Skip to main content


General Information

A Secondment is a temporary arrangement which facilitates the release and movement of staff members for a specified period of time in a way which does not affect their employment status.

The Mobility scheme will remain the primary mechanism for the permanent lateral movement of staff members across the Civil Service organisations. The secondment policy will be used to support this scheme to fill time-bound positions concurrent with a strategic project/placement, and in exceptional circumstances the backfilling of vacant positions arising from staff members who are released for secondments/career breaks.

Secondments provide staff members with opportunities to broaden their skills and continue their professional and personal development while retaining the right to return to their substantive or equivalent position at the end of the secondment. It also provides an opportunity for the receiving organisation to fill a temporary position with both the receiving and sending organisation benefitting from shared learning, good practice, new ideas and experience.

Policy, Guidance and FAQs for Civil Service Organisations

The Civil Service Management Board approved the Secondment Policy which is underpinned by the following broad guiding key principles. A living Guidance and FAQ document has also been developed for use.

Key Principles

  • All secondments will be temporary in nature, and in general will be for a period of six months up to a maximum of five years
  • All secondment advertisements will be sent to CSHRD, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform PER ( for clearance before sending to the Public Appointments Service for circulation to all Civil Service organisations (including bodies under their aegis).
  • In general an advertised position should be circulated to all staff in the representative grade in the organisation, however the decision as to whether a staff member can be released will be subject to their business unit and organisation’s business needs in the first instance.
  • Seconded staff members will be counted as a staff member of the receiving organisation for the purpose of answering queries regarding staff numbers and workforce planning.
  • The specific arrangements for the management of pay, pensions, reimbursements and HR records will be determined between the parent and receiving organisation in advance of the commencement of the secondment.
  • A secondee will continue to be treated as a staff member of the parent organisation for the purposes of internal competitions, pay and progression (including progression to higher scales), incremental credit (subject to satisfactory performance), reckonable service, and will also continue to be a member of their parent organisation pension scheme and pay all contributions on the basis of this membership at their substantive grade. Pension benefits will be based on the pensionable remuneration of their substantive grade i.e. the grade at which the individual is employed in their parent organisation.
  • Training and up-skilling will be provided as necessary with all costs associated met by the receiving organisation.
  • In the event that the position becomes permanent in the receiving organisation, it should be filled through the agreed recruitment process including mobility, in accordance with the relevant sequencing arrangement.

Secondment Policy FAQs

Circular 17/21: Secondment Policy for the Civil Service

Staff – What to do / Need to know?

  • Without delay, discuss the proposed/advertised secondment with your people manager who will in turn discuss your releasability with Local HR.
  • In advance of making an application to the advertising organisation, your People Manager will notify you verbally of the decision of releasability, and a Determination of Releasability form will be completed by your Local HR.
  • Where releasable, you should attach a copy of the completed Determination of Releasability form to your Application Form.
  • Where successful in the selection process, and you wish to proceed with the initial offer following selection, the completion of a ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ declaration form is required (see Appendix 4 of FAQs). This form should be submitted to your Local HR without delay (and within 3 working days). NOTE: The completed form will only be forwarded to the advertising/receiving Local HR in the event that you are deemed suitable by your Local HR under the qualifying and suitability criteria.
  • Be familiar with the Guidance and FAQs for Civil Service Organisations.

People Managers – What to do / Need to know?

  • Consider both the needs of and potential benefits to the organisation and whether it is a good development opportunity for the staff member.
  • Discuss the request with the head of business unit.
  • Discuss the potential for release with the Local HR Manager/Business Partner in advance of verbally notifying the staff member of any decision. This determination must be carried out in a timely manner in order to allow for an application of secondment to be made within the required deadline (normally 2 weeks from the date of advertisement).
  • Be familiar with the Guidance and FAQs for Civil Service Organisations.

HR Units – What to do / Need to know

Release of staff member for secondment

  • Discuss the potential for release with the People Manager/Head of Business Unit.
  • Approve or decline the application for secondment in light of the Organisation’s business needs.
  • Complete the Determination of Releasability form, outlining the underlying principle for the decision, and send to the staff member. This determination must be carried out in a timely manner in order to allow for an application of secondment to be made within the required deadline (normally 2 weeks from the date of advertisement).
  • Where successful in the application process, discuss the arrangements for release date, HR, pay and pension records.
  • Where the secondee is to return to their original position, any appointments or arrangements made to cover the secondees absence should be on a temporary basis.
  • Arrange feedback meetings, quarterly/half yearly, with the secondee.
  • Make contact with the secondee and the receiving organisation at least 12 weeks prior to the cessation of the signed agreement to plan for the return of the secondee (discussion around timelines, roles etc).
  • In the event of any restructuring/Transfer of Function include the secondee in any redeployment arrangements made for other staff members.
  • Be familiar with the Guidance and FAQs for Civil Service Organisations.

Seeking a Secondee to fill a temporary position

  • Seek sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) to have the vacancy advertised as a secondment opportunity ( The following information must be included:
    • Grade
    • Rationale for the secondment
    • Duration of the vacancy (Note:- all secondments must be temporary in nature).
  • Where sanction is granted, submit the following information to the Public Appointments Service ( in order to have the secondment opportunity circulated across the civil service:
    • Documentary evidence of sanction from DPER
    • An Advertisement Template (Sample at Appendix 1 of the Secondment Policy - Guidance and FAQs for Civil Service Organisations).


The Secondment Policy team would like to thank the following for all their help in developing the scheme:


Civil Service HR, DPER

HR Manager Sectoral Group

HR Secondment/Mobility Working Group

The Public Appointments Service

Representatives from Fórsa

Representatives from AHCPS.