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General Guidance

The University’s recruitment policy should be followed, for example when advertising the secondment and selecting the preferred candidate:  

https://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/cam-only/offices/hr/recruitment/  

The employee should discuss their intention to apply for a secondment with their line manager and notify them of an application for such a role at the earliest possible opportunity.  For their part, managers should adopt a positive approach to secondment opportunities.  If there are business/operational requirements which may make it difficult to release an employee to take up a secondment they should review the situation flexibly and consult with their HR Business Manager /HR Adviser, as appropriate, before reaching a decision.

Internal Secondment (secondment within an institution or to another institution within the University)

This situation arises when an employee is seconded to a different role or project either within an institution or in another Institution in the University for a fixed period of time. The process allows an employee to gain wider experience and acquire new skills whilst retaining continuous employment. On completion of the secondment, the individual would return to their substantive post. 

The secondment is funded by the Host Institution or project.  For established officers only, the secondment leave would be granted under Special Ordinance C(i) 2(b). (Academic leave arrangements are detailed on the website).

Application process

1.    Both the Home and Host Institutions should liaise with their HR Business

Manager/Adviser on the details of the secondment before the Head of Department of the home institution confirms that it should proceed. Where there are immigration or Disclosure and Barring Service check implications, these must be referred to the HR Compliance Team. 

2.    For established officers only, approval must then be granted by the faculty board (or equivalent) of the home institution before the secondment takes place.

3.    The Host Institution sends an offer letter to the successful candidate. This can be actioned via the Web Recruitment System.

The Host Institution submits the relevant details to the HR New Appointments Team via Web Recruitment. The Host Institution should attach confirmation from the Home Institution that the details of the secondment have been agreed.

If Web Recruitment has not been used to accept applications, details for the secondee should be entered manually into the Web Recruitment system before sending to the HR New Appointment team via the system.

4.    The HR New Appointment Team will input the details into CHRIS and raise a secondment agreement.  For officers, a letter granting leave under Special Ordinance C(i) 2(b). will also be raised and sent with the secondment agreement. (Academic leave arrangements are detailed on the website).

5.    Three months in advance of the end of the secondment, a member of the HR School Team liaises with the Home Institution regarding arrangements for the individual’s return to the Home Institution. On completion of the secondment, the Host Institution makes the individual a leaver on CHRIS from the secondment position with the leaving reason as ‘end of secondment’. The  HR Amendment team will then update details of the substantive position on CHRIS.

6.    If the date of the secondment is to be extended, having discussed this with the secondee and consulted with the School HR Business Manager / Adviser, The Host Institution should complete a CHRIS/53  or if there is also a change of hours a CHRIS/50. The Host Institution should attach confirmation from the Home Institution that the extension/change of hours has been agreed and sent this and the relevant form to the HR  Amendment Team for provision of an extension letter and to update CHRIS.  If applicable, a further grant of leave letter under Special Ordinance C(i) 2(b) will be raised and set with the extension letter. (Academic leave arrangements are detailed on the website).

External Secondment (Secondment from the University)

This is used if the services or assistance of an employee is requested by any of the following: governments, national agencies, international agencies of which the United Kingdom is a member, academic institutions, charitable organisations, industrial or commercial concerns (the list is not exhaustive) and agreed by the University as being of benefit to the employee, taking into account operational requirements.

For officers, secondment leave is granted under granted under Special Ordinance C(i) 2(b). (Academic leave arrangements are detailed on the website).

External Secondment Checklist 

For external secondments, institutions may use the following checklist in advance of the secondment being finalised:

  • Has the employee agreed to any changes to their contract in order to implement the terms of the secondment agreement?
  • What is the duration, start and end date of the secondment?
  • Is the secondment full-time or part-time? If so, will some University duties continue on a part-time basis?
  • Although the University will generally be responsible for paying basic salary, what are the arrangements for overtime, bonuses, expenses, training etc? 
  • Have the Insurance requirements been checked?
  • Have the immigration requirements been checked?
  • Will the salary and on-costs be cross charged or invoiced? (Advice should be sought from Payroll/Finance in advance of the secondment being implemented). 
  • What are the line management arrangements including authorisation of holidays and sick leave?
  • Who will fill the secondee’s substantive role for the duration of the secondment? 
  • How will the secondee retain contact with the Home Institution? 
  • How will the end of the secondment be managed (for example, the return to the original role)?
  • Has a meeting taken place on return to review the secondment and its benefits to the individual and University?

Application process

1.    The institution liaises with their HR Business Manager/Adviser on the details of the secondment, before the Head of Department confirms that it can proceed.

