How do I organise a secondment?

vol placement

Follow the 7 step plan:

  1. Identify the skills and experience you would like to learn.

A 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.

  1. Approach your Head of Profession (HoP) or line manager to discuss your idea.

Different departments have different rules about secondments, but there is strong central corporate recognition that secondments 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.

  1. 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 secondment. Alternatively you can ask your line manager or HoP to approach the host organisation at a more senior level, to explain the idea and to gain their buy-in. They will want to meet you before agreeing to the secondment. 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 secondment to last.

  1. You may need to develop a business case to support your application.

This should describe the reason for the secondment; 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; and what the arrangements will be for covering your job while you are on secondment.

  1. When you have gained agreement for the secondment in principle, meet with the host organisation to arrange the details.

When will the secondment happen? Exactly how long will it last? Make sure you have a clear specification of what your role will be and what you expect to get out of the secondment. Usually the host organisation pays your salary and any on the job travel expenses for the duration of the secondment, so you will need to be in contact with HR from both organisations.

  1. Keep in touch and seek feedback.

While on secondment, your host organisation will be responsible for performance management, but keep in touch with your home department through your line manager or HoP. Actively seek feedback from your host department, to make sure you are fulfilling their expectations or to take action if anything could be improved.

  1. Review and share.

As you approach the end of the secondment, review how it has gone and ask for feedback. When you return, document and share your experience. Maintain links with the organisation and let us and your department know how it went. Might there be the opportunity to organise a more regular secondment for others in the future?

Organisations that might offer appropriate secondment opportunities:

  • Academic institutions
  • International organisations such as EU/UN/OECD/OSCE
  • 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
  • NHS
  • Local authorities
  • Police Forces
  • Bank of England

Wales-specific organisations:

  • Estyn (similar to Ofsted)
  • The Arts Council
  • NHS Wales Informatics Service
  • Sport Wales
  • Public Health Wales