Civil Service secondments and loans: how to apply

How a civil servant can apply for interchanges: a secondment in an external organisation or a placement in another government office (loan).


If you’re a civil servant, an interchange means either:

  • a secondment to an external organisation - the Civil Service continues to pay your salary
  • a loan to a different government department or agency (the host department) - you’re usually paid by the host department and are subject to its terms and conditions

If you are not a civil servant you can search for placement opportunities in the Civil Service on the Civil Service jobs website.

Find a secondment or loan

To find a secondment or loan opportunity:

Prepare a business case

You will need to create a business case. It should include:

  • the skills, knowledge or experience you need to acquire or develop
  • how your secondment or loan fits in with your Personal Development Plan (PDP)
  • what sort of secondment would best meet these requirements
  • how your department would benefit from the secondment
  • what skills, knowledge or experience you could offer a host organisation
  • which department you are considering

Your business case needs to be sent to your departmental HR team.

Apply for the secondment or loan

Discuss the implications of your release with your line manager. Your line manager will need to agree that you can be released for a specific time.

Before you take up the placement you, the host organisation and your home department will agree the terms of the secondment. This will include:

  • how the secondment agreement will be created
  • who will write it
  • who will check your terms and conditions
  • how your line manager will update you

You should also check with your line manager that the placement represents a development opportunity and meets business needs.

Check with the host organisation that you will receive a clear brief on the role, a full induction programme in place to support your entry into the organisation and feedback on the your performance during and after the placement.

After your secondment or loan

When you return to your home department, you should arrange the following through your line manager:

  • a debriefing session with colleagues to share what you have learnt
  • an evaluation with senior staff to quantify benefits and learn lessons
  • a planning session with managers and/or colleagues on how new skills or experience could be incorporated into work practice
Published 30 April 2014