2.    For established officers only, approval to take secondment leave must be granted by the faculty board before the secondment takes place.

3.    The Home Institution completes a CHRIS/71 (External Secondment Form) and sends it to the HR School Team for processing.

4.    On receipt, the HR School Team arranges for CHRIS to be updated and produces a secondment agreement  (and for established officers, sends a letter granting leave under Special Ordinance C(i) 2(b).for all involved parties (home institution, host employer and secondee) to sign and return.

5.    Three months in advance of the completion of the secondment, the HR School Team will liaise with the Home Institution regarding return dates from Host employer to the secondee’s original post.

6.    On their return, the HR School Team  arranges for CHRIS to be updated.

7.    If the date of the secondment is to be extended having consulted with the School HR Business Manager/Adviser, after discussion with the secondee the

Home Institution should complete a CHRIS/71 and forward it to the Host Institution to sign and send to the HR School Team arrange for an extension letter and for CHRIS to be updated. If applicable, the HR Business Manager will issue a further grant of leave letter under Special Ordinance C(i) 2(b). (Academic leave arrangements are detailed on the website).

NB

If the Host Institution asks the individual to sign their own secondment agreement, advice should be sought from HR Business Manager/Adviser before signing.

Incoming Secondment

This is used where an employee of an external organisation is seconded to the

University of Cambridge for a fixed period of timeInstitutions should advise their

School HR Business Manager/Adviser about any proposed incoming secondments at an early stage.

Incoming Secondment Checklist

Institutions should liaise with their School HR Business Manager/Adviser about the secondment arrangements and may wish to refer to the following checklist in advance of the secondment being finalised

  • Are any of the terms of the employee’s employment contract inconsistent with the secondment agreement and therefore require change?
  • Have the immigration requirements been checked?
  • Have any pre-employment check requirements been checked?
  • Has there been discussion about the secondment agreement from the seconding organisation with the HR Business Manager/Adviser?
  • Is the secondment agreement to be signed and returned?
  • Have line management, communication and work placement arrangements been confirmed?
  • Have salary/invoice/payment arrangements been made?
  • Are the benefits and expenses arrangements agreed?
  • Is the induction process outlined?
  • Has the health and safety information been provided?
  • Has a contact list for the seconding organisation been finalised?
  • Is there appropriate protection, specifically in respect of confidentiality and restrictive covenants both during and post secondment?
  • Has there been consideration of any conflict of interest?
  • Have the necessary consents been obtained in respect of processing personal data?
  • Has it been considered if the secondment could amount to a transfer of undertaking?
  • Have notice requirements been considered as well and what would happen if the secondee’s employment terminates?
  • Has ownership of intellectual property been taken into consideration?
  • Is there a need to ensure that the secondee does not become integrated into the Host Institution to the extent they may be deemed to be an employee, e.g. included in staff lists?

The external seconding organisation may provide a secondment agreement for the University to sign.  In this event advice should be sought from the HR School Team before agreeing to its terms.  However, where one is not provided, the University’s template secondment agreement should be used, provided by the HR School Team on request, and signed by all the parties concerned (home employer, host institution and secondee).

Roles and responsibilities 

Employees

  • The employee needs to advise his/her manager when applying and once accepted for a secondment opportunity. S/he also provides supporting information where needed. Employees can contact their HR Adviser in the first instance to discuss the secondment if required.
  • The employee should give at least 4 weeks’ notice before the requested start of the secondment wherever possible.
  • The employee should contact the pensions office to clarify if there would be any changes to his/her pension status during the secondment period.

Managers

  • The relevant manager within the Host Institution (for internal secondment) completes the relevant details in Web Recruitment and attaches the confirmation from the Home Institution, having first agreed terms of the secondment agreement with the HR Business Manager/Adviser if required (for incoming and external secondments). 
  • The manager ensures that requests are dealt with in accordance with this policy and the relevant procedure.
  • If the secondment is extended the relevant manager within the Host Institution (for internal secondment) completes a CHRIS/53 or CHRIS/50 form and  attaches the confirmation from the Home Institution.  Once completed this will be sent to the HR  Amendment Team for processing.
  • The Home Institution is responsible for keeping in contact with the employee during the secondment. This may be to update the employee on changes in the Department or work area. Contact should be made at least every 6 months.  

HR

  • Provide guidance to the Institution on the terms of the secondment.
  • Complete the secondment agreement, as appropriate.
  • Complete a letter granting leave under Special Ordinance C(i) 2(b).
  • Input details of the secondment on CHRIS.
  • Complete an amendment letter and update CHRIS when there is an extension and/or change of hours to the secondment.