments are work placements in another organisation. They can last a few weeks, months, a year or more. They might be to another government department, a charity, or the private sector.
This occurs when an individual transfers to a different post in another department within the civil service for an agreed period of time. If moving to another department the member of staff transfers over to the host department’s payroll and terms and conditions.
Similar to a loan but instead of moving to another department an employee would move to an organisation outside of the civil service.
The member of staff remains on their home department’s payroll and the host department is invoiced to recover the costs. In some circumstances (for example when going on secondment to a charity), the home department would continue to pay the individual’s salary for the duration of the secondment.
The host organisation values the skills and experience brought by the secondee/person on loan.
The secondee/person on loan gains new skills and experience which they may not have been able to get in their own organisation. This in turn benefits their organisation when they return.
The links built across the organisations can also be valuable.
How do I find loan and secondment opportunities?
Some opportunities are advertised as vacancies, or you might identify an opportunity yourself that matches your development needs.
You might like to consider the analytical volunteer program. This scheme arranges short placements (up to five days) for statisticians, social researchers, operational researchers, and economists to provide analytical support to voluntary sector organisations.
Organisations that might offer opportunities:
- Academic institutions
- International organisations such as European Union, the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
- Charities that use government statistics, for example Shelter and Barnardos
- Think Tanks such as the Work Foundation or the Kings Fund
- Market research firms
- Customer insight teams in big retailers
- Media organisations
- Companies that produce and publish sports statistics
- Polling companies, such as Ipsos Mori (particularly their public policy teams)
- Financial firms
- Local authorities
- Police Forces
- Bank of England
- Other government departments
- Art councils
Steps to organise a loan or secondment placement
Step 1: Identify the skills and experience you would like to learn
A loan or secondment is ideal when you identify a development need that you are unlikely to be able to gain as effectively within your own organisation.
For example, you may feel that you would benefit from experience working with specific types of data or analysis techniques, working within a specific type of organisation, or working somewhere you can gain a greater understanding about your sector.
Step 2: Approach your Head of Profession or line manager to discuss your idea
Different departments have different rules about loans and secondments, but there is strong central corporate recognition that they can play an important role helping people achieve and demonstrate their competences, so your management should be supportive.
Explain what you hope to achieve and how this will benefit your department.
Step 3: Identify and approach the organisation you would like to work with
You may already have a contact in the organisation that you can approach to discuss the placement. Alternatively you can ask your line manager or Head of Profession (HoP) to approach the host organisation at a more senior level, to explain the idea and to gain their buy-in.
They will probably want to meet you or speak with you before agreeing. Be prepared to discuss why you are interested in working in their organisation, what you would be able to offer, what you hope to achieve and how long you expect the placement to last.
Step 4: You may need to develop a business case to support your application
Your business case should describe:
- the reason for the loan or secondment placement
- the benefit it will bring in terms of your own skills and experience
- what you will be able to offer the host organisation
- how the skills and experience will benefit your own department when you return
- what the arrangements will be for covering your job while you are away
Step 5: After you gain agreement in principle, arrange details with the host organisation
- you discuss when will the placement happen and exactly how long will it last
- you have a clear specification of what your role will be and what you expect to get out of the placement
- you confirm who will pay your salary and any on the job travel expenses
Step 6: Keep in touch and seek feedback
While on your placement your host organisation will be responsible for performance management, but keep in touch with your home department through your line manager or Head of Profession.
Actively seek feedback from your host department, to make sure you are fulfilling their expectations.
Step 7: Review and share
As you approach the end of the placement, review how it has gone and ask for feedback.
When you return, document and share your experience.
Maintain links with the organisation and let the GSS careers team and your department know how it went.
Find out if there will be the opportunity to organise future placements for others.
Louisa McCutcheon a statistician from the Department of Health went on a secondment to Full Fact
Daniel Hawksworth went on loan to Scottish Government from the Department for Transport
If you have organised your own loan or secondment we would really like to share your story. Please email us to tell us about it: firstname.lastname@example.org