People find their way to this website for a variety of reasons. Some are civil servants wanting to spend time outside the Civil Service; some are not civil servants but are interested in what the Civil Service might have to offer them; some are from outside organisations hoping to attract civil servants to a temporary career opportunity. We cannot address everyone’s particular circumstances, but we hope the following information will point you in the right direction.
I’m not a civil servant but I’d like to know more about opportunities in the UK Civil Service. What should I do?
Who’s responsible for interchange between the Civil Service and other organisations?
Visit the Civil Service Jobs Site
, where you can search for permanent and temporary jobs that interest you. You’ll also find contacts in the various departments and agencies.
Government departments and agencies arrange interchange, whether in the form of formal programmes or of individual opportunities. Most departments have nominated Interchange Managers, who are listed in the Interchange Directory. If a department or agency does not appear in the list, contact the HR team instead. The Cabinet Office (which maintains this website) is responsible only for policy on interchange for civil servants, and for raising awareness of its benefits. It cannot get involved in individual cases.I’m a civil servant and am considering a secondment. How do I go about it?
Get clear in your own mind what the benefits would be. Would it fulfil a specific development need related to your longer term career prospects? What would you contribute to the host organisation while you are seconded to it? How would your department benefit from your experience on your return? Then discuss the idea with your line manager, and with your Interchange/HR Manager, in that order. Apart from anything else, they will need to decide whether they can release you for the necessary time, and whether they can meet any costs involved. If everyone is agreed that the possibility is worth pursuing, your Interchange/HR Manager will try to help you identify some suitable opportunities.I’m a civil servant but I need help identifying interchange opportunities.
Don’t do anything until you have consulted your line manager and your department's Interchange/HR Manager. The latter in particular will probably have some thoughts about possible host organisations. But it is perfectly in order to go and look for suitable opportunities yourself, as long as you keep your department informed.How can I find a job abroad?
I understand the UK has Bilateral Exchange Agreements with some other countries. How do I use them?
It depends what sort of job you want. The EURES website also provides a wealth of information about working in Europe, as well as the option to search for vacancies: http://europa.eu.int/eures/home.jsp?lang=en
However, the UK Civil Service does have bilateral exchange agreements with several other EU member states, intended to facilitate the exchange of one another’s civil servants. For more details, login to the Civil Service Site and go to European Opportunities/Bilateral Exchange Scheme. Departments are usually responsible for any costs arising from the secondment, unless something can be negotiated with the host government: no central funding is available.
UK civil servants also have the opportunity to spend time in the European Commission on what is called a Structural Traineeship. This lasts around five months, and is an excellent way of gaining an insight into the workings of the European Civil Service. For more details, login to the Civil Service Site and go to European Opportunities/Structural Traineeship Programme. Departments are fully responsible for any costs arising from the secondment: no central funding is available.
The UK does have agreements with some other EU and Commonwealth countries for the exchange of each others' civil servants, but experience suggests that it is usually easier for individuals, or their departments, to arrange something bilaterally with the overseas counterpart or target ministry in the country concerned. Involvement by the centre usually adds delay, whereas departments tend already to have the contacts and the goodwill needed to arrange a secondment.I’m from an organisation outside the Civil Service, and I’d like to advertise a job to civil servants.
Who pays for a secondment?
If the job you want to advertise is permanent, you can do so on www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk
To advertise a fixed-term secondment opportunity, please contact CivilServiceCareers@parity.net
and request a vacancy form, complete it and email it to CivilServiceCareers@parity.net
. You will then be asked for information about your vacancy and we will then advertise it on the part of the Civil Service site to which only UK civil servants and approved NDPD staff have access.
You might feel that civil servants in a certain department would be particularly attracted to the opportunity you are advertising. In this case you are very welcome to approach that department direct and draw attention to it. Contact details for departmental Interchange Managers are listed in the Interchange Directory
Terms must be agreed between the two organisations concerned before the period of interchange starts. In the case of civil servants seconded to outside organisations, the most usual arrangement is for the civil servant to continue to be paid by the employing department, which then seeks reimbursement from the host organisation. Reimbursement normally includes the Accruing Superannuation Liability Charge (ASLC) and the employer’s contribution to the National Insurance Scheme. Arrangements can, however, vary according to particular circumstances. Alternatively, the host organisation might pay salary and ERNIC, and an administration charge to the employing department or agency to keep the individual in the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.What grade do I have to be to apply for an interchange opportunity?
There are no rules about this. The interchange should meet a developmental need of the individual and/or have benefits for the parent department, but there is flexibility to make whatever arrangements are operationally convenient.I'm a civil servant, and my partner is going to work abroad for X years. How can I find out about opportunities in the Civil Service of that country?
The different ministries of that country will have websites, and if you can establish which ministry's responsibilities are closest to your own areas of experience or interest, you can approach them and ask whether they would consider you for any temporary opportunities. In doing so, you should obviously bring out the quality of your experience and its potential value to the prospective host ministry. If successful, you are likely to be liable for any travel and removal expenses.How long is a secondment?
There are no prescribed limits, and departments have flexibility to make whatever arrangements suit them, and the secondee, best. If the aim of the secondment is primarily developmental, it should clearly last long enough for the benefits to be felt. The longer the secondment, the more important it will be for the secondee to keep in touch with his/her parent department.Please can I take part in your Interchange Programme?
I'm a national of a country other than the UK. How can I find out about opportunities in the UK Civil Service?
There is no programme as such. Departments make their own arrangements, and you should contact the appropriate Departmental Interchange Manager
All opportunities are advertised on the Civil Service site
. The site also includes guidance on nationality and other eligibility issues