Secondments law e-guide no.6

Secondments are part of the modern workplace. They can be a useful way to enable employees to gain new skills and experience while meeting short-term staffing needs, such as maternity cover. Where turnover rate is low, secondment arrangements can be used to inject new ideas, skills and perspective into the organisation.

Local authorities are increasingly viewing external secondments as a useful tool in an armoury of strategies designed to enhance service delivery and as part of staff development. However, both the employer and the host organisation need to pay careful attention to matching people to opportunities. Employees should only be required to undertake secondments where it is appropriate for the organisation or is capable of enhancing the employee's job.

Before embarking on a programme of secondments, authorities should be clear what their aims and objectives are and how these are to be achieved. Strong commitment to the principles of secondments from senior managers and elected members is a critical factor to success. The authority's human resources department should be asked to assist.

This e-guide, which focuses on external secondments, is intended to provide legal and practical information to local authorities. It does not address the advantages and disadvantages of secondments. A sample secondment agreement is at Appendix 1, although it is an example only and authorities should seek their own advice to ensure that any agreement is tailored to their particular needs and circumstances.